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Two paragraphs from La Velle E. Neal’s Monday update on the Twins’ managerial search:
The Twins on Friday expressed interested in speaking with Joe Maddon, who opted out of his contract managing the Rays and became a free agent. According to the source, the Twins had not contacted Maddon as of Monday but are keeping that option open.
To do that, the Twins would have to extend their search into November, which isn’t likely. All signs point to the club making its decision sometime this week on a new manager.
In other words: The Twins said they were interested in talking to Maddon; a weekend passed and they still haven’t tried to do that. If they really want to do that, they will have to stretch out their search. But indications are they are going to name a manager this week, so why even bother trying to go after Maddon?
This line of thinking is, well, maddening (Maddoning?). We will reiterate two things we have said multiple times regarding the Twins and Maddon: 1) If the Twins really have an interest, then they should show that interest and do something about it. Call Maddon’s people. If they get rebuffed, that’s fine. 2) If we were running the Twins, we would essentially give Maddon a blank check. Does he want $5 million a year? Fine. How about $6 million a year? Sure. Because in modern baseball, the number of impact free agents at that price are few and far between — and far less likely to have the kind of impact a very good manager could have.
No offense to Paul Molitor or Torey Lovullo, who are said to be the front-runners for the job, but neither has even close to the track record of Maddon. If the Twins have, in fact, reached out to Maddon and been rejected but won’t say so because they are worried about offending other candidates or making an eventual hire be perceived as a second choice, they shouldn’t be. A lot of good coaches weren’t the first choice. Two of them are leading the Gophers football and men’s basketball programs right now. The public perception backlash is greater if the perception is that the Twins didn’t even really try for Maddon.
This is about exploring a unique opportunity — one that probably wouldn’t work, but you never know.
Yes, the start of any season allows the most desperate of gamblers to wager on normal things like projected win totals to completely speculative things like …
Who will be the first head coach replaced on a full time basis in the 2014-2015 season?
That’s the exact wording from Bovada, a master at timing the release of these prop bets to generate publicity. And we bought it, mostly because of the curious names at the top of their list.
The favorites — the coaches with the shortest odds — to be fired: 1) Kevin McHale of Houston, at 7 to 4; and 2) Flip Saunders of the Wolves, at 2 to 1.
This is strange and comical on a number of levels. First, of course, the two used to work together in Minnesota, and McHale fired Saunders about a decade ago. … Then McHale and Rick Adelman essentially swapped places, with McHale going to coach Houston and Adelman coaching the Wolves. … Then Saunders replaced Adelman in Minnesota.
We can understand McHale being on the list at the top, since there are still major expectations for the James Harden/Dwight Howard-led Rockets, who have yet to win a playoff series under McHale.
But Saunders? Is Bovada aware that Saunders is also a minority owner with the Wolves as well as President of Basketball Operations — meaning there are a lot of layers to get rid of him?
As noted on Twitter, though, it could be pretty lucrative:
— Ben Chapman (@bchapman88) October 27, 2014
Regardless, we’d take Scott Brooks (8 to 1), Randy Wittman (10 to 1) or Dave Joerger (10 to 1) if we were betting. (That’s a former Wolves player, a former Wolves coach and a would-be Wolves coach, if you are scoring at home and still looking for a Timberwolves connection).
(Photo from 2001 preseason Star Tribune photo shoot. We just rediscovered it, and it is magic).
We don’t know how serious this is. We don’t know if it’s the same wrist that limited Byron Buxton this season. All we know is we saw these two tweets about Buxton from MLB.com’s William Boor. We’ll see what happens from there:
— William Boor (@wboor) October 27, 2014
Buxton was taken to clubhouse. Will report anything I learn postgame. #AFL14
— William Boor (@wboor) October 27, 2014
You see this fairly regularly; usually, it’s a matter of an inch or two — not much of an advantage gained, and likely explained by the center trying to get a better grip on the ball.
But it appeared to work to Tampa Bay’s benefit on one play we remembered from early in the first half, when the Bucs made the decision to go for it on fourth an inches. After the Vikings’ victory, we sort of forgot about it, but thankfully reader Ted Jacobson not only remembered but sent a screen shot of the play in question. We’ll let Ted explain:
So the blue line is the line of scrimmage where the ball should have been to the right of. The red line is the 1st down line. (I verified that those lines were pretty accurate – 1st down marker was just shy of the 44.)
So the refs placed the ball just to the left of the red line, then they let the center move it another foot or two forward, which is common, but usually not quite that far. So in the photo, all Bucs should have been fully to the right of the blue line.
The play was a QB sneak, and Glennon made a little on it, but I’m not convinced he would have had enough had the ball been correctly placed. From this vantage point, he could almost have done a kneel-down for a -1 and still made it. Almost.
1) Officials marked the ball six inches to a foot short of the 44 yard line to set up 4th-and-1.
2) By the time it made it was re-spotted on the hash, the tip of the ball was on the 44.
3) And by the time it was snapped, it was moved forward at least another foot, if not more, by Dietrich-Smith.
Maybe Dietrich-Smith — who was with the Packers from 2010-13 before signing as a free agent with Tampa Bay — does it without realizing it?
Again, moot point now that the Vikings have won and the game is over. Tampa didn’t even score on the drive, as Glennon was intercepted shortly after the conversion … but still interesting when a 4th-and-1 play starts from past the marker, as shown in the screen grab Ted sent.
The Vikings shouldn’t just give Anthony Barr the game ball in Sunday’s victory for his direct impact on the winning touchdown. Instead, the congratulations to Barr should extend even further for changing the entire narrative of Monday’s conversation. The dominant story line, and rightfully so, is the emerging playmaking ability of the rookie linebacker — and his role in a revamped defense that turned in another very good performance Sunday in spite of allowing another late regulation rally.
Without Barr’s play — let’s say the Vikings manage to lose that game 16-13 — the overwhelming discussion would be about the team’s offensive futility, not the defensive breakthrough. While we saw a few good things on Sunday as the day progressed, let’s not forget the Vikings scored a mere 3 points in the first half and just 13 (on offense) for the game against one of the worst defenses in the NFL.
The play-calling was often timid, Teddy Bridgewater’s decisions were often safe but mild, and if not for that final drive in regulation to tie the game at 13, Minnesota would have lost and been held under 300 yards and 17 points for the sixth time this season. Indeed, if Bridgewater’s gift-wrapped throw had been picked off in the final minute, the story line would be so much different.
We’re not suggesting fans should be dwelling on all these negatives. It’s nice to talk about something positive, and a victory fueled by a huge play by Barr certainly qualifies. But let’s also not forget about the offensive deficiencies. There is a tendency to do that after victories (Gophers deficiencies, for instance, were glossed over after the Purdue win but came back to haunt again in the Illinois loss).
A softer schedule presents itself to the Vikings in the second half of the season, but it likely will mean nothing if the offense continues to sputter as it did Sunday.
|San Francisco - WP: J. Affeldt||3||FINAL|
|Kansas City - LP: J. Guthrie||2|
|New Orleans||7:25 PM|
|Tampa Bay||11/2/14 12:00 PM|
|Arizona||11/2/14 12:00 PM|
|Philadelphia||11/2/14 12:00 PM|
|NY Jets||11/2/14 12:00 PM|
|Jacksonville||11/2/14 12:00 PM|
|San Diego||11/2/14 12:00 PM|
|Washington||11/2/14 12:00 PM|
|St. Louis||11/2/14 3:05 PM|
|Denver||11/2/14 3:25 PM|
|Oakland||11/2/14 3:25 PM|
|Baltimore||11/2/14 7:30 PM|
|Indianapolis||11/3/14 7:30 PM|
|(2) Florida State||6:30 PM|
|Cincinnati||10/31/14 7:00 PM|
|Tulsa||10/31/14 7:02 PM|
|Air Force||11/1/14 10:30 AM|
|ULM||11/1/14 11:00 AM|
|(19) Oklahoma||11/1/14 11:00 AM|
|Northwestern||11/1/14 11:00 AM|
|(24) Duke||11/1/14 11:00 AM|
|Maryland||11/1/14 11:00 AM|
|Wisconsin||11/1/14 11:00 AM|
|Rice||11/1/14 11:00 AM|
|(21) East Carolina||11/1/14 11:00 AM|
|UCF||11/1/14 11:00 AM|
|Boston College||11/1/14 11:30 AM|
|North Carolina||11/1/14 11:30 AM|
|Washington||11/1/14 12:00 PM|
|Central Mich||11/1/14 12:00 PM|
|Western Mich||11/1/14 1:30 PM|
|Western Ky||11/1/14 2:00 PM|
|NC State||11/1/14 2:00 PM|
|Virginia||11/1/14 2:30 PM|
|Purdue||11/1/14 2:30 PM|
|BYU||11/1/14 2:30 PM|
|(10) TCU||11/1/14 2:30 PM|
|(20) West Virginia|
|Indiana||11/1/14 2:30 PM|
|Florida||11/1/14 2:30 PM|
|Georgia State||11/1/14 2:30 PM|
|Kentucky||11/1/14 3:00 PM|
|Kansas||11/1/14 3:00 PM|
|Texas State||11/1/14 3:00 PM|
|New Mexico St|
|Houston||11/1/14 3:00 PM|
|USC||11/1/14 3:30 PM|
|Arkansas State||11/1/14 4:00 PM|
|South Alabama||11/1/14 4:00 PM|
|New Mexico||11/1/14 4:30 PM|
|UAB||11/1/14 6:00 PM|
|(4) Auburn||11/1/14 6:00 PM|
|(7) Ole Miss|
|Old Dominion||11/1/14 6:00 PM|
|Colorado State||11/1/14 6:00 PM|
|San Jose St|
|Arkansas||11/1/14 6:15 PM|
|(1) Miss State|
|Stanford||11/1/14 6:30 PM|
|Tennessee||11/1/14 6:30 PM|
|Texas||11/1/14 6:30 PM|
|Southern Miss||11/1/14 7:00 PM|
|(6) Notre Dame||11/1/14 7:00 PM|
|Oklahoma State||11/1/14 7:00 PM|
|(11) Kansas State|
|Illinois||11/1/14 7:00 PM|
|(13) Ohio State|
|(14) Arizona||11/1/14 9:30 PM|
|California||11/1/14 9:30 PM|
|San Diego St||11/1/14 9:30 PM|
|Wyoming||11/1/14 9:45 PM|
|(18) Utah||11/1/14 10:00 PM|
|(15) Arizona State|
|Utah State||11/1/14 10:00 PM|
|Bowling Green||11/4/14 7:00 PM|
|Toledo||11/4/14 7:00 PM|
|Buffalo||11/5/14 7:00 PM|
|Northern Ill||11/5/14 7:00 PM|
|Hamilton||10/31/14 6:30 PM|
|Winnipeg||11/1/14 3:00 PM|
|Brt Columbia||11/1/14 6:00 PM|
|Toronto||11/2/14 11:00 AM|
|Ottawa||11/7/14 6:00 PM|
|Calgary||11/7/14 9:00 PM|
|Montreal||11/8/14 3:00 PM|
|Edmonton||11/8/14 6:00 PM|