Friday, November 29, 2013

Cano Never Asked for $300 Million?; Vern Mikkelsen, 1928-2013

Robinson Cano is reportedly looking for a deal that will make him the richest baseball player in history.
It seems as though most Yankee Fans are willing to let Robinson Cano, the greatest 2nd baseman in club history, go to another club rather than approve of the Yankees giving him a contract that would pay $300 million or more over its life -- or, at least, are willing to tell him, "See if you can get that somewhere else. Good luck."

Now, Robbie is denying he made such a contract demand: "I've never asked anybody for three hundred million dollars. Nobody has ever heard that come out of my mouth, and you're never going to hear it."

As Andy Martino points out in today's Daily News (see link above)...

That is most likely an accurate statement, in the most literal sense. Robinson Cano himself did not march into the Yankee offices before the All-Star break and tell Brian Cashman that a ten-year, $310 million deal was the price to buy him out of free agency. That is an agent's job, and according to major league sources, that was the request from camp Cano request at that time. Neither side denied it then, and people with direct knowledge of the talks later confirmed the number.

Well, who are you going to believe:

A sportswriter?

An agent?

Or the player himself?

We shall see.

*

Yesterday, Dear Old Alma Mater, East Brunswick High School, got its annual Thanksgiving roasting. Old Bridge beat us, 35-6.

I hate Old Bridge. Oh well, at least we don't have to play them again for another year.

*

Vern Mikkelsen died last week. He was a great basketball player that you've probably never heard of.

He was born Arild Verner Agerskov Mikkelsen on October 21, 1928 in Parlier, California, outside Fresno. His father was an immigrant from Denmark and a Lutheran minister, who was soon transferred to Askov, Minnesota. Minnesota -- and Iowa, and both Dakotas -- have heavy Scandinavian populations, which is why Minnesota's NFL team is called the Vikings.

Vern was a Division II All-American at Hamline University in the State capital of St. Paul, and later went to the University of Minnesota and got a master's degree in psychology. He was a territorial pick of the Minneapolis Lakers, and helped them win the NBA Championship in 1950, 1952, 1953 and 1954, under coach John Kundla, alongside George Mikan, Jim Pollard, Slater Martin, and, later, Clyde Lovellette. He also reached the NBA Finals with them in his last season, 1959, losing to the Boston Celtics.
Pollard, Mikan and Mikkelsen

All of these men were elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame in their own lifetimes, and are honored together on a banner hanging from the roof of the Staples Center in Los Angeles. While Mikkelsen wore Number 19, an unusual number in basketball, it has not been retired for him. One of the first men to be what we would now call a power forward, he was a 6-time All-Star, noted particularly for his defense.

He holds a dubious record: No player in NBA history has fouled out of more games, 127. Nevertheless, he was durable, missing only 5 of a possible 704 games during his career.

In the 1968-69 season, their only season under that name and in the Twin Cities, Vern coached the Minnesota Pipers of the American Basketball Association.

On the opening night of the 2002-03 season, when the Lakers were getting their championship rings, the organization invited Mikkelsen and the other surviving members of the Minneapolis title teams, and gave them the rings they never got in the early Fifties.
Vern Mikkelsen, 2002, in front of James Worthy,
Magic Johnson and Elgin Baylor

He was married to a woman named Jean for 47 years, until death did they part. They had 2 sons, Tom and John. He died on November 21, 2013, in the Minneapolis suburb of Wayzata, Minnesota. He was 85 years old.

*

Hours until the Devils play again: Under 2, tonight, at 7:00 PM, away to the Buffalo Sabres.

Hours until Arsenal play again: Under 17, tomorrow, 10:00 AM U.S. Eastern Time, away to Cardiff City, of Wales (who, nonetheless, play in England's "football system," as do their arch-rivals Swansea City, and those teams' fellow Welsh clubs Wrexham and Newport County).

Hours until Rutgers plays football again: Under 19, tomorrow at 12:00 noon, away to the University of Connecticut in East Hartford.
Days until the U.S. national soccer team plays again: Unknown, as there are no games currently scheduled. We know, at the very least, they will be playing in the 2014 World Cup.

Days until the Devils next play a local rival: 8, a week from tomorrow night, at 7:30 PM, against the Rangers at Madison Square Garden.  They next play the New York Islanders on Saturday, December 28, at 7:00 PM, at the Nassau Coliseum.  They next play the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday, January 7, 2014, at 7:30 PM, at home.

Days until the Devils play the Rangers at Yankee Stadium: 59, on Sunday, January 26, 2014, at 12:30 PM.  Under 2 months.

Days until Super Bowl XLVIII at the Meadowlands: 65, on Sunday, February 2, 2014, kickoff at around 6:25 PM.

Days until the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia: 70, on Friday, February 7, 2014.

Days until the Red Bulls play again: 99, on Saturday, March 8, 2014, 7:30 PM, away to the Vancouver Whitecaps.  Just 14 weeks.  The 2014 MLS Schedule has been released.

Days until the next North London Derby between Arsenal and Tottenham: 106, on Saturday, March 15, 2014, at White Hart Lane.  Just 4 months.

Days until the Yankees play again: 124, on Tuesday, April 1, 2014, time to be determined, away to the Houston Astros.  Just over 4 months.

Days until the Yankees' home opener: 130, on Monday, April 7, 2014, probably at 1:00 PM, vs. the Baltimore Orioles.

Days until the next Yankees-Red Sox series begins: 133, on Thursday, April 10, 2014, time to be determined, at Yankee Stadium.

Days until the Red Bulls next play a "derby": 135, on Saturday, April 12, 2014, 2:30 PM, vs. D.C. United, at Robert F. Kennedy in Washington.

Days until the 2014 World Cup in Brazil: 195, on Thursday, June 12, 2014.  Under 7 months.
Days until East Brunswick High School plays football again: Unknown, as the schedule has yet to be released.  Most likely, it will be on the 2nd Friday night in September.  If so, that will be September 12, 2014, therefore 287 days.  Under 10 months.
Days until Rutgers makes its Big Ten Conference debut: 288 days, on Saturday, September 13, 2014, time to be determined, against old enemy Penn State.

Days until the next East Brunswick vs. Old Bridge Thanksgiving game: 363, on Thursday morning, November 27, 2014, 10:00 AM.

Days until the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: 1,011, on Friday, August 5, 2016.  Under 3 years.

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