Two extremely important and very serious stories have developed in the last 24 hours.
First and absolutely foremost without question: Planters/Nabisco Cheez Balls (now called Cheez Mania) snacks have resurfaced in limited distribution (I assume) at Target stores. These gems have been gone for years and go down in history along with Baked Sour Cream and Cheddar Lays w/ French Onion Dip and Flamin Hot Cheetos (Jalapeno Cheddar if in dire straits, or puffcorn if near death) as the greatest salty snack of all time. Why they were discontinued remains to be seen and said decision may go down as the biggest fail in recent United States history. In fact, a petition exists with over 16,000 signatures (which we can go ahead and round up to 4.3 million for the sake of discussion) to bring back the snack. Initial signs of a resurface caught my eye when Target introduced a Market Pantry private label-branded tub of the cheese balls for a hefty price. I bit. They were nothing like the Planters/Kraft/Nabisco balls of yesteryear. Dry and stale in texture. Weak flavor profile. The cheese tasted like cheddar ramen from freshman year of college, made in the dorm bathroom sink. You know, the flavor you ate when all of the chicken, beef and pesto ones ran out and you had to eat to survive? Not good. Panic ensued. Alas, an afternoon jaunt to the Minnetonka-Ridgedale Target to pick up lunch items yielded the shocking, double-take discovery of the snack; now merchandised in the front-of-store $1.00 section end-cap in a 2.75 oz size. They were opened immediately (after arriving back at work, of course).
It had been probably (I don’t know exactly) 10 years or more since something as incredible as Cheez Balls existed/happened/were forefront on our minds.
Secondarily, and also not coincidentally, not since October 18th, 1979 has a player done what Kevin Love may very well do against the Pacers tonight in extending his streak of consecutive double-doubles to 52 games in a row. Nearly 32 years, over three times that of the approximate discontinuation of Cheez Balls. Moses Malone’s streak of 51 games, now tied by Love, ended on that day. At this time, Cheese Ballz may very well have been in full force. Afros were all the rage, Love wasn’t even born, Darrell “Kurt” Rhombus was playing in the NBA. A long time ago, indeed. A breakdown of the record and such can be found here. Congratulations Mr. Love for getting this far. Assuming you play tonight,, I think we can all put down the 15-win record and the anti-Kahnbis sentiment if only for an evening. It is too bad you have to break 30year old records to get us to end the self-loathing.
Opinion on Love’s streak seems a bit divided, but generally favorable. Many fans alike are happy about the streak, but others rip on it because of our ‘modest’ win total. Many Wolves fans do not seem to be too irrational on the realities of his streak as it pertains to our record. We are not, in fact, from Portland, New York and Toronto which is only a good thing for any reader, human in general. A recent article tells a more negative story with these kinds of statistical anomalies. And I do agree: stats are misleading. Furthermore, stats and figures can also be spun in just about any direction to form your argument for better or worse. However, this is not the topic at hand. In this situation, my simple stance is: enjoy something positive. The other night against Dallas, watching on TV, it was enjoyable seeing Kevin get a standing ovation from the home crowd. It was a nice moment amidst the Wolves-fandom reality of consistently wading chest high through a sewage lagoon. It was just another sign that, deep down, this city wants a quality basketball product and would support it if not for the nincompoops in the front office. During the Garnett years, Target Center was jammed to the brim. This could happen again easily with a few more roster moves and the addition of a guy named Ricky Rubio. Here’s looking at you Mr. Kahn to provide such a product. I wish the faith were stronger and that, well, you weren’t totally full of baloney, but let’s not worry about such trivialities right now.
Also relevant is that, with a victory, the Wolves will improve their record over last year (16 wins). This would be a nice win in many ways for our favorite team.
Other thought points for tonight’s game and beyond:
1. Josh McRoberts was nearly traded for OJ Mayo at the trade deadline. Is there something we are missing or is he as blatantly mediocre as he seems? Why would Memphis trade OJ for him? Why on earth didn’t we get in on this?
2. Can Jonny Flynn continue his streak of relatively competent play? Will he try another unnecessary, eye-roll-worthy, between-the-legs pass amidst the stretch of decent play?
3. What will the Wolves do about the frontcourt rotation with AR showing he can produce, Pek improving, Tolliver providing energy…and a lifeless Darko still getting the starting job? Think to Darko’s very late 1st half foul trouble vs. Dallas and a 2nd half “injury”. Without these incidences, highly skilled and immediate fan favorite Anthony Randolph likely wouldn’t have even played despite a stretch of pretty impressive ball over the weekend. This is a large long-term problem, with over $30 million committed to the aforementioned; and a major question mark moving forward with this team. We have to extend AR, but have little room for him and it is obvious. Does anyone else get an eerie feeling Darko may head back overseas after this season despite his contract? Wouldn’t surprise me.
4. Mikey Beasley has had a rough patch of late and put up a pretty ugly 20 points against Dallas. Can he snap out of it and ride his momentum into the offseason? He showed so much promise early on this year but concerns have developed of late. Just a slump or something more? Regardless, this clip always makes me forgive any bad play he makes, especially imagining how Rhombus or Kahn would react to seeing him act like that.
5. Wes had a rough outing against Dallas after a series of games that somewhat irrationally moved several fans on to the Wes bandwagon. The thing is Wes has had similar stretches of terrific play, followed by a 4-5 game vanishing act, all season long. This is not new. In fact, check out his game logs if you don’t believe me.
Just rambling. Anyhow, I hope everyone (hopefully) enjoys a T-Wolf becoming part of the record books tonight. Maybe we can drop the cynicism for a Minnesota minute here and hope for the best, and maybe not once again expect the worst. (Fine, we’ll probably lose when Rambis draws up a crunch time play for Lazar Hayward).
Lastly, if anyone wants to attend the game for cheap tonight to potentially witness a bit of history in person, tickets were reduced to $4.20 for Uppers and $42 for lowers (get it? 42?) to catch the historic night. I may just try to sneak over there myself. I know we are a losing team, but being there for Love’s 31-31 game was something I will never forget. I would encourage all to be there if they can to have the memory and experience the imminent ovation. No, the Wolves ticket peeps did not ask me to do this, I promise.