Mike the Mechanic works his magic on U

Mike the Mechanic is the antithesis of Viagra. Unlike the little blue pill that cures problems by making things hard, Mike the Mechanic cures problems by making things easy.
If there is something awry with any of the athletics programs at the University, Mike the Mechanic is the man called upon to provide the ridiculously easy answers to difficult questions.
While he is rarely seen working his mechanical magic in public, he is easily contacted through correspondence, particularly e-mail.
Here’s a sample of some of the e-mails Mike has received from various desperate dignitaries at the University recently:

From: [email protected]
To: Mike the Mechanic
Subject: Australian chokers

Dear Mike the Mechanic,
It seems as if my top golfer, 1998 NCAA champion James McLean, has a penchant for wrestling iguanas and other sorts of animals like skunks and raccoons.
The Australia native lost some skin off his thumb while wrestling the iguana on our recent trip to Puerto Rico — not a particularly intelligent move, I must admit — but do I have to worry about him choking in big tournaments like fellow Australian Greg Norman?

Dear J. Means,
No worries, mate. Nobody chokes like Norman, except Fuzzy Zoeller, who occasionally chokes on his foot. Norman, a.k.a. “The Shark,” was booted out of the Match Play Championships last Thursday by somebody named Eduardo Romero — and no, it’s not the guy who played “The Joker” in the Batman TV series.
Norman lost to Romero even though he was three holes up with four to play, just like he lost the Masters a couple of years ago going into the final day with a six-stroke lead. But don’t expect fellow countryman McLean to suffer from the same fear-of-winning phobia.
McLean’s unexpected championship last year and his continued success proves that he enjoys the taste of victory, much like iguanas enjoy the taste of human flesh.

From: [email protected] proteges.com
To: Mike the Mechanic
Subject: Four Big Ten wins in four years

Dear Mike the Mechanic,
When I took the Gophers women’s basketball coaching job before the 1997-98 season, I knew that Minnesota had won only one conference game in two years. However, I figured I could change things around a little quicker.
My predecessor was criticized for not keeping the top in-state recruits at home, but I have been able to keep them — Cassie VanderHeyden, Theresa LeCuyer and Kim Bell, for example.
Why am I still getting criticized so much? Why is this program considered a laughing stock? Heck, we’ve gone 11-43 in my two years.

Dear C. Littlejohn,
I realize that turning women’s basketball at Minnesota into a winning program is about as difficult as rebuilding the fuel injection system in the new Chrysler 300M with only an Allen wrench and duct tape.
But 11 wins in two years, come on.
While VanderHeyden, LeCuyer and Bell played well in their rookie seasons, there is a list of homegrown players who have gotten away that are lighting it up at other schools.
Wisconsin has Oakdale native Jessie Stomski averaging 15.2 points and 6.4 rebounds per game and Minneapolis’ own Tamara Moore scoring 10.1 a game and grabbing 4.5 rebounds per game. Oh, and the Badgers won nine Big Ten games.
Keep around more players like those two — and the Miller twins from Rochester, who are leading the 14th-ranked Georgia Bulldogs in scoring — at home and your program will get healthy a lot quicker.
I know that you worked with the Drug Enforcement Agency when you graduated from Tennessee, and considering your success at protecting the Minnesota borders, it’s no wonder you left the DEA.

From: [email protected]
To: Mike the Mechanic
Subject: Crumbling stadium and crumbling Twins

Dear Mike the Mechanic,
I have two questions.
First, with the massive payroll cut the Twins are going through, will my team be the best baseball team to call the Metrodome home?
And secondly, why is the University building a new softball stadium, a new women’s soccer stadium, a new women’s hockey stadium and that big copper eyesore called the Gateway Center, when my team is playing in a 30-year-old stadium with bleachers that could instigate an I-Team report?

Dear J. Anderson,
To answer your first question — yes. Sunday’s 12-8 win over Ohio State proves that (at least with those aluminum bats) your team will put some runs on the board. And with 18 games scheduled at the Dome this spring, your squad might win as many games there as the Twins.
The answer to that pesky second question is simple but at the same time very complex — Title IX.
I’m told Title IX has something to do with gender equity. That means if you are part of a men’s collegiate athletic program that doesn’t have something called March Madness or a bowl game named after potato chips, you get jack squat when you put your hand out for money.
Mike the Mechanic’s alter ego, Daily staff reporter Michael Dougherty, can be reached at [email protected] Don’t ask him where to find black market Viagra, however.