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Eric Nelson

SPORTS NUGGETS: Northern exposure is great, but the Minnesota Gophers need to go north in the Big Ten West

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By Eric Nelson
July 12, 2017
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@Ericinminny44

 

MINNEAPOLIS – Sports Nuggets from the home of Post-It Notes…..

•Northern Exposure: U of M football coach PJ Fleck is trying to change things up at TCF Bank Stadium. Fleck wants the Gophers to switch from the southern sideline to the northern sideline. That’s great, but I will be more impressed if Minnesota starts going north in the Big Ten West standings…

•Doubling Up: All this sideline chatter conjures up memories of Milwaukee’s County Stadium and Met Stadium in Bloomington, MN. Green Bay occasionally played in Milwaukee and the Met was Minnesota’s original home. The bench areas for both teams at those venues were on the same side of the field…

•Name Change: Now that the U of M hockey team will be playing at 3M Arena it is time to clear up some rumors. The Gophers don’t have to use Scotch tape on their hockey sticks and HC Don Lucia does not have to draw up plays on Post-It Notes…

•Maiden Voyage: The state of Florida is used to hosting major sporting events. There have been 10 Super Bowls in Miami, four in Tampa and one in Jacksonville. There have been countless NCAA bowl games, PGA Tour stops and the annual Daytona 500. However, Tuesday’s MLB All-Star Game in Miami was the first mid-summer classic ever played in Florida. Hard to believe considering that Florida has two MLB teams – Miami and Tampa Bay – and that 15 teams flock there every year for spring training…

•Good Show: Even though it’s just an exhibition, the MLB All-Star game still has juice. Compared to the NBA, NFL and NHL, MLB’s star show is actually worth watching…

•Candy Man: Now that Aaron Judge is the next NY Yankee superstar, does that mean he will get a candy bar named after him like Babe Ruth and Reggie Jackson..?

•Standing Tall: Right now the only thing in NYC larger than Judge is the 104 story One World Trade Center…

•Ivy Costs: According to the Chicago Tribune, the Cubs are selling approximately 2,016 pieces of ivy that fell from the Wrigley Field outfield wall after the 2016 World Series championship season. The tab is $200 per leaf, plus $15 shipping and handling…

•One and Done: Based on the way the Cubs are playing in 2017, pedaling ivy won’t be an option next year. Chicago is 43-45 and 5 1/2 games behind Milwaukee in the NL Central…

•Soccer Signing: Minnesota United has inked 22-year old midfielder Sam Nicholson to a contract. Nicholson played the last four years with Heart of Midlothian in the Scottish Premiership League…

•Cool Look: The more I see the Minnesota Timberwolves new logo, the more I like it. The “Aurora green” north star mixed with the “lake blue” basketball is a creative concept…

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Thomas U. Tuttle

Baseball Hall Of Fame Voting 2017

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by Thomas U. Tuttle

Cooperstown Here We Come

It is official on this January day that Jeff Bagwell (86% of vote, need 75%, 7th year eligible) Tim Raines (86% 15th and final year on ballot) and Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez (75%, first ballot HOF’er) have been voted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame by the BBWAA. They will be formally inducted at the always engaging HOF Induction Ceremony on the weekend of July 28-31 in historic Cooperstown, New York.

As I’m known to say to friends and fellow baseball people, Induction Day is something special to see and well worth any effort and expense to be there – at least once. The Paul Molitor ceremony in 2004 was a event that will never be forgotten by those who attended (Dennis Eckersley, relief pitcher extraordinaire, also went in that year) and was particularly memorable for me as someone who had the privilege of seeing Molly play both in college and the pro’s. I also had contact with Eckersley, as a young journalist in Chicago, when he was a struggling starter with the Cubs in the early ’80’s.

What a place, and what a weekend! The museum aspects of Cooperstown (it’s called the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum for a reason) are extraordinary, and visiting the place is a must for serious fans of the grand old game. And that is despite the fact that the times they-are-a-changing regarding the tenured baseball writers who vote for the eligible players, the baseball greats who are coming to Cooperstown, and the Hall of Fame itself.

Baseball writers who have a vote for the Hall are those members of the BBWAA with at least 10 years of continuous coverage of the game (primarily “beat” writers) as well as those who have been away from that role for less than 10 years. And that has been an important recent change, in that those writers who have been away from the beat for more than 10 years no longer have a vote.

What that means as a practical matter is that the a number of older writers, some of them familiar names in sports journalism, no longer have a vote. They have dropped off the roles of eligible voters. Thus, naturally, the demographic of HOF voters has gotten quite a bit younger. I am not saying that this is all bad, but it must be considered that younger writers have a different perspective on some of the issues of various periods in baseball history – including what is now commonly referred to as “the steroid era.”

And the elephant in the Cooperstown room, the largest issue besides “skill, success and statistics” (as one old-timer told me) regarding election to the baseball HOF, is the use of steroids or performance enhancing drugs (PEDs). Historically, or at least up until recently, a positive test or mention in the congressional investigation’s “Mitchell Report” meant a “blackball” from the Hall.

Of this years players elected to be enshrined, two have had been subjected to substantial rumor and innuendo regarding PEDs (Rodriguez and Bagwell) and one has in fact been “outed” in Jose Canseco’s book “Juiced” which came out in 2005 (Rodriguez). Canseco states that he injected Rodriguez (along with Mark McGwire, Juan Gonzalez, and Jason Giambi, among others) in the butt with ‘roids and provides some detail. Well, Pudge is not just in, he’s a first ballot selection!

Bagwell has admitted to using androstenedione, a semi-steroid still legal when he (and Mark McGwire) admitted using it in 1998. He denies any and all steroid/PED use – as does Rodriguez. Canseco has been vilified by many in baseball, including his former 1989 World Series manager in Oakland, Tony LaRussa, who has called his book and steroid abuse accusations “an attempt to gain attention and make money.”

Having read the book, I will say it rings true. That doesn’t mean Canseco is a good person – look up the details of his legal transgressions and prepare to be amazed – but his recollection of people, places and events doesn’t sound like make-believe. After all, some players have readily admitted that they were willing to do most anything to stay in the game or gain power – but most won’t talk and the tight baseball community doesn’t encourage such elucidation. What happens here, stays here has always been the rule.

A percentage of the new generation of baseball writers views LaRussa as someone who benefitted from the steroid era, in that users such as Canseco and McGwire helped manager Tony achieve a world title (in fairness, he’s had success everywhere he’s gone, especially St. Louis). The logic goes that if LaRussa benefitted from the era and is in the Hall, then how can we punish the men who made his selection possible?

Also, there is a perception that former baseball Commissioner Bud Selig, who oversaw the tainted times and was recently enshrined in the HOF himself, either did not do enough to eliminate efforts to cheat the game or turned a blind eye to the true depth and challenge of drugs on baseball. Why wasn’t there more of a concerted effort to banish steroids when the evil medicine began to rear its ugly head?

And the big question now becomes – how do you justify keeping legends and record holders such as Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens out of the Hall when other users or suspected users are in? Mike Piazza is another name, already in the HOF, who has been indicted by innuendo and accusations but has nonetheless been enshrined. The grey area is getting murkier by the month and year, but it is still left to a select group of writers – a younger group of writers, perhaps less duty-bound to yesterday’s assumptions – that will determine the baseball Hall’s enshrinement future going forward.

And just a quick personal note; this kind of stuff has been around for a long while, so count me among those who believe baseball’s response to drug cheating could have been more forceful and better executed. In 1980 my collegiate baseball career as a shortstop at Northwestern University was ending, and not necessarily by my choice. I’d had a pretty good run in the Big Ten, but didn’t make enough of a mark to be drafted, despite never striking out in Big Ten competition and running the 60 indoors to establish my speed on the record (as Casey Stengel once said – “you can look it up”).

I was a four-tool player and the scouts knew it. Yes, I was fast and had a good eye, strong enough arm and was a fairly intelligent player. But I didn’t hit the ball deep very often, had clear “warning track power” which was considered a deficiency – especially with the All-American Paul Molitor lighting things up playing short at Minnesota and setting the bar awfully high for midwestern shortstops!

An acquaintance from the NU football team, let’s call him “Doug” (a lineman with good size, played a year for the Cowboys) attended a number of our games and ran into me after my last season. “Tom, maybe you could use a little something,” he said. Norm was known for selling weed, and I thought that’s what he meant. It wasn’t. He broke down for me what he had available, and it was steroids. He used that word, first time I had ever heard it.

Steroids…

I said no and have never looked back, despite the crazy money coming at that time to baseball – big money that has only gotten bigger. But I had a profound love of the game from about age three, and a respect for my body as well. And enough of something, I’d like to call it integrity, that it just wasn’t going to happen.

This was 1980, 35-plus years ago. The stuff was out there, even at a place like NU. And with the money, the fame and the adulation, there is certainly incentive to compromise values at the highest levels of the National Pastime. There’s also a heck of a lot of temptation in the minors for help getting to the top, as we have seen. The Dominican Republic is a juice factory, as I have documented in previous writing. Latin players face unique challenges. Colleges usually don’t do any testing for drug abuse in baseball and more high-schoolers use steroids than you would think.

But a lot of what is out there is very difficult to prove, and that is part of the challenge. I saw Barry Bonds when he started his career and he looked quite different 10 years later – a much bigger head, among other things. An amazing player at all times, even without 70-plus assisted homers. Same with Ivan Rodriguez, who looked impossibly powerful when I saw him in a hotel shuttle. He was traveling with his entourage at the ’99 All-Star game. Just massive in his body shirt – tough, rough and buff. Take a look at the drop-off in his numbers after the Canseco book when he presumably stopped juicing, in 2005.

Who knows? I don’t, and neither do the Hall-of-Fame voters.

But they do…

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Thomas U. Tuttle

Welcome to 2017

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by Thomas U. Tuttle

Yes, the new year of 2017 has arrived, and 2016 is finally in the rear-view mirror. For a lot of us, and for different reasons, it was a tough year that needn’t hurry back.

But maybe all years are going to be tough going forward, elections or no elections. Maybe there’s just no way out of the numerous challenges on this planet, our only human home with it’s fragility, challenges and dangers increasingly on display.

Recently I visited Egypt, and a few days after a trip to see the Coptic Christian church in Cairo, it was bombed, leaving over 25 dead and many seriously injured. My trip closed in the country of Jordan where we visited the Karak Castle, an ancient (1100’s – AKA the “Crusader Castle”) and it, too, was the site of a terrorist attack mere days after our group was there, wandering inquisitively through the bowels of that amazing and historic structure.

The bad guys missed us, an appetizing western target I’m sure. But close only counts in horseshoes and, sadly, hand grenades.

Radical Islam is determined to keep turning this old world upside down- a world we hope can get older and be the beautiful place where we all grew up – but it’s not our only challenge. Insanity and lunacy emerge when you least expect it, as exemplified by the recent murder of innocents in the Fort Lauderdale airport, last frequented by yours truly when headed to a Super Bowl in that fair city. There are dozens of other examples, just in 2016. The nuthouse, unfortunately, is all around us…

Which brings me back to the “funny pages of life,” also called the sports section of your newspaper or internet source. Of course, sport used to be a lot simpler back in the day, before the giant money and ridiculous self-promotion of both teams and players. Increasingly, the constant misbehavior of many of our stars has become a turn-off for a great number of fans. The stories of our foolish, wealthy sports stars are legion and go well beyond the recently arrested (once again) Adam “Pac-Man” Jones.

How about the case a few weeks ago of former Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Michael Floyd? After a tough loss to the Miami Dolphins, he is busted at 3 a.m. in his Caddy Escalade asleep at a traffic light in Scottsdale, at the busy intersection of Scottsdale Rd. and Goldwater Blvd. Asleep! According to the police report, it took three tries to rouse him – “foot on the brake, head back, mouth open, sound asleep.” Man, that’s an ugly picture.

After exhibiting belligerence and refusing the b.a.c. test, a warrant was obtained and the number came in at 0.217 – or nearly three times the legal limit. Michael Floyd had the privilege of a prominent high school and then a Notre Dame education (where he also had a DUI in 2011), so you would think he would have learned something. And playing for the lousy Cards is no excuse for driving so hammered you can’t even function.

Or maybe he is just making the case for one of the new “self-driving” models.

But don’t worry, the story has a happy ending. Arizona released Floyd the following week, and New England picked him up and immediately plugged him in. That Bill Belichick doesn’t miss a trick! And the receiver has contributed immediately.

My friend Joseph, who lives in Michigan and is a former School Superintendent and sports fan, says that he just doesn’t care about pro football any more – too much bad behavior with lack of consequences, he recently wrote to me.

In truth, the National Football League is up there with Amazon and Google as an industry that greatly impacts our lives. What the NFL wants, the NFL gets and holding that league accountable is nearly impossible. And they use their strength very selectively, nailing any overly-exuberant end zone activity with relish while allowing the degenerate, talented Floyd to try and help Tom Brady to another SB.

Hey, maybe it was a strategic career move by Michael – it sure could turn out that way!

Back on the local sports front, the Gopher ugliness has been nothing to sneeze at, with Tracy Claeys paying the price for coming across as actively supporting his abhorrently behaving kids. He wasn’t really, but his choice of words couldn’t have been worse.

I don’t agree with crucifying a football coach for standing by his players, nor do I agree with the vitriol spewed by Christine Brennan towards Brent Musburger for not vilifying Oklahoma’s Joe Mixon’s bad behavior enough. Despite a plethora of misbehaving athletes, I still can’t bend to political correctness in assessing accountability. Mixon has been heavily punished and his life altered by the events of a brief moment. He has apologized profusely and, I believe, sincerely.

Mixon was pushed and struck by a woman, and he then dropped her – and injured her – with one punch when he was 20 years old. Had “she” been a “he” Mixon would have been within his rights to return a blow. But no title 9 gender equity here – there is a movement at the U of OK to remove coach Bob Stoops because he brought Joe Mixon back after a long punishment, and it is believed top running back Mixon may go undrafted given the PR headaches it is assumed he would bring.

Don’t get me wrong, I still love sport. But perhaps I’m old enough to demand some honor in the competition and in the athlete. I grew up with Ernie Banks and Harmon Killebrew, Gale Sayers and Jerry Sloan. I knew every starter on the ’69 Cubs, and the towns they came from. The average salary for a Major Leaguer at that time was around $40 K a year – compare that to today, where a mediocre reliever commands upwards of five million.

As former Twins GM Terry Ryan once told me, “the money is out of whack.” Even for the good guys, like another famous receiver out west, the cash is exhorbitant. What does a guy do with tens of millions of dollars? Buy Haiti ? I don’t know, but good works should be at the head of the life agenda.

Not wheeling around plastered in your Escalade.

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Thomas U. Tuttle

In The Shadow Of The Pyramids

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by Thomas U. Tuttle

CAIRO, Egypt

As I write this piece I’m preparing to fly out of Amman, Jordan after visiting historic Petra on the final leg of my journey to the antiquities of Egypt and Jordan. This “bucket-list” trip lasted almost a month in duration and took me inside the Pyramid of Cheops, to the front (and all sides) of the Sphinx with Egyptologist Zahi Hawass, cruising down The Nile to the Temples of Luxor and the Aswan High Dam (an engineering marvel), and visiting the actual tomb of King TUT, discovered by Howard Carter in 1922.  A couple more? How about a Balloon ride on the hot-air ship Sinbad over the Temple of Ramses 2 and the Valley of the Queens, site of Nefertiti’s tomb. Nothing like the view over the Nile Valley from 3,000 feet! Unless it’s climbing to the top of Mount Nebo in Jordan, home of Biblical Moses (read-Deuteronomy) and one of the oldest Christian churches in the world, with its amazing view of the Holy Land and the River Jordan.

Yes, it was extraordinary to experience the phenomenal beauty and amazing history at the origins of a sophisticated human culture, close to the beginnings of a profound “thinking humanity” (in fact, we saw what is thought to be the oldest sculpture of a full-sized human being at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, another incredible place jam-packed with the best of the Pharaohs and much more)

But there was also a lot of physical activity, not exactly “sport” but some very challenging hikes to arrive at some of the distant sites. I know my GDG running mate Eric Nelson, an inveterate hiker, would have appreciated the exercise involved in a number of the climbs. Hard work, but well worth it and the energizing food was plentiful and quite good. A lot of hummus and fish of good quality. Yes, Big E would have loved all the bean dishes. And the fresh fruits from the Valley.

The sports action in Egypt is, of course, largely football, or soccer as we call it. They love the game, as does the rest of the world, and they are skilled, proving it by winning the most African titles (seven) of any nation. They’ve made a couple World Cup runs as well, although none recently.

“Pharaohs” as they are called play at enormous Cairo International Stadium, and the teams practices draw huge crowds, as we witnessed. Their stars, like captain Essan el-Hadary, are worshipped with even more passion than New England idolizes Tom Brady.

Okay, I can’t prove that…

But I do know that I arrived in Egypt just after the World Champion Cubs (have to get used to saying that) claimed the title, and I found not one person on my travels who knew anything about that earth-shattering development.

And no one at the historic Mena House hotel could give me an update on the Minnesota Vikings or Gophers, trust me, but the internet is a wonderful thing when far, far away (Vikes finally get a win, although a lousy Monday morning read the weeks before after four straight losses – hard to believe they still should win a weak division).

Top Egypt scholar Hawass was funny when I asked him if he had heard of the Vikings – sure enough he brought up the famous Minnesota “Rune Stone,” questioning its validity. Zahi could probably solve that long-time riddle in one day- after all, he has literally “written the books” on young King TUT, the Sphinx and many more…

Yes, it was a fabulous trip that will last me a lifetime. Egypt, which I strongly recommend for history buffs and those who travel – or simply love to wander – is awesome (and plenty safe, along with very, very inexpensive for dollar-holders). When you look up at Cheops, the Great Pyramid of Khufu, you behold 4,500 years of unmoving history along with 450 feet in height of stone – 45 stories, it’s huge! – and the phenomenon of just how that ancient culture BUILT THE THING!

I’m glad to be home, just in time for a classic Ohio State – Michigan battle. I’m fairly excited about it, and would like to see my man Jim Harbaugh swing the small upset.

Yes, it’s good to be back in the wonderful US of A, and you can be certain that while many Egyptian’s are now familiar with Donald Trump, not very many have ever heard of Woody Hayes or Bo Schembechler.

That’s just how it is in the Big World out there… an amazing world that is very much worth seeing.

Peace of the Season to all

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GDG rundown for the weekend of Nov. 11th-13th

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It’s sports with a twist this week.  Eric and Larry use this episode of the show (taped in the Twin Cities suburbs) to take a breather from athletics and recap Tuesday’s historic election.  What are their thoughts?  Then, it’s back to the games, with a deep look into the Vikings defeat versus Detroit.  The guys weigh in and get reactions from all corners (Adam Thielen, Kyle Rudolph, and Brian Robison of MIN; Eric Ebron of DET; Darryl Johnston of FOX Sports).  Plus, the Gophers, Timberwolves, and the rest of the NFL were all making headlines this week.

Describing History at the Top

Segment 1: This week went well beyond the world of Sports.  Our hosts start this week off by talking about the stunning upset in the 2016 Presidential election.  Where do we go from here now that Donald Trump has become the President-Elect?  And is it a good idea for athletes to publicly say their political stances?

 

A Sinking Ship?  The Vikings Suffer Another Loss

Segment 2: The Vikings had their issues against the Lions last Sunday.  The fellas go over some of the problems that the team’s injuries have created.  Are the Lions a true contender in the NFC North?

Plain clothed Adrian Peterson calls out to Vikings place kicker Blair Walsh

Encouragement?

 

Grander Sights for the Gophers & the Wolves Keep Plugging Away

Segment 3: The Gopher football team is still in the Big Ten West hunt.  Can they take advantage over the next three games and grab a surprising division title?  Then, the Timberwolves get their first road win of the season.  But why is this young roster struggling during the early part of the season?

 

The Players Speak Up: GDG Gets Reaction from Sunday’s Game

Segment 4: You’ve heard our reaction to Sunday’s Vikings-Lions contest.  But how about a player’s perspective.  We get that when the fellas chat with Vikings TE Kyle Rudolph, WR Adam Thielen, and DE Brian Robison.  Plus, there’s some upbeat analysis from Detroit TE Eric Ebron.

 

The Moose Is Loose: GDG Talks with FOX Sports Analyst Darryl Johnston

Segment 5: There’s one more angle that could be considered in breaking down the Vikings-Lions game…the booth.  FOX Sports analyst Darryl Johnston was on the call, and he breaks down the game, along with the Vikings’ recent skid.

 

Another CenturyLink Controversy; The Newest Twins are Here

Segment 6: What is it about Seattle?  Eric and Larry look at yet another controversial Primetime NFL game in the Emerald City.  And the Twins’ new braintrust is now running the show.  What do Derek Falvey and Thad Levine need to do to turn the franchise’s fortunes around?

 

 

 

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Thomas U. Tuttle

Cubs Blog – – A Long Time Coming

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by Thomas U. Tuttle

My love of the Chicago Cubs goes back to the days of Ernie Banks, Ron Santo, Billy Williams and the rest of the gang who blew a 10 game late-August lead to the ’69 “Miracle Mets” who featured Tom Seaver in the lead role. It might have been the greatest emotional pain I’d experienced in my young life to that point, exceeded only by the loss of my grandfather a few months later.

Hall-of-Famers Ernie Banks, Billy Williams, Ron Santo, Fergie Jenkins along with the estimable Don Kessinger, Glenn Beckert and Randy Hundley just couldn’t get it done despite a tremendous ballclub and a solid pitching rotation. Remember a guy named Leo Durocher? I do. Even as a kid, it was obvious he poisoned that team with his lack of grace when the going got tough. And yes, Seaver and the Mets (who won the World Series) played great team baseball.

The Cubs were not done disappointing me, as after a baseball/academic career (not in that order) at Northwestern University, I moved down to Wrigleyville just in time to witness as a journalist the five-game failure of the Cubbies (by now occasionally referred to as the flubbies) in a playoff loss to the San Diego Padres.

It wasn’t just that they lost to the Padres, there was also the matter of how they did it – how they managed to fail getting to their first World Series since 1945 (when all the able-bodied men were in the military anyway). Rick Sutcliffe had gone 16-1 on the year, and he won the opener at Wrigley. Chicago won the second game and then proceeded to drop a fast pair of games out west, including a 7-5 defeat in game four that should have sealed the deal.

With the deciding fifth game in the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field, and Rick Sutcliffe on the mound, things still looked pretty good. My home was near the corner of Racine and Addison, a block from the ballpark, and there was a good vibe around the old grounds that morning. Remember, there was no night baseball at that time and the party started fairly early at Murphy’s Bleachers.

I remember being in the press box and seeing the late, great Harry Kalas in the ancient press box getting ready for his radio call. Harry Carey was at his best before the contest, but by the late innings he was liquid sour as the Curse of the Goat took over once again in a 6-3 loss. First baseman Leon Durham had a crucial Bill Buckner moment on a relatively routine grounder, Sutcliffe was below average and Steve Garvey finished a stellar league championship performance as MVP.

It was the last time a league series was determined in five games – the following year and in every year since it has been a seven game set. The Cubs started playing under the lights in 1988 (I had moved to Southport and Waveland, next to the Music Box Theater, and wrote a piece called City Under The Lights, tying Cubs baseball into the fabric of Chicago and the mayoralty of Harold Washington) and continued a determined lack of success until the Bartman Ball in 2003.

Yes, that failure was also unbelievable. Bring on the goat once again.

Today they are running a big Parade from Wrigley to Grant Park in downtown Chicago. A presentation will forgive Steve Bartman. I’m sure it will be great fun, but I won’t be watching. They deserved to win and it was a great series but I’m suffering from a little too much Bill Murray (he stepped out of a Limo and peed on a tree near Murphy’s after a ’84 ballgame, can’t remember which one) and the enormous bandwagon that revs up anytime a Chicago team has success. Sports has a way of validating human existence, certainly since Roman times, that little else does.

The 1985 Chicago Bears of Iron Mike Ditka, the late, great Walter Payton, Jim McMahon, Dan Hampton, Richard Dent and others, along with the  great Michael Jordan – Scottie Pippen Chicago Bulls teams – those legendary squads pulled an awful lot of weight, but this may have been even more special and energizing. After all, it was 108 years.

I’ve never seen Chicago so emotionally revved up. Every other person you see on the street is wearing a piece of Cubs attire, and everyone seems to be smiling. Joy to the World, my brothers and sisters. (Remember, there are no murders in Kingston, Jamaica in the days surrounding a Usain Bolt sprint title!)

Well done Cubbies, you have made a lot of people, an entire city – heck, half of the country – happy, and that has to be a good thing. Actually, quite a wonderful thing in an increasingly challenged world shortly before a miserably divisive election. Cub fans of all breeds are ONE, baby!

And congratulations to the Cleveland Indians, what an outstanding year you gentleman had! But to the victors go the spoils- and the Parades!

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GDG rundown for the weekend of Nov. 4th-6th

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If there was a week where anything could truly happen, this would be it.  Eric and Larry travel to Target Center for this edition of the show, and they try to explain the other-worldly event that is “Chicago Cubs: 2016 World Series Champions.”  One of our own spent some time in Chi-town this week, but it wasn’t a happy trip for the Vikings.  Has their good vibe already soured?  The guys talk plenty of NFL, the bowl-bound Gophers, and Friday Night Fever in the Big Ten.  Plus, the guys catch up with WCCO-TV sports director Mark Rosen.

And Another Curse Is Broken

Segment 1: To quote the great Vin Scully, “The impossible has happened.”  Our hosts break down how the Chicago Cubs overcame a 3-1 deficit to win the franchise’s first world championship in 108 years.  Just how many eyeballs tuned in for that wild Game 7?

 

Maroon & “Bowl”d for the Gophers

Segment 2: The Purple may have the headlines on the gridiron, but the Maroon and Gold have quietly qualified for a bowl game.  The fellas try to see if better things might come for the Gophers down the regular season stretch.  And the Big Ten has decided to play some Friday night football games (starting next season).  Is it a good idea?

 

Vikings Running Into Some Rough Waters

Segment 3: After riding high into the bye week, the Vikings have experienced a bit of a bump in the road.  Our hosts look at the team’s Monday night loss in Chicago.  What’s the biggest concern moving toward Sunday’s game against the Lions?

 

News From Across NFL Nation

Segment 4: What caused an NFL Network analyst to be suspended for six months?  The New England Patriots just keep on winning, despite a whirling dervish of player personnel moves (including the trade of LB Jamie Collins this week).  Plus, an old AFL rivalry gets some Primetime juice this Sunday.

 

Everything’s Rosie: WCCO’s Mark Rosen Chats with GDG

Segment 5: While hanging out during the Timberwolves game on Thursday night, our hosts rubbed elbows with many of the local sports media.  That included WCCO-TV sports director Mark Rosen, who discussed his links to the Chicago Cubs, whether Ahmad Rashad will get into the Vikings’ Ring of Honor, the abrupt resignation of Viking OC Norv Turner, and if the Wolves can get into the playoff mix.

 

Piling Up Points, Winning Big, and Looking Away

Segment 6: The Wild are still putting up some points, but they still have some injuries to work through.  Eric and Larry tell us how key Zach Parise’s eventual return could be.  Then, was the Cubs’ first title in over 100 years the biggest thing to ever happen in Chicago sports history?  And the guys explain the potential pitfalls of social media.

 

 

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Eric Nelson

SPORTS NUGGETS: On Halloween night, Chicago’s Midway Monsters make Minnesota look scary

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By Eric Nelson
November 1, 2016
GAMEDAY GOLD

 

MINNEAPOLIS – Sports Nuggets from the home of Wheaties…

 

•Haunting Performance: On Halloween night in the Windy City, Chicago’s Midway Monsters turned Minnesota into a scary looking team. Bears quarterback Jay Cutler carved up the Vikings like a pumpkin (252 yards and 1 touchdown pass), RB Jay Howard gashed them on the ground (153 yards and 1 TD) and the Bears defense dominated the Vikings offense. Chicago (2-6) won convincingly 20-10 and suddenly Minnesota (5-2) looks very ordinary…

•Purple Problems: In the last two games Philadelphia and Chicago overpowered Minnesota’s “soft” offensive line and shut down the Vikings on the ground and in the air. The Eagles and Bears have designed a template on how to exploit Minnesota’s weak spots. Look for future opponents to do the same…

•Newton’s Law: Carolina’s Cam Newton has every right to complain about lack of protection from NFL referees. In an era where defensive players are flagged just for breathing on a quarterback, Newton is the exception. Newton is a human punching bag who gets hit high and low in the pocket, yet penalties are never called. Just because Newton is a physical freak who looks like Superman (6-5, 245), does not mean he should be treated any differently than Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Russell Wilson or any other QB…

•Comical: I find it hilarious and hypocritical that many blame San Francisco QB Colin Kaepernick for the NFL’s declining television ratings. Kaepernick’s refusal to stand for the Star Spangled Banner, is his way of protesting racial oppression in the USA – which is a real and serious issue. Kaepernick is simply exercising his first amendment rights, the right to free speech – which is guaranteed by the Constitution. The same critics and detractors who rip him for this, are the same folks who cry about their second amendment rights whenever the topic of logical and sensible gun control comes up. It doesn’t add up…

•Patriot Games: After a convincing 41-25 win in Buffalo on Sunday, New England (7-1) is on top of the AFC East, and once again in prime position to make another Super Bowl run. NE has won 11 of the last 12 division titles and according to the Boston Globe, it’s been 15 years since the Patriots were swept by an East opponent…

•Good Theater: FOX-TV’s pre and post-game show for the World Series has put together analysts Alex Rodriguez, Pete Rose and Frank Thomas, along with host Kevin Burkhardt. The combination clicks and despite all the baggage A-Rod and the Hit King have, these guys know baseball…

•Self Hook: According to the Chicago Tribune, Cubs P Jon Lester pulled himself from Sunday’s World Series game after six innings because he wasn’t, “pitching like an ace.” Chicago manager Joe Maddon wanted Lester to remain on the mound, but Lester did not want to return. That set the stage for fireballing closer Auroldis Chapman to record an eight-out save as the Cubs won 3-2. The Indians lead the WS 3-2 and Game 6 is Tuesday night in Cleveland…

•Candid Cub: Give Lester credit for knowing his limitations and being blunt about the situation. Many athletes in the macho world of sports, would never have done something like that in similar circumstances…

•Spring Flings: The Minnesota Twins 2017 Grapefruit League schedule features 35 games (18 home, 17 road). The Twins home opener is at the CenturyLink Sports Complex in Ft. Myers, FL against the Tampa Bay Rays on February 24. The Twins then go across town for their first road game on February 25 at JetBlue Park against Boston…

•Hoops and Pucks: Tuesday is the first night this season when the Minnesota Timberwolves and Wild play home games at the same time. The Wolves host Memphis in their home opener in Minneapolis and the Wild play Buffalo in St. Paul…

•End of an Era: Saturday was an emotional night at the National Sports Center in Blaine, MN. The New York Cosmos blanked Minnesota United 1-0, ending the Loons hopes of making the NASL playoffs. The crowd of 8,609 saw the final game at NSC Stadium after 25 years of professional soccer in the venue. Minn U moves up to MLS next March and will play games at TCF Bank Stadium before a new soccer specific facility is built in the Midway section of St. Paul…

National Sports Center - Blaine, MN

Soccer fans on a cool night in Blaine, Minnesota

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GDG rundown for the weekend of Oct. 28th-30th

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It’s a time for some new beginnings around the Twin Cities.  Some are exciting (Timberwolves start their season).  Some are unsettling (Vikings lose for the first time this season).  Some are still developing (Target Center renovations).  In this week’s program, broadcast from the Downtown Minneapolis studio, Eric and Larry cover it all, including an update on those renovations from the Wolves’ Chief Strategy Officer, Ted Johnson.  Plus, the guys pick their QB and discuss the World Series.

 

Spanning the Sports Landscape
Segment 1: The guys set up the show by looking back on the WNBA’ handling of the controversial end to Game 5 of the Finals, looking into the start of the NBA season, looking at the state of the state of Ohio, and more.

 

A First for This Season’s Vikings

Segment 2: The Vikings are human.  They couldn’t take advantage of the bye week, losing in Philadelphia last Sunday.  The fellas run through what went wrong for the Purple.  Is the growing list of injuries starting to take a toll on the team’s performance?

Minnesota Vikings RB Matt Asiata

Minnesota Vikings RB, Matt Asiata

 

A K.C. Feel & A Winning Vibe

Segment 3: The guys stoke the ego of their producer when they give some props to Kansas City sports.  Then, even though the Vikings couldn’t get to 6-0, how has this season’s start compared to some of the best years in the franchise’s history?

 

Ongoing Remodel: Ted Johnson Talks Target Center Renovations with GDG

Segment 4: The Timberwolves get to play their first regular season game under Target Center’s new scoreboard next week.  And the renovations continue in Downtown Minneapolis.  Ted Johnson, the organization’s Chief Strategy Officer, updates us on how the project is going to this point.

 

Signal-Calling Choices

Segment 5: Which quarterback would you rather have?  Eric and Larry make their choices from the trio of Sam Bradford of the Vikings, Carson Wentz of the Eagles, and Dak Prescott of the Cowboys.  And has Prescott made Tony Romo an afterthought in the Metroplex?

 

Title Droughts and TV Coverage

Segment 6: Oh, yeah.  There’s a World Series going on.  Our hosts look into the battle for a championship between two long-starved organizations.  How long has it been since the Chicago Cubs played in the Series?  Plus, what’s better viewing…FOX’s in-game broadcast or their FS1 studio crew?

 

 

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Gameday Gold Radio – November 3, 2016 – s.6

Piling Up Points, Winning Big, and Looking Away

Segment 6: The Wild are still putting up some points, but they still have some injuries to work through.  Eric and Larry tell us how key Zach Parise’s eventual return could be.  Then, was the Cubs’ first title in over 100 years the biggest thing to ever happen in Chicago sports history?  And the guys explain the potential pitfalls of social media.

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Gameday Gold Radio – November 3, 2016 – s.5

Everything’s Rosie: WCCO’s Mark Rosen Chats with GDG

Segment 5: While hanging out during the Timberwolves game on Thursday night, our hosts rubbed elbows with many of the local sports media.  That included WCCO-TV sports director Mark Rosen, who discussed his links to the Chicago Cubs, whether Ahmad Rashad will get into the Vikings’ Ring of Honor, the abrupt resignation of Viking OC Norv Turner, and if the Wolves can get into the playoff mix.

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Gameday Gold Radio – November 3, 2016 – s.1

If there was a week where anything could truly happen, this would be it.  Eric and Larry travel to Target Center for this edition of the show, and they try to explain the other-worldly event that is “Chicago Cubs: 2016 World Series Champions.”  One of our own spent some time in Chi-town this week, but it wasn’t a happy trip for the Vikings.  Has their good vibe already soured?  The guys talk plenty of NFL, the bowl-bound Gophers, and Friday Night Fever in the Big Ten.  Plus, the guys catch up with WCCO-TV sports director Mark Rosen.

And Another Curse Is Broken

Segment 1: To quote the great Vin Scully, “The impossible has happened.”  Our hosts break down how the Chicago Cubs overcame a 3-1 deficit to win the franchise’s first world championship in 108 years.  Just how many eyeballs tuned in for that wild Game 7?