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Eric Nelson

SPORTS NUGGETS: Thanks to AL parity the Minnesota Twins are in the playoff chase

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By Eric Nelson
June 21, 2017
GAMEDAY GOLD

MINNEAPOLIS -Sports Nuggets from the North Star State...

•MLB Geography: Baseball is a lot like real estate. It’s all about location, location, location. Because of that the Minnesota Twins have a chance to remain in the AL playoff chase. Yes, the Twins are far from a polished product, and yes they have slipped into second place (trailing Cleveland by 1 1/2 games in the AL Central). But, the division is mediocre and there are two wild card spots available. Houston is the only dominant team in the league – every other club has flaws. Being part of the parity-laden AL is a good thing if you have post-season dreams. The Twins are one of just six teams in the league with an above .500 record…

•Small Progress: The Twins got a rare win at Target Field Monday night as they out slugged the Chicago White Sox 9-7. Kennys Vargas (483 feet) and Miguel Sano (425 feet) hit monster home runs in the game. Minnesota is 15-24 at home in 2017…

•Brew Crew: Milwaukee is a major surprise in MLB this season. The Brewers (38-35) lead the World Series champion Chicago Cubs by a half game in the NL Central. 1B Eric Thames – who was playing in South Korea last year – is one of Milwaukee’s top players. Thames has 20 home runs, second most in the NL…

•Power Points: Thames and NY Yankees slugger Aaron Judge are two of the better MLB stories in 2017. Judge is a legitimate triple crown threat who leads the AL in home runs (24), is second in RBI (54) and second in batting average (.333)…

•Duke Connection: Two of pro basketball’s most powerful individuals share a common bond. NBA commissioner Adam Silver and WNBA Commissioner Lisa Borders both went to Duke. Borders was in the Twin Cities last week and watched the Connecticut-Minnesota game at the Xcel Energy Center on Saturday…
•Tray time: For the first time in eight years, there will be a three-point contest at the WNBA All-Star Game. The event takes place during halftime of the game on Saturday, July 22 at KeyArena in Seattle…

•Draft Month: If you like sports drafts then June is your month. The MLB Draft was last week and the NBA and NHL Drafts are this week. This is a dream come true for sports geeks and analytic freaks who love this kind of stuff…

•Jerry’s Journey: The remarkable career of NBA legend Jerry West has come full circle. West is back in Los Angeles, the city where he starred for the Lakers and became a front office genius with a knack for building title teams. However, West’s new employers are the Clippers, not the Lakers – which should make their intra-city rivalry even more intense. West had been with Golden State as an advisor in the Warriors front office…

•Parade Payday: According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Golden State owners Peter Guber and Joe Lacob paid for the entire Warriors’ championship parade last week in Oakland. Normally a city covers some of the cost, but because Oakland has a huge budget deficit, Guber and Lacob picked up the tab, which was close to $4 million…

•Viva Las Vegas: After their parade in Oakland, the Warriors continued their celebration with a team trip to Las Vegas. The good news for Golden State fans is, unlike the Raiders, the Warriors visit to Vegas was temporary and they are returning to the Bay Area…

•Cool Refuge: Too bad the expansion Vegas Golden Knights aren’t playing NHL games this week. The temp in Las Vegas on Tuesday was a scorching 117 degrees and the forecast high for Wednesday is 115. T-Mobile Arena (the Knights new venue) has plenty of cool air and an ice rink – making it a perfect place to escape the heat…

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Eric Nelson

SPORTS NUGGETS: Despite low attendance, Adam Silver believes the Minnesota Timberwolves are trending up

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By Eric Nelson

February 1, 2017

GAMEDAY GOLD

 

MINNEAPOLIS – Sports Nuggets from Timberwolves nation…

•Crowd Counts: Despite winning seven of their last 10, crowds are not exactly flocking to Target Center to see the Minnesota Timberwolves. In 26 home dates the Wolves average just 13,871 fans per game – which ranks 29th out of the NBA’s 30 teams. Only Denver (13,575) draws fewer fans per game…

•Silver Lining: NBA Commissioner Adam Silver was in Minneapolis last week watching the Indiana-Minnesota game. Despite the Wolves attendance woes, Silver is not concerned about Minneapolis as a basketball market. “No, not at all,” Silver said. “They’re doing all the right things to continue to attach themselves to the community. Part of it is building the team and building the arena as well. They are doing everything that is necessary, so I have not a bit of concern…”

•Wow Factor: It was Silver’s first trip to Target Center since the arena’s three-phase, $150 million renovation began. Silver raved about the new circular video board that is in the venue. “It really changes the experience for the fans,” Silver said. “These high-definition, big screen video boards are unique to our league…”

•Trending Up: Silver calls Minnesota a “first class organization” and says all the “arrows are pointing in the right direction.” He believes the Wolves have the right pieces in place to have sustained success…”

•C-Town-Bound: Minnesota logged another win Monday night, defeating Orlando 111-105 in overtime at Target Center. Next up for the Timberwolves (19-29) is a Wednesday evening game at Cleveland. The NBA champion Cavaliers (32-15) are on top of the Eastern Conference and have a 21-5 home record…

•In the House: Twins 2B Brian Dozier and CF Byron Buxton were at Saturday night’s Brooklyn-Minnesota game at Target Center. Dozier and Buxton were in Minneapolis for Twinsfest…

•Girl Power: Wednesday is National Girls and Women in Sports Day, and to celebrate the Minnesota Lynx are taking 20 female athletes from St. Paul Humboldt High School to the Science Museum of Minnesota Sportsology Exhibit. Lynx stars Rebekkah Brunson and Lindsay Whalen will participate in the festivities…

•Bold Bash: The Minnesota Super Bowl host committee is throwing a party Thursday night in Houston. “Bold north down South” is the theme of the evening. Super Bowl LI is Sunday in Houston and Super Bowl LII will be played in Minneapolis in 2017…

•Super Stats: According to wallethub.com, 51.7 million cases of beer will be sold on Super Bowl Sunday and 1,300 planes will land at Houston area airports during Super week. Most of those (85 percent) will be corporate jets…

•Big-Game Brent: Another legendary sports broadcaster is retiring. ESPN’s Brent Musberger is leaving after a fabulous career in the booth, the studio and the sideline. Musberger was a multi-talented guy who brought energy and passion to the broadcasts, and is one of the all-time greats. Musberger’s staple was the way he used to open up the old NFL Today shows on CBS by saying, “You are looking live at a sold out Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington, MN…”

•Fab Four: Musberger’s retirement comes just months after three other icons left the booth. In 2016 Vin Scully, Dick Enberg and Verne Lundquist called it quits too. The foursome leaves a huge void. The airwaves will never be the same…

 

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