Celebrating Sid

Pretenders Come and Go
It doesn’t matter if your beat is the Twins, Vikings, or the Timberwolves. If Sid’s after a story, all that collegial crap is out the door. Watch out. No one stands between Sid and a juicy scoop.

And you’re bumming if you’re one of those glamour-boy TV reporters. There’s this so-called “investigative” reporter for KSTP-TV, Robb Leer. Nowadays he runs around exposing corrupt non-profits and pedophile priests for the Hubbard media empire. But back in the late 80s, he was doing a lot of sports. Leer was always known as an aggressive individual, as befits his gumshoe image. But sports is Sid’s turf, and no one is as aggressive as Sid in Sid’s house. That set up a battle of the titans, says Jon Kerr, a former sports reporter for United Press International and author of a 1990 book on the Twins called Calvin: Baseball’s Last Dinosaur.

“Robb Leer and Sid were always going at one another in 1987 when the Twins were on their way to winning the World Series,” he says. “During the stretch drive, there was an important game where Kent Hrbek drove in the winning run in just a classic, classic ending to a big game. It was a very memorable moment and after the game there were throngs of reporters all standing around, itching to get into the clubhouse and descend on Hrbek to get that big quote. So we’re all standing there, waiting for Tom Kelly to open the clubhouse door. Leer and Sid are just elbowing each other for position. Sid says something nasty to Leer, and Leer is giving it right back at him. These two guys were just unbelievable the way they were competing with each other.

“Finally Kelly opens the door and everyone spills into the clubhouse. Hrbek is sitting there at his locker. He was usually very good about talking to the press. But before he can even say hello, Leer and Sid jam in their microphones and start screaming questions at him, with each of them trying to drown the other one out. Hrbek is so taken aback by all this, he just starts trying to calm them down.

“He’s saying, ‘Guys, guys, let’s settle down here.’ But of course they don’t. Then Hrbek says, ‘I can’t take this anymore,’ and disappears from the locker room. So guess what? Nobody gets a quote from Hrbek.”

Kerr also hints darkly that there exists a much-sought-after videotape in which Sid is subjected to vicious towel snapping and nasty taunts from his close personal friends on the Twins during the 1987 World Series winning locker-room celebration. Wouldn’t the pretenders to Sid’s throne love to chortle over that one? But as far as the Snapper is concerned, Sid is big, possibly bigger than everyone else put together.

Could Leave Town
If we don’t do something for Sid soon, like build him a statue, he’s going to leave this town. For some reason, this city is full of ingrates who don’t appreciate what he’s done for us. You yahoos have to face up to it—if we don’t act now, sources in the newspaper industry tell me that Sid has firm offers from Boca Raton and Scottsdale. The big shots in those towns are real sports fans. They’ve got a lot of dough to set Sid up in a choice new column and all the statues he’ll ever need.

Think about what life here would be like without Sid. Nobody to sputter and spume over on those ’CCO Sunday mornings. No butt for Dark Star to park his lips on every SportsNight. No more timely updates on the likes of Coach Bobby Knight, Coach Grant, and that third-string Vikings d-back who’s in line for a promotion to the taxi squad. Let the Vikes go to Texas, and the Twins go to Timbuktu. Just don’t let this hometown hero get picked up on waivers because he thinks we don’t appreciate him. Get up right now and call your politicians and tell them we need to keep the only real winner we’ve got in this town—my sports hero, Sid Hartman.

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