Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Investigative Journalism: Man, I'm Lame

By Michael Haas

I was sick with the flu most of thanksgiving break, so I had a bunch of time to sit on the computer. Instead of blogging (I've completely lost the ability to write - the headline on Mondays post was 'Tukeys') I emailed people to ask them dumb questions.

A flu shot cannot give you the flu.

But it can give you flu-like symptoms. What's the difference when I'm laying in a cold sweat?

There will still be a baseball field at the Dome when the Twins leave

I had to send an email to the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission to get that info. I was concerned that when 2010 rolled around, the dome would be turned into a Vikings-only facility. Watching the Gophers and small college baseball in March is a great tradition. Nearly every college team in the midwest plays a game here in the spring, and they are playin around the clock. Here's what the Director of Operations said:

As of now, the Metrodome will still have collegiate baseball in 2010, both the U of M and small-college. It is hoped that any new Vikings stadium will also include baseball.
New Vikings stadium will include baseball? Neat! Then they could still have high school and college baseball there, and the Twins could use it when it's too cold in April and October. One problem: The Vikes aren't getting a new stadium.

The Gophers baseball team wants a new stadium, but don't hold your breath.

I knew the current home of the Gophers, Siebert Field, is falling apart. They play less than five games in the aging, leaky stadium, and play mostly at the dome. Hey why not play at Target Field?

Assistant Program Director:

There are no plans to play at Target Field but we will still be in the Metrodome for at least the next couple of years. We are in what is called a “quiet” fundraising period for a new baseball stadium. Coach Anderson and the Golden Gopher Fund are working on securing some “major league” gifts which will kick off the public fundraising.

Okay, so how much does it cost to build a college baseball stadium? The softball stadium was built in '99 for less than $3 million. If Molitor and Winfield kick in a few hundred thousand, this thing could really happen.

Getting a player to defect from Cuba and play for your Major League team isn't as wild of a process as I'd imagined.

Recently, I saw a story about two Cuban baseball stars who were kicked off their team, which means that they can't play in the World Baseball Classic. They were suspected of planning to defect. I imagined a baseball-crazy country, where dusty old scouts and agents approached naive young prospects in back alleys, promising money and women if they leave their country. I couldn't find any info on this process of prospect - defection - tryouts - signing, so I emailed my main man LaVelle.

I don’t know all the ins and outs, but Cuban players have to defect first before signing with a club. There usually is a US-based agent – in the past it has been Joe Cubas, but I haven’t heard his name mentioned in awhile – who meets with defected players, arranges workouts for major league teams and then tries to get players signed. The timing and where they defect to is important, too. Ariel Prieto screwed something up with his defection years ago and was thrown into the draft.

Any team can show up at the workouts and put in a bid on a player. It’s up to how much they want to spend.
So it's not as romantic as I imagined. But someone in Cuba has to convince these players that they are good enough to leave their country behind. I mean, it's not like leaving Venezuela.

Still no word from Midway McDonalds

on the McChicken and Double Cheeseburger controversy. They don't sell either of the items after midnight at their midway location. Why?


soup said...

Great work, Haas. AH! is super good at investigative journalism.

I love small college double headers at the dome that start at 11pm.

The agent's name is Joe Cubas? Seems like a very convenient last name for someone that works with Cubans.

McDonalds doesn't have a dollar menu in Korea. It might have something to do with Korea not using dollars. And their McChicken sucks. But, I get by.

Daymonster said...

Is the McChicken also have chili sauce in Korea? It did in eastern Europe.

Also the double cheeseburger is called the McDouble now and it only has one slice of cheese.

Ryan said...

I've spent many a long day at ol' Jane Sage Cowles (pronounced like "Kohl's" if you can believe that) Stadium... My prediction is that the new Gopher baseball stadium will open in about 2013 (perhaps 2014) -- it should be really nice.

Anonymous said...

Clarification: The sentence about the Vikings not getting a new stadium should read: "The Vikings aren't getting a new stadium in Minnesota."


bizmarkie507 said...

Yeah, it's funny that LA desperately wants a football team when they just lost two of them over the past 20 years

bizmarkie507 said...

any word from Midway McDonalds yet?

Anonymous said...

The flu shot cannot give you flu-like symptoms. It is a dead vaccine.

haasertime said...

yes it can

no word from mcdonalds