Youth Movement in Minnesota
Newly hired head coach Brad Childress didn't waste any time cleaning house on the Vikings coaching staff. His first order of business was sacking what was left of Mike Tice's staff. Second was hiring some young coordinators with limited experience but lots of apparent potential. First was Mike Tomlin, the secondary coach for Tampa, who will take over the defense by installing Tony Dungy's Cover-2 scheme. There's no denying the success of the system. The challenge will be in finding players with the right mix of speed and aggressiveness to make the system work. Tomlin will turn 34 later this year, making him the youngest coordinator in the NFL. Taking the role of offensive coordinator is former Packers QB coach Darrell Bevell, who is 36. Bevell was the Wisconsin Rose Bowl QB in 1994 when Childress was on staff with the Badgers, and he's been given the task of revitalizing the Vikings' formerly explosive offense. I like the atmosphere of youth and energy that Childress is creating at Winter Park. It's been clear since his first day on the job that no knuckleheads need apply any more at this organization. So far, so good, but now you have to go out and win games. Keep up the good work!
Low Prices Everyday (except in St. Louis)
Wal-Mart billionaire by virtue of marriage, Bill "Dude, my wife is a Wal-Mart heiress!" Laurie continues to fail miserably at hockey ownership, salesmanship and instilling ethical values in his children (yeah, it's a cheap shot, but I'm talking about hockey, right?). Once again, a prospective deal to sell the bloated and festering corpse of the Franchise Formerly Known as the St. Louis Blues has fallen through. In the meantime, the shell of a once-proud hockey team continues to get shelled by every team in the league. I expect for top-echelon teams to start bringing up minor-leaguers en masse to play St. Louis just to give the kids a taste of winning in the NHL, because the B-Lose couldn't beat a team from the Saskatchewan Bare-Knuckle Bar League right now. In the meantime, Bill "Did I mention my wife is just obscenely wealthy?" Laurie acts like the world's worst used car salesman. He's got what used to be a really nice car, workmanlike in some ways, but with some nice luxury features—GPS, CD/DVD, big V-8 engine. The only problem is that he's stripped off all the nice options and replaced them with leftovers from a 1979 Chevy Nova. The engine's cracked, the tires are bald and the body's covered with rust. And Bill "No, she's the Walton heiress" Laurie continues to ask for the original sticker price as if this junked out wreck just rolled off the assembly line, then complains when the buyer balks at the sticker price. I'll bet you anything that Sam Walton's last words were, "Don't let that dumbass who married my niece Nancy anywhere near the company." Too bad he ever got hold of the Blues.
Sutter finally gets his due
Two pieces of good baseball news: First, the Baseball Retards, I mean Writers of America finally elected dominating reliever Bruce Sutter to the Hall of Fame, and second, Sutter announced yesterday that he would go into the hall as a St. Louis Cardinal. Yeah, I know he won the Cy Young in Chicago, but he threw the final winning pitch from the mound at Busch Stadium to Darrell Porter in 1982, striking out Gorman Thomas to win the World Series. Whenever I think about Sutter, I think about Porter grabbing that third strike out of the air and racing to the mound to embrace Sutter. Bruce was the original modern closer, the guy who, when he came into the game, you'd just turn off the radio or the TV because the game was over. He was the final missing piece to Whitey Herzog's championship puzzle, and his entry to the Hall of Fame was long overdue. Sandlot contributor Tuck (go see his hockey blog, wouldya?) should have the good fortune to witness his entry in person later this year. (You lucky duck!)
The latest from the NBA...
Nah, I'm just messing with you. I couldn't care less about the NBA.
So, people are upset and confused because a skier admitted that he has skied "wasted" before? Didn't any of these people see "Hot Dog: The Movie" back in the 1980s? I just assumed these people were always wasted.
Tomorrow: Your long-awaited NFL Divisional Playoff column