December 1, 2006
However, someone arrived here earlier this week through what may be the single most mind-blowing Google search in the long and storied history of Google searches: "Joe Mauer dating Jessica Alba." Without even knowing the sex of their purely hypothetical baby, I'm prepared to marry it and pencil it into the third spot in the Twins' 2030 lineup. Aniston's butt can bat cleanup.
There are those who would probably argue that Jeter and Jessica Biel were the two most important religious artifacts in the room. Of course, we've been through this before. Also, Batgirl is funny.
New celebrity couple Jessica Biel and Derek Jeter sparked outrage when their public display of affection at an exhibition left art fans upset. The actress and the New York Yankees star were checking out the Holy Image, Hallowed Ground: Icons From Sinai exhibition at Los Angeles' Getty Museum when things started getting hot and heavy.
One eyewitness tells the National Enquirer, "It was shocking. They were making out on a veranda in full view of everyone, including several Orthodox Jewish families who'd come to see the religious artifacts."
During my senior year of high school, I attended a sports journalism seminar at the University of Minnesota, which featured a number of well-known columnists from around the country. Bob Ryan of the Boston Globe stole the show, as the man Tony Kornheiser calls "The Quintessential American Sportswriter" told great stories and came across as someone who simply loved his job. He was exactly who I always wanted to be.
In a recent interview with Sports Media Guide, Ryan had this to say about the growth of online media:
Our business is under siege. Somebody starting out today should get to a dot.com immediately if not sooner--why spend your time in a dying industry? I'm grateful I'm much closer to the end of my career than the beginning. ... I can't imagine starting out today.
Had I successfully taken the traditional path to becoming a sportswriter, I'd probably be writing about high-school football at a small newspaper in the middle of nowhere right now or, if I was lucky, penning obituaries and random feature pieces while working the weekend shift at the Minneapolis Star Tribune or St. Paul Pioneer Press. There's no shame in that, of course, and just a few years ago I would have given anything for that path to open up to me.
However, it's now clear to me--as I pack for my trip to the Winter Meetings, shoot videos for NBC, and cash paychecks that are bigger than I ever dreamed of getting--that I skipped the middle man without even realizing it. For the first 20 years of my life, the only thing I ever wanted to be was a newspaper columnist, yet now the owners of those dream jobs are starting to realize they'd be better off doing what I'm doing. As the old saying goes, sometimes it's better to be lucky than good.
In fact, almost exactly two years ago today I wrote a column titled "A Program in Disarray" in which I laid out my thoughts on how Monson was taking the team in the wrong direction, both in terms of who he recruited and how he coached them once they arrived on campus. I concluded the piece with the following prediction:
I don't see any conceivable way for Monson to successfully rebuild the program at this point. That's not to say he's not capable of doing so, because I think clearly he showed he can win while he was at Gonzaga. But rather, he is no longer capable of doing so here, if he ever was. As the old cliche goes, things usually get worse before they get better, and it seems to me we're at that "getting worse" stage right about now.
Monson rode Vincent Grier to a surprise NCAA tournament trip since then, but things certainly "got worse" before completely falling apart this season. Monson had a difficult job on his hands when he came here from Gonzaga and while he was far from a total disaster, the team never improved its long-term chances of winning, which is essentially the focus of any rebuilding effort. My fear now is that the program has fallen so far that it'll be difficult to lure a desirable coach to rebuild again.