Sports Extra – 1/26/12: Kevin Love and Prince Fielder

This was originally a bonus article from Volume One, Issue Two of Ramblin’ On.

A Love Supreme
ImageThis week the Timberwolves signed Kevin Love, who Charles Barkely called the best power forward in the NBA, to a four-year, 60+ million dollar contract (with a fourth year that Love can opt-out of). I was happy, as a Wolves fan, to hear of the deal, as we needed to lock down Love to ensure the future of the franchise.

But there’s more to it than meets the eye. Under the NBA’s new collective bargaining agreement every team has one player who can receive a five-year extension on his first contract. This is the contract Love fought hard for during talks and the reports are that he was not very happy that he didn’t get it.

I don’t blame him. The Wolves are obviously waiting to give that contract to Ricky Rubio. While Rubio is a dynamic player who sells tickets and excites the fan base he doesn’t have the pure talent of Love. My inclination – and it is shared by many in both the local and national media – is that David Kahn wants to franchise Rubio, his find, instead of Love, who Kevin McHale went to lengths to pick up. This is crazy, especially considering how well-established, sturdy, and sure of a talent Love is compared to Rubio, a rookie who could still end up getting figured out or become injury prone. If I were Love I’d feel more than slighted; hell, with his talent, I probably would have opted to test the free agent market.

But, fortunately for the Wolves, he didn’t do that. Instead he signed a deal that has 3 years guaranteed with good money and, if Kahn and company don’t build a winning program around him, he can opt out and go somewhere else after that. This is good for Love and for the Wolves organization, as Kahn now has a 3 year window to build a contender or lose Love – and his job.

Cecil’s baby boy comes home
This week Prince Fielder announced, surprisingly, that he was signing with the Detroit Tigers. This Imageis about the worst news that a Twins fans could receive. Of all the places he could sign he signs with a division rival? It already has more cynical members of the Minnesota media wondering whether he’ll hit more home runs at Target Field this season than Mauer and Morneau combined (I always love that one).

Prince coming to the American League Central is especially devastating to the Twins is because they still insist on a “pitch to contact” mentality of training their pitchers, from the minor leagues on, to attempt to get batters to hit (contact, if you will) for outs instead of attacking them and striking them out. As long as the Twins insist on this I guarantee that Prince will be a Twins killer – just like most members of the Yankees, Red Sox, Blue Jays, and any other hard hitting team. I’m going to save my pitch to contact rant for a separate article but the Fielder signing puts into perspective just how detrimental it is.

Personally, however, I’m happy to see Prince in a Tiger uniform. I’ve always been a fan of fat first basemen due to my love of Kent Hrbek and the fact that I too was once a fat first baseman. I’m pretty excited to see him at Target Field more regularly. I’d even say that he’s my second favorite baseball player. To R.A. Dickey, of course.

Erik Ritland is a writer and musician from St. Paul, Minnesota. His blog and podcast Rambling On features commentary on music, sports, culture, and more. He is also a contributor for Minnesota culture blog Curious North. Support Erik’s music via his Patreon account, reach him via email, or find him on Facebook and Twitter.




2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by David Branch on January 27, 2012 at 3:35 am

    You know the saying in the NFL “it’s a quarterback league”? well in basketball it’s a point gaurd league. Case in point the knicks, who have arguably the best front court in the whole league but have gotten laughed out of games with waeker teams just because of bad pg play. The league has realized that the point gaurd, even more so then the quarterback in football, controls the flow of the game. There is a chance that rubio could flop, but i highly doubt it, guys aren’t taught that kind of court vision it’s you have it or you don’t.
    This is cool though man keep up the good work


    • Thanks brother!

      I have to pretty much agree with you here. That’s why I love writing articles; it helps me learn and expand my mind!

      PG is indeed the important position and your Knicks analogy perfectly proves that. Rubio getting figured out is even less likely than I thought it was before, as he has been adapting well to people playing him differently already.


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