Wednesday, October 6, 2010

New York vs. Minnesota: A Closer Look

Newsday, the Long Island-based newspaper that has more or less been Met fans' favorite paper for as long as I can remember, did a piece today, comparing New York and Minneapolis, as the Yankees and Twins get underway tonight at Target Field.

Let's see if they got it right:

<< HOMEGROWN POP STAR. Minneapolis: Prince. NYC: Lady Gaga. In the microcosm that is "right now," Gaga's bad romance with her little monsters trumps everything. In the macrocosm that is "music history," Prince is a top 10 all-time artist. He's got the look. Edge: Minneapolis. >>

Oh. Puh. Leese.

The biggest star ever to come out of Minnesota was Bobby Zimmerman. He couldn't wait to get out, and came to New York and became Bob Dylan.

Edge: New York.

<< IN-STATE TARGET LOCATIONS. Minnesota: 73. New York: 65. Minnesota has the obvious mathematical advantage here, but they get the real nod because Target is headquartered in Minnesota. Edge: Minneapolis >>

Target has lousy service, but at least they're not as crappy as Wal-Mart, which a bunch of Queens residents successfully fought to keep out, and good for them! New York is the home of Macy's, Bloomingdale's, Saks Fifth Avenue. But what good is the product if you can't afford it? Edge: Minnesota.

<< QUINTESSENTIAL BRETT FAVRE MOMENT. Minneapolis: Interception on last pass in NFC championship. NYC: Keeps quiet about shoulder injury. Oh sure, he led the Jets to an 8-3 start, then had a shoulder injury and kept it quiet to preserve his consecutive games played streak while finishing 1-4 and out of the playoffs in 2008. After retiring for the 29th time, he joined the Vikings in 2009, played out of his mind and then capped off his season of rebirth in true Favre fashion with an interception on the final play of the NFC championship. At least he broke Jets fans' hearts earlier. Edge: NYC. >>

Favre is a non-issue. You want to compare quarterbacks? Minnesota had Fran Tarkenton. Got the Vikings into 3 Super Bowls. (Joe Kapp got them into the other one.) New York had Joe Namath. So even New York's "other team" tops Minnesota on this one. Edge: New York.

<< CITY NICKNAME. Minneapolis: Twin Cities. NYC: Big Apple. Hmmm, let's see. Although sometimes noted as the "City of Lakes," Minneapolis needed to pull in St. Paul in order to gets its more well-known nickname. New York is a city so nice, they named it twice. Edge: NYC. >>

The "Twin Cities" nickname did get the baseball team named the Twins, after the minor-league teams it replaced were the Minneapolis Millers and the St. Paul Saints. Was there ever a "New York Apples"? Yes, in the Seventies, in World Team Tennis. This was the club's second name, after they lamely tried to piggyback onto "Mets, Jets, Nets" and called them the New York Sets. Edge: Minnesota.

<< DAVE WINFIELD'S LEGACY. Minneapolis: 3,000th hit. NYC: "Mr. May." Only 27 people have eclipsed 3,000 career hits, and Winfield joined the club in 1992 with Minnesota. But he earned one of the greatest nicknames in history -- "Mr. May" -- from Yankees owner George M. Steinbrenner. In a roundabout way, Winfield also got "The Boss" suspended by Major League Baseball after Steinbrenner paid Howard Spira to dig up dirt on Winfield. In doing so, Winfield accomplished something no one else in baseball could -- he stopped Steinbrenner. Edge: NYC. >>

Howie Spira never did find dirt on Big Dave or on the Winfield Foundation, did he? Winfield, indirectly, did more than "Stopping Steinbrenner": It got Gene Michael in charge of operations, and allowed him to build the 1996-2003 dynasty. Minnesota? Dave got there too late for the 1987 and '91 World Champions, and was already in the Hall of Fame before the Twins started winning AL Central titles in 2002. But he's from St. Paul. I think I have to call this one even.

Incidentally, he won the World Series in 1992, but that was with Toronto. They let him go home to Minnesota, and it was in 1993 that he got his 3,000th hit with the Twins.

<< MARY J. BLIGE PRODUCERS. Minneapolis: Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. NYC: Sean "Puffy" Combs. Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, who rose to prominence on Janet Jackson's "Control" album, also were co-producers on Mary J. Blige's 1997 album "Share My World" and the 2001 release "No More Drama." Diddy produced her debut album "What's the 411?" and the subsequent remix album, one of the best R&B albums ever. "What's the 411?" launched Mary J. Blige as the queen of hip-hop soul. Edge: NYC. >>

Jam & Lewis turned Janet Jackson from Michael's cute little sister into a music and video phenomenon whose fame depended not at all on her King of Pop brother. And she also became one of the sexiest women alive. Diddy made an ass of himself on live TV while Faith Evans and Sting paid tribute to his supposed best friend Biggie. Edge: Minnesota.

<< KEVIN SMITH MOVIES WHERE EACH CITY POSED AS JERSEY. Minneapolis: "Mallrats." NYC: "Chasing Amy." “Mallrats,” set in Jersey but filmed in Minneapolis, is arguably the funniest of Kevin Smith’s films with such memorable phrases as “The backseat of a Volkswagen?” and “THE KID IS ON THE ********** ESCALATOR AGAIN,” while “Chasing Amy” was Smith’s attempt at being a little more emo. Both contain thespian genius Ben Affleck. Technically most of “Chasing Amy” was filmed across the river in Jerz. However, the memorable comic convention scene was set in New York. We think Kevin Smith is eons better when he’s dropping f-bombs and utilizing potty humor. Edge: Minneapolis. >>

Kevin Smith is from Highlands, New Jersey. I don't like his films. But at least he's a liberal and a Devils fan. Edge: Neither.

<< NOTORIOUS FORMER GOVERNORS. Minneapolis: Jesse “The Body” Ventura. New York: Eliot Spitzer. In 1998, Minnesota elected a former professional wrestler to the highest office in the state. Ventura ran on the reform ticket, and served his five-year term without seeking re-election. He claimed he didn’t want to run again because there was too much media attention on his family, and came under fire for joking at one point about resigning to allow his Lieutenant Governor, Mae Schunk, an opportunity to be governor. Former New York governor Eliot Spitzer rode into Albany as the white knight who fought Wall Street, but was taken down in 2008 amid reports he solicited really expensive prostitutes. Ventura was a pioneer of Hollywood in politics. Spitzer unleashed Ashley Dupree on the world. Edge: NYC. >>

Ventura -- whose term was four years, not five -- sometimes got in trouble for wrestling. Spitzer got in trouble for a very different kind of wrestling.

You wanna talk politicians? Minnesota gave the world Hubert Humphrey and Walter Mondale, both great Senators who became Vice Presidents, and were arguably better men than their Presidential bosses. (Sorry, Jimmy, but it was one thing to blame Ted while he was still alive to defend himself. Stop it.) They were also both better men than the ones who defeated them for President. A big steaming can of DAP to Minnesota for Hubert and Fritz.

But New York gave the world President Roosevelt. And President Roosevelt. Humphrey, as Senate Majority Whip, was the major guiding force behind the Civil Rights Act of 1964. But it was Senator Robert Wagner Sr. (father of a Mayor and grandfather of a Board of Ed President) who wrote the laws that became Social Security and the National Labor Relations Act (a.k.a. the Wagner Act). Put those 2 together, and they're at least as important as Hubert's work. Edge: New York.

<< STEPHON MARBURY MOMENTS. Minneapolis: Marbury was drafted fourth in 1996 by the Milwaukee Bucks but quickly traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves for the rights to Ray Allen. Marbury averaged 15 points a game, and led the Wolves to two playoff appearances. Somewhere along the line, Marbury transformed into the Marbury that New Yorkers all grew to know and loathe, and demanded a trade because he was unhappy with his role on the team’s offense.

New York: Marbury came to New York, became the sworn enemy of two head coaches in Larry Brown and Isiah Thomas, testified in the infamous MSG sexual harassment suit, and was ultimately banned from all Knicks activity, practices and games, on Dec. 1, 2008. Edge: No question. NYC. >>

In the Twin Cities, Marbury infected one franchise with his clubhouse cancer. In the New York Metropolitan Area, he infected two. Edge: Minnesota, for seeing through this jackass a hell of a lot sooner. Perhaps the only time New York has ever been more naive than Minnesota.

<< CASTMEMBERS FROM 'OLD SCHOOL.' Minneapolis: Vince Vaughn. New York: Jeremy Piven. In one of the most hilarious movies of the last decade, Vince Vaughn plays old man frat ringleader Beanie and Piven plays Dean Pritchard, the Dean Wermer of the current generation. Vaughn’s persona ("earmuffs") was still funny in 2003, but it’s no match for Wermer’s weasily antagonistic behavhior. Edge: NYC. >>

Old School is a gross-out movie. Of, by and for potheads. (Which means Kevin Smith probably loves it.) Edge: Neither.

You wanna talk movies? The best movie ever made that was set in Minnesota is generally regarded to be Fargo. No problem there. Movies set in New York? The French Connection, The Godfather, The Godfather Part II, Annie Hall, Kramer vs. Kramer. And those are just the Academy Award winners for Best Picture in my lifetime.

How about TV shows? Minnesota has The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Coach. But from I Love Lucy to Castle, New York's 60-year legacy is unmatched. Edge: New York.

And, let's not forget: The Twins have faced the Yankees in the Playoffs 3 times, all within the last 9 seasons, and won a grand total of 2. Not 2 series, 2 games. Both in their former fortress, the Metrodome. The Yankees lead in games 9-2, and clinched all 3 previous series at that thing.

Can Target Field really provide the same level of home field advantage? The Yankees don't care: They played 7 postseason games on the road last year and won 5 of them. (Hope for the Twins on that matter? The Yankees played 8 postseason games at home last year, and lost 2.) The Yankees got their 95 wins against the AL East, while the Twins got their 94 against the much weaker AL Central. The Twins don't have the pitching, starting or relief, to match up with the Yankees. And this time, the Twins do not have Justin Morneau available.

Yanks in 4.

As the song doesn't go, "Looks like you're not gonna make it after all."

Or, as Coach's Hayden Fox would put it, "Aw, Jeez... "

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