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GDG rundown for the weekend of July 21st-23rd

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We’re hitting the peak of Summer, meaning all kinds of sports discussion is out there to be had.  Eric and Larry grab hold of some of it and deliver it to us from the Downtown Minneapolis studio.  The Twins are remembering a glorious past, while trying to make something of the future.  GDG’s Tom Tuttle talks with the guys from the Thursday night event honoring the 1987 World Series Champs.  Everyone also has their take on the current version of the team.  The Vikings will close a chapter in their history over the next few weeks.  Plus, the guys dig into the Lynx, the Wolves, the red-hot L.A. Dodgers, and many other items around the world of sports.

A Winning Attitude…From Development to Execution

Segment 1: It’s the heat of Summer, but nothing seems to be hotter than the headlines in the NBA.  The guys look ahead to what the Wolves can expect from the new-look roster and digs this Fall.  Could there be a connection between hosting a Super Bowl and potentially hosting a World Series months later?  And the Lynx continue to pile up the wins.

 

A Legacy Showing Some Dominance

Segment 2: It’s the heat of Summer, but nothing appears to be hotter than the Los Angeles Dodgers.  Eric and Larry discuss the rolling train that is the best team in MLB.  And the rest of the NL West’s contenders aren’t too shabby.  After that, can the Twins continue to stay in the division race?

 

Vikings Gear Up For Last Go ‘Round in Mankato

Segment 3: It’s the heat of Summer, which means Training Camp talk couldn’t be hotter (OK, I’ll stop now.)  It’s almost here, and it’ll be a bittersweet one for the Vikings.  Our hosts discuss the impact of the team’s last camp in Mankato.  They also explain how things have changed over the years.

 

X Makes Minneapolis the Spot

Segment 4: The Twin Cities went extreme last weekend with the X Games in town.  We hear more about the event’s inaugural run in the local market.  Next, the guys get back to Training Camp.  What goes through the minds of the players during this time of the year?

US Bank Stadium interior - July 2017

US Bank Stadium hosts the X Games – July 2017

 

GDG’s Tom Tuttle Looks Back on the 1987 Twins

Segment 5: This weekend, the Twins are celebrating the 30th anniversary of their first championship team.  They held an event to reminisce, and our own Tom Tuttle was there amongst all the revelry.  He joins the show to describe the event and give his thoughts on that special 1987 squad.

 

Controversial Questions Spanning the Sports Landscape

Segment 6: Is trouble surrounding Dallas Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott?  Is an afro keeping Colin Kaepernick from finding his way on an NFL roster?  What do the fellas think about all of the attention surrounding the O.J. Simpson parole hearing?  And will either of them drop everything to watch the upcoming Mayweather-McGregor fight?

 

 

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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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GDG rundown for the weekend of July 14th-16th (a.k.a. X-Games Weekend 2017)

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This week, we get a chance to breathe with much of the Sports buzz slowing to a whisper.  But there’s still stuff to talk about, and our hosts don’t take breaks.  Eric and Larry are back in the Downtown Minneapolis studio to chat about the MLB All-Star Game and baseball at the break.  And that’s not all they get to discuss.  There’s the cashflow of the NBA offseason, the best baseball stadiums around, and naming rights for a college hockey arena.  And they’re joined by GDG’s Scott Taylor, who gets to chat up some CFL, NHL, and the impacts of arbitration.

MLB Showcases Fun in the Sun

Segment 1: Major League Baseball celebrated the game this week, holding the 88th annual All-Star Game in Miami.  How did the American League’s victory square up this game’s history?  Then, Eric and Larry reminisce on the influence of Latin ballplayers, including former Twins legend and MLB Hall of Famer Rod Carew.

 

Baseball’s Best and the Game’s Popularity Struggles

Segment 2: At baseball’s break, the L.A. Dodgers and the Houston Astros are the talk of the sport.  Are these teams destined to meet in the World Series?  After that, is the lack of a clock hurting baseball in this modern age of gadgets and shorter attention spans?

 

The Best Views and the Stars Shine Bright

Segment 3: With our minds on baseball, why not look at the favorite ballparks around the nation.  The fellas discuss one list of the best in the U.S., then explain their feelings for certain venues.  And the annual ESPYs took place on Wednesday.  We hear about some of the winners from the most glamorous night in Sports.

 

GDG’s Scott Taylor Offers Some Maple Leaf Love

Segment 4: Football may not be going on in the States, but it has started north of the border.  GDG’s Scott Taylor checks in from this week’s matchup between the Toronto Argonauts and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.  He talks with the guys about the popularity of the CFL and its comparison to the NHL.  Plus, can Canadian son Andrew Wiggins be on the verge of leading a great team?  And what might the impacts be of Mikael Granlund’s arbitration case?

Winnipeg Blue Bombers vs. Toronto Argonauts

Winnipeg vs Toronto Argonauts during CFL action in Winnipeg on Thursday, July,13,2017. (Photo Credit Jeff Miller)

 

When Business and Sports Collide

Segment 5: Eric and Larry piggyback off of the arbitration discussion that Scott Taylor brought up.  What happens when egos this big clash over dollars?  Then, could Carmelo Anthony help Houston create another “superteam”?

 

The Name’s the Thing

Segment 6: There’s something new about the Gopher hockey team.  Our hosts talk about the new name and sponsorship of Mariucci Arena.  Sticking with the U of M, can P.J. Fleck find an advantage over at TCF Bank Stadium?  Plus, we hear about the Mayweather-McGregor hype tour and the U.S. Women’s Open crossing paths with President Trump.

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Twins among MLB’s surprise teams

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By Larry Fitzgerald
July 13, 2017
GAMEDAY GOLD

 

An old cliché that has stood the test of time is “It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish.” With this in mind, look at the two best teams in baseball as we have reached the mid-summer classic.

The Los Angeles Dodgers are on fire with the best record in the big leagues, 61-29, winners of 26 of their last 30 games. Pitching ace Clayton Kershaw is 14-2 — that’s tops in MLB.

Rookie sensation Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees with 30 home runs is the talk of baseball. The slugger has hit several long home runs. For a franchise with a history of legendary sluggers, the buzz has many dreaming and comparing him already with the past greatness of Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Reggie Jackson, Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle.

Houston has the best record in the American League, 60-29, with a 16-game lead in the AL West. The Dodgers are 39-11 at home and are +163 in runs scored. The Astros are +162 and 33-11 on the road. Both the Dodgers and Astros are clearly playoff-bound.

The 2017 All-Star Game is in Miami, Florida. The 45-43 Twins are two and half back of Cleveland in the AL Central and have three All-Stars this year. Third baseman Miguel Sano has carried this team; he leads the team with 21 home runs and 61 RBI.

Ervin Santana, 10-6, has been lights out, the ace of the staff. His ERA is 2.99 and he leads the Majors with four complete games. Closer Brandon Kintzler has 22 saves, among the best in baseball. Joe Mauer leads the team with seven game-winning RBI. His back has flared up on him, and he is currently on the disabled list.

With 30 teams in MLB and only 12 of those having winning records, the fight for the playoffs will be the story of the season’s second half.

I would like to see some of the teams that were expected to be in the playoffs play better, like the Chicago Cubs, who won 103 games last year and the World Series. So far they have been a major disappointment, 5½ games back of Milwaukee in the National League Central.

We have a long way yet to go, and I pointed out, it’s not always how you start but how you finish. However, some teams have dug some deep holes to climb out of in the second half. Just five teams in the National League have winning records. The Cardinals, Pirates, Blue Jays, Texas and Baltimore have not played consistently this year.

The Twins will have a chance to stay in the race in the second half; however, they need Mauer back healthy.

Pitching and defense have carried them so far. Young Jose Berrios is 8-2 and looking good. He and Santana give the Twins a solid one-two punch at the top of their starting rotation.

 

Larry Fitzgerald can be heard weekday mornings on KMOJ Radio 89.9 FM at 8:25 am, on WDGY-AM 740 Monday-Friday at 12:17 pm and 4:17 pm, and at www.Gamedaygold.com. He also commentates on sports 7-8 pm on Almanac (TPT channel 2). Follow him on Twitter at FitzBeatSr. Larry welcomes reader responses to info@larry-fitzgerald.com, or visit www.Larry-Fitzgerald.com.

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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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Thomas U. Tuttle

Twins at the Break…

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by Thomas U. Tuttle

Major League Baseball is now past the halfway point, with most teams having played well over half of their 162 game season. The Mariners and Rays have played 90 while the Angels have played 92. The Minnesota Twins are at 88, with a two-game losing streak heading into the All Star break while still a couple of games over .500 at 45-43.

The record would be good news, or at least better news, if the team wasn’t stumbling around the past 12 games or so (5-7), and revealing the overall pitching weakness that has plagued this club – for several years. With the starting pitchers, it is largely the same old story, with Ervin Santana consistently tough, followed by an emerging Jose Berrios, and then nothing but question marks among the starters.

In the final game of the first half against the Baltimore Orioles, starter Kyle Gibson reverted to the sorry pitcher he’s been for the past couple of years in self-destructing while unable to emerge from the fifth inning. Talk about a “head case” – – Sigmund Freud wouldn’t have a chance with this kid. Manager Paul Molitor is trying (watch the video of his intense mound communication during Gibson’s last outing), but remains frustrated by the lack of consistent performance from the talented, underperforming Gibby.

Now Minnesota has signed Bartolo Colon, the 19 year veteran who I wrote about in my book State of the Game when he was with the Cleveland Indians (of Jim Thome, Omar Vizquel and CC Sabathia) 16 years ago. I remember asking Twins utilityman Denny Hocking that year who was the toughest pitcher he had faced in the Big Leagues, and he replied without hesitation “Colon.” Well, that was then and this is now…

Forty-four year old Bartolo isn’t getting guys out throwing the hard (98 mph) heat like he used to. And while he has had success the last couple of years, it’s been while throwing all kinds of off-speed stuff with exceptional control (among the lowest ratio of walks to innings pitched over the past three years).

Former hard-thrower Phil Hughes now has to dink around like that, with limited success, but it says here we need to give Colon a chance. Why? Because it has come to that! Despite his failures (2-8) in Atlanta this year, the veteran will get a chance here – I can assure you of that!

And I respect the front office – Derek Falvey and his people – for being willing to take a small chance on something that could help this season. They obviously didn’t sign Colon for the future.

After last year, it has to be considered an upside surprise that the Twins are over the .500 mark (just as the World Champion Chicago Cubs offer the downside at a disappointing two-games-under…). But it does feel like things could be better, and that has led to Molitor’s belief that his squad has another gear that it should be able to access in the second half. Of course, that remains to be seen, especially with the pitching.

“We’ve been searching to round out the rotation,” said Molitor on Sunday, realizing that what he has are green prospects, injured veterans like Hughes and Hector Santiago, with shakiness sprinkled in here and there.

The manager has lost some patience with former top-pick Gibson; “The pace of the game today was terrible. It was hard to watch.” And as for his starter walking the first hitter on four consecutive pitches, Molitor said “that kind of thing gets your attention right away.”

Expect Colon to get his opportunity shortly after the break. And cross your fingers that he can make a significant contribution. Berrios has rebounded from last year, and perhaps Bartolo can surge in the second half. Poor Mollie is running out of options, so if Colon could give them something and Adalberto Mejia and Santiago give the squad a little success, the improving offense should keep them in games.

And one more quick story… Yours truly was playing senior ball for the Apple Valley A’s back in the early 2000’s, competing against some of the top old-guy teams in the state.
One day, down in Rosemount, we ran into former Twins reliever Juan Berenguer in a contest where the almost 50-year-old was still bringing it. Our squad agreed that he was surprisingly tough with a good mix of pitches.

I think he was selling Lincolns and real-estate, which he is still doing, but he was still playing. Mixing it up and gritty, too, for seven innings. Rather impressive, the great baller still playing for the love of the game.

Colon came to Minnesota rather than the Mets, it is said, because he wants to win now – his final shot. It’s not about the money at this point, winning is the thing. Hopefully he and his buddy Ervin Santana can motivate and rally Minnesota’s inconsistent starting staff.

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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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GDG rundown for the weekend of July 7th-9th

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The baseball season is reaching its intermission.  Before that, Eric and Larry get out to the ballpark to take in a game.  They broadcast this week’s program from Target Field, just moments after the weekend series opener between the Twins and Orioles.  The guys dive headfirst into the Twinkies and their ability to hang around the top of the division.  They also get an outside perspective from Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Palmer.  Along with talk about the Great American Pasttime, we’ll also hear some chatter on the Timberwolves’ offseason, a trip to a PGA Tour course, and a “get-back” win for the Lynx.

One Last Lunge Into the Break

Segment 1: The Twins will complete their final homestand before the All-Star Break, and they’ll still be in the hunt for a postseason spot.  But what does the first-half parity mean across MLB?  Plus, the fellas look back at the Midsummer Classic that changed everything.

 

Target Field - Minneapolis, MN

Major League Baseball in downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota

 

A Welcome Sight at Target Field

Segment 2: A local legend made it back to the Twin Cities this week.  Eric and Larry discuss Rod Carew’s return to Target Field for the first time since receiving a heart transplant.  After that, Larry tells us about the vacation he took to West Virginia’s famed Greenbrier Resort (home to this week’s PGA Greenbrier Classic).

 

Central Surprises…Good & Bad

Segment 3: The Twins aren’t the only Upper Midwest team turning heads this season.  Our hosts peek toward the shores of Lake Michigan, where the Milwaukee Brewers are the surprise leaders in the NL Central.  But the question in that division…what’s happened to the defending champion Cubs?

 

NBA Wheeling and Dealing in Full Effect

Segment 4: After the guys give their thoughts on Miami hosting the All-Star Game, they turn to the NBA.  Have the Timberwolves acquitted themselves well with the additions they’ve made to the roster (Jimmy Butler, Jeff Teague, Taj Gibson)?  And they’re not the only team making moves in the Association.

 

Coming Up Aces: GDG Chats with Hall of Fame Pitcher Jim Palmer

Segment 5: The Baltimore Orioles are making their lone trip to Minneapolis this weekend.  It didn’t start very well as they lost the series opener on Thursday.  But why have the O’s struggled after a hot start?  The guys find out when they chat with color analyst and MLB Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Palmer.  What are his impressions of the surprising Twins?

 

A WNBA Showdown in St. Paul

Segment 6: The Lynx made a statement, and got a touch of revenge, by beating defending WNBA champ Los Angeles on Thursday.  Will this bode well for the rest of the regular season…and beyond?

 

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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 30th – July 2nd

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The Timberwolves did some big-time shopping last week, ending up with one heck of a deal.  And what better place to find whatever you need than the Mall of America?  That’s where Eric and Larry were for Jimmy Butler’s introductory press conference.  They break down the impact that the trade could have on the roster.  Tom Thibodeau helps us understand the inner workings of the deal, while columnist Joe Cowley explains reaction surrounding Butler’s former team, the Chicago Bulls.  And former Viking Leo Lewis gives us a look at the effect of high school sports on a community.

Let’s Go to the Mall

Segment 1: The Mall of America was the center of hoops hope on Thursday, with the Timberwolves officially introducing Jimmy Butler to their roster.  The guys took in the event and pontificated on whether fandom hope can turn into playoff appearances.

Jimmy Butler at Mall of America June 29, 2017

Timberwolves welcome Jimmy Butler at Mall of America

The Next Move for the Wolves

Segment 2: So, now that the Wolves have their big-name veteran on the roster, what’s next?  The fellas discuss what the rest of the offseason may hold.  And how did the Wild fare over their draft weekend?

Leo Lewis Takes His Love of Athletics to the Classroom

Segment 3: Former Viking Leo Lewis is now bringing his leadership prowess to the next generation.  The current A.D. at Minneapolis North H.S. discusses his efforts to put an emphasis on community, education, and athletics.

Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times Describes the Other Side

Segment 4: We know how the Twin Cities is receiving the Jimmy Butler trade.  But what about Chicago?  Sun-Times columnist Joe Cowley looks at whether the Bulls made a smart decision and whether they have a defined direction.

A Victorious Reunion?  Tom Thibodeau Breaks Down the Butler Trade

Segment 5: If you want to know the how, what, and why of the Draft night trade for Jimmy Butler, why not talk with one of the men behind it.  We hear those answers from Timberwolves head coach Tom Thibodeau.  Plus, where does this leave the team in the pecking order of the chaotic Western Conference?

Keeping Up, Kicking Into Gear, and Kombucha Tea

Segment 6: The Twins are trying to stick around in the AL Central race.  Eric and Larry get a sense of where the team is as they wrap up a long road trip.  The first Vegas NHL roster is coming into focus.  Then, more controversy is following new Vikings WR Michael Floyd.

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Gameday Gold Radio – July 21, 2017 – s.3

Vikings Gear Up For Last Go ‘Round in Mankato

Segment 3: It’s the heat of Summer, which means Training Camp talk couldn’t be hotter (OK, I’ll stop now.)  It’s almost here, and it’ll be a bittersweet one for the Vikings.  Our hosts discuss the impact of the team’s last camp in Mankato.  They also explain how things have changed over the years.

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Gameday Gold Radio – July 14, 2017 – s.1

This week, we get a chance to breathe with much of the Sports buzz slowing to a whisper.  But there’s still stuff to talk about, and our hosts don’t take breaks.  Eric and Larry are back in the Downtown Minneapolis studio to chat about the MLB All-Star Game and baseball at the break.  And that’s not all they get to discuss.  There’s the cashflow of the NBA offseason, the best baseball stadiums around, and naming rights for a college hockey arena.  And they’re joined by GDG’s Scott Taylor, who gets to chat up some CFL, NHL, and the impacts of arbitration.

MLB Showcases Fun in the Sun

Segment 1: Major League Baseball celebrated the game this week, holding the 88th annual All-Star Game in Miami.  How did the American League’s victory square up this game’s history?  Then, Eric and Larry reminisce on the influence of Latin ballplayers, including former Twins legend and MLB Hall of Famer Rod Carew.

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Gameday Gold Radio – July 7, 2017 – s.2

A Welcome Sight at Target Field

Segment 2: A local legend made it back to the Twin Cities this week.  Eric and Larry discuss Rod Carew’s return to Target Field for the first time since receiving a heart transplant.  After that, Larry tells us about the vacation he took to West Virginia’s famed Greenbrier Resort (home to this week’s PGA Greenbrier Classic).

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Gameday Gold Radio – July 7, 2017 – s.1

The baseball season is reaching its intermission.  Before that, Eric and Larry get out to the ballpark to take in a game.  They broadcast this week’s program from Target Field, just moments after the weekend series opener between the Twins and Orioles.  The guys dive headfirst into the Twinkies and their ability to hang around the top of the division.  They also get an outside perspective from Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Palmer.  Along with talk about the Great American Pasttime, we’ll also hear some chatter on the Timberwolves’ offseason, a trip to a PGA Tour course, and a “get-back” win for the Lynx.

One Last Lunge Into the Break

Segment 1: The Twins will complete their final homestand before the All-Star Break, and they’ll still be in the hunt for a postseason spot.  But what does the first-half parity mean across MLB?  Plus, the fellas look back at the Midsummer Classic that changed everything.

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Gameday Gold Radio – June 23, 2017 – s.5

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?