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Eric Nelson

SPORTS NUGGETS: The Colorado Rockies and Minnesota Twins have flipped the script

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By Eric Nelson
May 17, 2017
GAMEDAY GOLD

MINNEAPOLIS – Sports Nuggets from the Minneapple....

•Turnaround Teams: Two of MLB’s early season surprises began a three-game series Tuesday night as Colorado knocked off Minnesota 7-3 in an interleague matchup in Minneapolis. After disappointing seasons in 2016, the Rockies (25-15, 1st place NL West) and Twins (19-16, 1st place AL Central) have flipped the script. Not many baseball pundits saw this coming because Colorado was 75-87 last season and Minnesota was 59-103…

•Rock Stars: Colorado’s top players are 1B Mark Reynolds (.317 batting average, 12 HR and 33 RBI), P Antonio Senzatela (6-1, 3.31 ERA) and P Greg Holland (17 saves). They are key cogs on a Rockies team that has baseball fans in the Mountain Time Zone excited about something besides the Denver Broncos..

•Ballpark Bargain: According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the Oakland A’s are selling monthly ballpark passes in June for $19.99. Detroit, Houston, Minnesota and Milwaukee have sold similar packages for much higher prices…

•Play Ball: The St. Paul Saints open their regular season Thursday night when they host the Gary SouthShore Railcats at CHS Field. Popular Saints P Mark Hamburger is back with the team. Hamburger had 12 wins in 2016, which was tied for first in the American Association…

•NCAA Snub: Someone please explain how the top-ranked Minnesota Gopher softball team can’t get a number one seed in the NCAA tournament? The Gophers (54-3, 25-game winning streak) should be opening the tournament in Dinkytown – instead of Tuscaloosa, AL where they play Louisiana Tech (37-22) on Friday. This omission is purely comical…

•NFL Snub: It’s as clear as the Montana sky that Colin Kaepernick is being blackballed. There are currently 111 quarterbacks in the NFL and Kaepernick is not one of them. The 29-year old Kaepernick – who started five seasons in San Francisco, had playoff success and took the 49ers to Super Bowl XLVII – can’t get a job. Meanwhile, Trevoyne Boykin, Case Keenum, Kevin HoganBryce Petty, Jake Rudock and other guys with far less accomplishments are in the league. There is clearly something fishy about this…

Colin Kaepernick

•NFL Politics: Of course, the roots of this exclusion go back to 2016 when Kaepernick took a stand by taking a knee during the star spangled banner. It was Kaepernick’s personal protest against police mistreatment of African-Americans. Kaepernick became a lightning rod, despite having no record and doing nothing illegal. All he did was exercise his constitutional right to free speech. Now Kaepernick is toxic and the league looks incredibly hypocritical because there are plenty of guys with rap sheets who are playing…

•Seattle-Bound: According to the Seattle Times, Seahawks HC Pete Carroll is exploring the possibility of bringing in Kaepernick or Robert Griffin III to back up Russell Wilson. If Kaepernick does get another chance it will probably be with someone like Carroll, who lets his players express emotion and opinion as long as they produce…

•Saluting Sylvia: Congrats to Minnesota Lynx star Sylvia Fowles, who will have her number 34 jersey retired by LSU this season. Fowles was an All-America player for the Tigers and is a three-time Olympic gold medalist. Seimone Augustus – who also plays for the Lynx and went to LSU – already has her number 33 jersey retired by the Tigers…

September 24, 2015: Minnesota Lynx Slvia Fowles (34)

•Rare air: Fowles will become the 12th LSU athlete or coach to have his/her jersey retired, which includes Pete Maravich and Shaquille O’Neal

•Splitsville: ESPN is breaking up Mike and Mike. Beginning in 2018 Mike Golic and Mike Greenberg will have new roles with the network. I say boo to this. Mike and Mike have been a solid tandem since 1998. They mix information with entertainment (infotainment) and it works. They are critical without being personal and they don’t have egos so big they need zip codes like other folks in the broadcasting business. If it isn’t broke why fix it? ESPN whiffed on this one…

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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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