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Eric Nelson

SPORTS NUGGETS: The X Games is X-treme fun

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By Eric Nelson
July 18, 2017
GAMEDAY GOLD
@Ericinminny44

 

MINNEAPOLIS – Sports Nuggets from the Sota sauna..

•Xtreme Fun: I had a chance to see the X Games on Sunday in Minneapolis and was impressed by the product. There was a cool vibe inside US Bank Stadium and the athletes on skateboards, BMX bikes and motocross cycles put on a spectacular show…

•Airborne: The final event of the X Games was punctuated by Colby Raha, who took gold in the Moto X quarter pipe. Raha can elevate better than Michael Jordan and thrilled the crowd with gravity-defying stunts. Three times Raha raced his 250 pound motorcycle up a steep ramp and soared into the air reaching heights equivalent to the upper deck of USBS…

US Bank Stadium interior - July 2017

US Bank Stadium plays host to the X Games – July 2017

•Sealed Up: The only caveat to the entire experience was being stuck inside a dome on a gorgeous July day. Temps outside were in the mid-80’s, but inside the Glass House it was air conditioned and sterile. The pivoting doors on the west side of USBS were even closed – which absolutely made no sense. Opening the doors would have at least brought in some natural air to part of the venue…

•The Sequel: If you didn’t go to the X games, or couldn’t get enough of the event, there is good news. The 2018 X Games are also in Minneapolis…

•Flashback: The Minnesota Twins will salute their 1987 World Series title team this weekend when they host the Detroit Tigers. Many of the ’87 Twins alumni are scheduled to appear…

•Major Legal: NY Yankees star Aaron Judge is a perfect fit for MLB’s all-time legal name team. Others include David Justice, Vance Law and Matt Lawton

•Power Ball: We all know about Judge’s prolific power at the plate (he leads MLB with 30 home runs), but the guy has a bazooka too. Judge threw out Minnesota’s Brian Dozier at home plate in Monday’s game with a one-hop strike from right field…

•Vanishing Breed: New Twins P Bartolo Colon is the last active MLB player to play with the Montreal Expos. Colon – who is in his 20th season – pitched for the Expos in 2002…

•Goodbye ‘Kato: The Vikings long-time marriage with Minnesota State is coming to an end. Next season the Purple will move training camp to the brand new Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center in Eagan, MN. That means this will be the 52nd and final year for Vikings camp in Mankato…

•No Surprise: The decision to leave Mankato is hardly shocking. Once the Vikings began building their state-of-the-art facility in Eagan, their days of camping in Kato were numbered…

•Soccer-Centric: Blaine, MN is the center of the soccer universe this week as the annual USA Cup is being played at the National Sports Center. The tournament began in 1985 with 69 teams but has ballooned to a global event. This year there are 1,168 clubs from 15 nations, 5 Canadian provinces and 15 US states…

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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
GAMEDAY GOLD
@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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Eric Nelson

SPORTS NUGGETS: The Minnesota Twins are MLB’s most unlikely success story this season

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By Eric Nelson
July 7, 2017
GAMEDAY GOLD
@Ericinminny44

 

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

•On the Rebound: The marathon MLB season has hit the halfway point. The surprise team so far is Minnesota. The Twins are 44-41 and just 1 1/2 games behind Cleveland in the AL Central. This is an epic turnaround from 2016 when the Twins finished with a 59-103 record and couldn’t see the first place Indians with a telescope…

•Tater Time: Monday’s home run derby in Miami has the potential to be a great show. With guys like Miguel Sano, Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton swinging for the fences, baseballs will be flying into orbit all night long…

•Ball Hawk: Twins broadcaster Dan Gladden was the LF ball boy for the LA Angels-Minnesota game on July 4 at Target Field. Gladden, who played on two World Series title teams for the Twins, is 60-years old…

•Changing of the Guard: I am not surprised Minnesota peddled Ricky Rubio to Utah. This was bound to happen. The Timberwolves were looking for greener grass in the PG pasture which is why they immediately signed Jeff Teague

•Playoffs or Bust: The future is now for the T-Wolves who look a lot better with the additions of Jimmy Butler, Taj Gibson and Teague. Minnesota hasn’t been to the NBA playoffs since 2004 and that has to change this season. The Wolves can only expect their loyal fan base to wait so long…

•Money Ball: This just in – Steph Curry now has more money than the San Francisco mint….

•Cashing In: Last week Curry signed a 5-year, $201 million contract with Golden State – the largest deal in NBA history. Truth is, the Warriors got Curry for a bargain. Golden State can’t pay the two-time NBA champ and two-time MVP enough. Curry is the new face of the NBA – an incredibly popular superstar who fills up arenas. Curry has raised the value of the Golden State franchise and his presence is one reason why the Warriors are getting a new waterfront arena in downtown San Francisco in 2019…

•Coast-to-Coast Popularity: Forget about the Dallas Cowboys, Chicago Cubs or New York Yankees, Golden State is America’s team. Thanks to Curry and his superstar cast, the Warriors are ultra-popular across the US…

•Off-Season Bounce: The NBA Draft and free agency has been more exciting than the just completed regular season and playoffs. The Association has been NFL-like with a knack for staying in the news cycle and garnering media attention…

•Purple Stars: My top five all-time Minnesota Vikings based on impact and production are – Alan Page, Chuck Foreman, Fran Tarkenton, Randall McDaniel and Randy Moss

•Oh My: ESPN the magazine has come out with its 2017 body issue. The group shot of the US women’s Olympic hockey team is my favorite photo…

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Scott Taylor

If They Get Through August, These Twins Will Compete

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Scott Taylor

By Scott Taylor

Twins take first two of July homestand…

MINNEAPOLIS – It was quite a July 4th Holiday for the Minnesota Twins. Not only did they win the first two games of a three-game series with the Los Angeles Angels, but they did it with all hands on deck.

The players who led the Twins to victory are the players you would suspect, but in the meantime, a couple of others that the organization has been waiting patiently for seemed to step up.

On Monday night, Adalberto Mejia won his third consecutive start, a 9-5 victory over a pretty decent Angels team (OK, not as good without Mike Trout, but still pretty good, nonetheless). Mejia (4-3, 4.32 ERA) gave up three runs on nine hits and a walk with five strikeouts. He threw 102 pitches and appeared to be ready to join Ervin Santana and Jose Berrios at the top of the rotation.

“It feels good to be able to hold a team like that,” Mejia said after the game. “I’ve been trying to go at least seven innings in my games and little by little it’s starting to happen.”

Joe Mauer hit a three-run bomb to centerfield while Max Kepler hit s line shot off the garden in right for a solo shot. Kepler had four hits and was the best player on the field. Brandon Kintzler shut down the Angels in the ninth to lock up the Twins 42nd win of the year.

On Tuesday afternoon, the Twins celebrated the holiday with a 5-4 win over the Angels to win the series. The story of the game was Byron Buxton. The Twins centerfielder entered the game hitting .197 and with three hits, including the eventual game-winning home run, he moved the dial to .206. Sure, it’s still lousy, but the fact is, he stole a base and made a tremendous catch against the centerfield wall on the first swing of the game.

Buxton could be a big league star if he could learn how to use his skills at the plate. He needs to bang the ball into the ground, bunt, beat out infield hits and simply use his legs. He easily stole a base after one single, turning a lead-off single into a double. He could be one of the Twins greatest if he could just  figure out how to get his legs involved in his hitting.

“I think he just has to remember during the game all the work he puts into his practice,” said Twins manager Paul Molitor, when asked about Buxton. “When you get in the game, you can’t be overthinking that thing. You just kind of have to let it fly.”

On Tuesday, Kyle Gibson (5-6, 5.82 ERA) was the “good” Kyle Gibson. He went 6.2 innings, allowing two runs on five scattered hits with two walks and four strikeouts. He threw 102 pitches before he was replaced by Taylor Rogers, who got a rude awakening from Albert Pujols, who hit his 12th homer of the year and the 611th of his career, 456 feet to straightaway centre.

The game was close, but Kintzler came on in the ninth once again, picked up his 22nd save of the season and lowered his ERA to 2.41. Perhaps the biggest snub of this All-Star season is leaving Kintzler out of the game. He might just be the best closer in the game.

At the end of the July 4th Holiday, the Twins were 43-40, just a game and a half back of Cleveland in the race for first in the Central Division.

Just two games into the second half of the season and the Twins are legitimately in the race. In fact, they’re tied with Kansas City and Tampa for the No. 2 Wild Card spot. If players such as Miguel Sano, Robbie Grossman, Eddie Rosario, Eduardo Escobar, Mauer and Buxton continue to play as well as they have, the light at the end of that ugly tunnel might not be an oncoming train.

Sure, it’s early. Sure it’s only the first week of July. Sure, Twins fans all expect the bottom to fall out of this thing at some point. But right now, a team that was 59-103 last season is three games over .500 and right in the thick of the Central Division race.

If things are the same by say, the last week of August, it might be time to conjure up thoughts of Kirby Puckett, Jack Morris and Kent Hrbek. Until then, it’s just fun to watch a young team with some very interesting players try to convince itself that it’s good enough to hang on.

 

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GDG rundown for the weekend of June 23rd-25th

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This weekend is a dream come true for kids realizing the dream of becoming a professional athlete.  Some day, a couple of kids may become the next Eric and Larry.  For now, though, let’s enjoy them broadcasting from the Downtown Minneapolis studio.  They look into the present (Twins fall out of first) and future (Wolves draft includes trading for Jimmy Butler; NHL gets ready for their Vegas experiment) of sports.  They also get perspective on the MLB season from Seattle Mariners broadcaster Dave Sims.

Wolves Snap Up an All-Star on Draft Night

Segment 1: The Timberwolves made waves before they even got involved the NBA Draft.  The fellas look at the team’s draft-night trade for Chicago star Jimmy Butler.  Does this turn the young, dynamic duo of Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins into Minnesota’s version of a “Big Three”?

 

Twins Take a Step Back

Segment 2: The AL Central has stayed tight, with the Twins now in a position they haven’t experienced since mid-May…chasing.  The guys look at another head-scratching homestand for the team.  Can they stay in the chase for the postseason…or the division?

 

Can’t Take the Heat?  Try a Little Ice.

Segment 3: We know it gets hot in the American Southwest, but even this week has been ridiculous.  Eric and Larry discuss the record-setting heat wave across (and beyond) the Desert.  Then, are the Vegas Golden Knights going to be good for the NHL?

 

More Draft Night Repercussions

Segment 4: Our hosts circle back to the Thursday night trade between the Timberwolves and the Bulls.  Did Chicago do better than people may think after getting Zach LaVine and Kris Dunn?  And have things turned upside-down for pro hoops in L.A.?

 

Seattle Sensation: Dave Sims Chats with GDG 

Segment 5: Dave Sims has one of the most recognizable voices in sports broadcasting.  He was in town this week as the Mariners visited the Twins.  He sat down with Larry to talk about the effort to get more African-Americans into the sports. Plus, what’s it like seeing one of the best MLB teams in the Houston Astros?

 

Some of the Sports World’s Not-So-Stellar Moments 

Segment 6: The guys go through some controversial stories in this segment, including Yasiel Puig’s latest dustup and the potential pitfalls from drinking Kombucha tea.

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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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GDG rundown for the weekend of June 16th-18th

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The skies cleared up to provide beautiful conditions for a ballgame.  Eric and Larry took advantage of that to broadcast this week’s show from Target Field.  Of course, the Twins are front and center right now.  We hear about their continued success and the odd way they’ve sustained it.  Which teams were crowned Stanley Cup and NBA champions?  Then, Vikings mode kicks into gear.  We hear from QB Sam Bradford, WR Stefon Diggs, and DE Everson Griffen as the team gets back on the field.  Then, Viking legends will soon be honored and Lynx stars are piling up the recognitions.

Road-Dog Twins Look for More Bite at Home

Segment 1:  The Twins are back in town after another successful road trip.  But did the home woes continue?  The guys talk about the team’s perplexing home/road splits, including an offensive showcase from Tuesday night.

 

Title-Worthy Teams

Segment 2: The NHL and NBA finished their respective seasons earlier this week.  Our hosts recap Pittsburgh’s repeat as Stanley Cup champions.  Then, they wrap up Golden State’s return to the top of the NBA mountain.  Could the Finals trilogy have a fourth installment next year?

 

A Diss?  A Taste.  An Anxious Feeling?

Segment 3: Now that the Warriors are NBA champs, will they make that annual trip to the White House?  After that, the fellas explain the growth and impact of the Taste of the NFL.  And is Minneapolis ready to host their second Super Bowl?

 

Back in the Swing: GDG Talks with Members of the Vikings

Segment 4: Speaking of the NFL, the smell of Mini Camp is in the air.  Larry sat down with a trio of Vikings (Sam Bradford, Stefon Diggs, and Everson Griffen) as they get the wheels in motion preparing for the 2017 season.

 

Purple Pride for the Newest Ring of Honor Inductees

Segment 5: There will be two new members of the Vikings Ring of Honor.  Randy Moss and Ahmad Rashad will be inducted this season.  Eric and Larry describe the impact of these two legends on the field.

 

Lynx Keep on Rollin’

Segment 6: The Lynx continue their torrid start.  The guys tell us about the team’s motivation, as well as some well-earned accolades for a couple of team members.  Plus, the Twins host their first-ever Draft Party.

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GDG rundown for the weekend of June 9th-11th

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The heat is coming to the Upper Midwest, but not before the “hot-takes” that Eric and Larry give during this week’s program.  They’re reunited in the Downtown Minneapolis studio to discuss all sports.  The Twins continue to lead the A.L. Central.  GDG’s Tom Tuttle joins our hosts to see if that can last.  Are the NBA Finals creating intrigue for the league?  A Packers player hitched a ride to Green Bay, thanks to a couple of fans.  And some legendary sports names make it on to the show…but not as guests.

Turning the Heat Up

Segment 1: It might not officially be Summer, but this weekend will definitely feel like it.  The guys prepare for the weekend heat.  After that, they get into a little soccer action, with MN United beginning play in the 2017 U.S. Open Cup this weekend.

 

The Anti-Climactic Culmination of the NBA Postseason?

Segment 2: The NBA Finals gave us the matchup we all wanted to see.  But did it come at a price?  Is the Association suffering from a lack of competition to Golden State and Cleveland?  Our hosts offer their differing opinions.

 

The Kindness of Strangers

Segment 3: A Green Bay Packers cornerback gave some thanks to a couple of local fans after they drove him from MSP Airport all the way to Lambeau.  Then, Larry & Eric regale their own stories of using alternate plans after initial travel arrangements fell through.

 

GDG’s Tom Tuttle Discusses the Twins’ Rise

Segment 4: So, how are the Twins keeping it together as we roll into June?  And how long can they keep up their first-place ways?  The guys welcome in GDG’s Tom Tuttle to discuss what the Hometown Nine can do to stay on top of the division.

 

Famous Names with Bits of Infamy

Segment 5: Eric and Larry get into some controversial, outspoken figures in this segment.  What makes Charles Barkley so polarizing to many?  What could we expect when Al Pacino plays the late Penn State football coach Joe Paterno in an upcoming movie?  And Oklahoma football coach Bob Stoops steps away from the sideline.

 

A Heroic Act, Another Draft Party, & A Well-Received Return

Segment 6: Former World Series hero Luis Gonzalez became a real-world hero last week.  The Twins are getting set to host their very first MLB Draft party.  Plus, Vikings coach Mike Zimmer returns to the team after his latest eye surgery.

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GDG rundown for the weekend of June 2nd-4th

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If it’s early June, then it’s time for our hosts to part…temporarily.  Eric is in the Downtown Minneapolis studio this week, while Larry is out in Oakland to cover the NBA Finals.  The guys take a look at Game 1 of the series, which turned out well for Golden State.  They also dive into the sudden popularity of the dynamic Warriors, and we hear Game 1 reaction from Cavs forward Kevin Love and NBA.com writer Steve Aschburner.  But it’s not just about hoops.  GDG’s Scott Taylor joins the proceedings to break down the first two games of the Stanley Cup Final.  Plus, the Twins and Lynx hope to continue their winning stretches as they both head West over the weekend.

A Lopsided Start to the Finals

Segment 1: The 2017 NBA Finals got underway on Thursdaynight.  Larry is out in the Bay Area covering the series, and he & Eric dissect Golden State’s convincing victory in Game 1.  How historic is the run that the Warriors are on?  And how much does the “revenge” factor play in this series?

 

The Warriors Come Out to Play

Segment 2: The fellas continue to chat about the Finals.  Specifically, they focus on the impact that this successful Warriors run has had on the city of Oakland (and how the city has embraced that team).  Plus, why has Stephen Curry been the centerpiece for this team’s rise in popularity?

 

Penguin Power: Scott Taylor’s Take on the Stanley Cup Final

Segment 3: It isn’t just the NBA that’s playing its championship series.  GDG’s Scott Taylor joins the program to break down the first two games of the Stanley Cup Final.  How did Pittsburgh hold their own at home, despite being behind on so many stats?  And how good of a story is Penguin rookie and Woodbury native Jake Guentzel becoming?

 

The Ice Stretches Further South

Segment 4: The conversation stays on pucks as Scott Taylor sticks around for another segment.  How did Pittsburgh and Nashville get to a place where they are Stanley Cup contenders?  How important has the NHL Draft been in building not just these two rosters, but other contenders over the past decade?

 

NBA Finals Reaction from Kevin Love and Steve Aschburner

Segment 5: Larry got a chance to catch up with some well-known names after Game 1 of the NBA Finals.  Former Timberwolves star Kevin Love tells us how his Cavs can rebound after going down 1-0.  Then, former Star Tribune reporter Steve Aschburner (now a writer for NBA.com) talks about if a tight Finals might make up for a rather lackluster Playoffs, to this point.

 

The Twins and Lynx Hit the Pacific Coast

Segment 6: Larry isn’t the only local entity out West this weekend.  The Twins are also in California, taking on the Angels.  Can they get the bad taste out of their mouths due to a sweep by the Houston?  Eric and Larry discuss how impressed they were by the team with MLB’s best record.  After that, the fellas look at the undefeated start for the Lynx.  Are they in a similar position, roster-wise, to the NBA’s Warriors?

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Eric Nelson

SPORTS NUGGETS: Astros-Twins is a tale of two top prospects

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By Eric Nelson
May 30, 2017
GAMEDAY GOLD

MINNEAPOLIS – Sports Nuggets from the home of Gold Medal Flour...

•Prized Prospects: There are plenty of good angles in this week’s Houston-Minnesota series that is a battle between two first place teams. One is the comparison of Astros SS Carlos Correa and Twins CF Byron Buxton. Correa – the top pick in the 2012 MLB draft – is batting .309 with eight home runs, 30 RBI and three errors. Meanwhile Buxton – the second choice in the 2012 draft – is batting .194 with two home runs, eight RBI and one error. On Monday, Correa crushed a 430 foot home run for the Astros off Minnesota ace Ervin Santana

•Pure Power: In the same game, Minnesota 3B Miguel Sano smashed a 417 foot tater onto Target Field’s grassy knoll in center field. Left, center or right, Sano’s ability to hit long balls to all fields is impressive…

•7-11: There were plenty of fireworks in the Memorial Day game as Houston rallied to win 16-8. The Twins scored seven runs in the 5th inning and led 8-2 late in the contest. But, Houston erupted for 11 runs in the top of the 8th to stun Minnesota. The half inning was also interrupted by a brief 10-minute rain delay. The last time Houston had an 11-run inning was 1994 and it’s the first time ever the Astros have won when trailing by six runs entering the 8th inning…

•Amazing Astros: Houston clearly has the look of a potential World Series team. The Astros (36-16) have the top record in MLB and lead Texas and the LA Angels by 11 games in the AL West. With a galaxy of stars such as Correa, 2B Jose Altuve, CF George Springer and P Dallas Keuchel, Houston has the building blocks for a possible title run…

•Trending Up: After a sputtering start at the plate, Twins 1B Joe Mauer has slowly raised his average. Mauer is batting .289 and reached base seven times in Minnesota’s 15-inning loss to Tampa Bay on Sunday…

•Minnesota Marathons: The Twins last three games have been lengthy affairs. On Saturday, Minnesota knocked off Tampa Bay 5-3 in a 3 hour and 35 minute game. On Sunday, the Rays outlasted the Twins 8-6 in a 15 inning contest that dragged on for 6 hours and 26 minutes. Monday’s Astros-Twins slugfest took 3 hours and 44 minutes to play, which does not include the rain delay…

•Sparse Turnouts: Despite being on top of the AL Central, the Twins are 23rd out of 30 MLB teams in attendance. In 27 dates Minnesota is averaging just 23,119 fans per game…

•Basebrawl: Just a hunch, but I am guessing that Washington RF Bryce Harper and San Francisco P Hunter Strickland won’t be exchanging Christmas cards this year…

•Trailblazer: Kudos to the St. Paul Saints for saluting Ila Borders on Saturday in the Capital City. In 1997 while pitching for St. Paul, Borders became the first female player in minor league history. The Saints also gave out Borders bobblehead dolls to fans before their game against the Kansas City T-Bones…

•Goal-oriented: Minnesota United F Christian Ramirez is tied for third in MLS with eight goals. Ramirez scored the only goal last week in Minn U’s 1-0 win over Orlando City SC. After he scored, Ramirez celebrated with Loons HC Adrian Heath, who was unceremoniously dumped by Orlando City SC last July…

•Repeat Crowns: It doesn’t happen often, but there is a chance the NBA and NHL will have back-to-back champs in back-to-back seasons. Cleveland is trying to make it two straight titles in the Association and Pittsburgh is trying to repeat in the NHL and leads Nashville 1-0 in the Stanley Cup Finals…

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