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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: Chad Greenway’s trademark was consistent, solid production

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By Eric Nelson
March 8, 2017
GAMEDAY GOLD

MINNEAPOLIS -Sports Nuggets from the breezy Twin Cities.

•Solid Career: Minnesota Vikings, LB Chad Greenway was as dependable as a Maytag and as reliable as a sunrise. During his 11 seasons in Minnesota, Greenway played in two Pro Bowls, had 1,334 career tackles (4th most in Vikings history), 19 sacks and 11 interceptions. Greenway’s trademark was consistent, solid play. He wasn’t the flashiest player, just somebody you could count on each week. Greenway – who retired on Monday – grew up in South Dakota, played at Iowa and settled in Minnesota. He is the consummate Upper Midwest guy…

Chad Greenway sacks Cam Newton

Chad Greenway sacks Carolina’s Cam Newton -October 2013

•Coast to Coast: My favorite Greenway moment came in 2015 at TCF Bank Stadium against San Diego when he intercepted a Phillip Rivers, pass and huffed and puffed his way 91 yards for a touchdown. During the pick 6, Greenway had a convoy of Minnesota blockers who escorted him to the end zone…

•Good Fit: There is plenty of speculation about where former Minnesota RB Adrian Peterson might wind up. Just a hunch, but Seattle could be a good landing spot for AP. The Seahawks are one of the NFL’s top teams, but have not been the same since Marshawn Lynch retired in 2015. As good as QB Russell Wilson, and the Legion of Boom defense is, the Seahawks lost some swagger when Beast Mode left. AP might be able to give the Seattle running game a jolt…

•Classy Exit: Getting cut in the NFL can be a bitter and traumatic experience for some players. But not for WR Torrey Smith. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, when the 49ers cut Smith this week, he went on Twitter looking for an organization where he could donate his beds and tables. Smith also put up an Instagram post thanking everyone in the SF organization – including the 49ers front office, chefs, janitors PR department and equipment staff….

•Slippery Floor: I have been to three of the coldest games in NFL history, saw Minnesota and the LA Rams play in the Mud Bowl, was at a Raiders-Vikings pre-season game delayed by lightning, sat through a Super Bowl in a Miami monsoon, watched Minnesota and Iowa play in a Kinnick Stadium blizzard, and have seen the Twins play in rain, hail and snow. Now I have also been to an NBA game postponed because of weather. Monday night’s Portland-Minnesota match up was cancelled due to unsafe playing conditions. Because of mild temps, the ice under the court was melting and caused condensation on the floor. The game will be played in April…

•Cali Chaos: The NBA’s most dysfunctional team is the once powerful LA Lakers.  Jim and Johnny Buss were blocked last week in their coup d’é·tat attempt to remove sister Jeanie from her position as Lakers part-owner and president. Jeanie kicked Jim and GM Mitch Kupchak to the curb a couple weeks ago and replaced them with Magic Johnson

•Loss Angeles: This is bizarre stuff even for Hollywood. The Lakers have become a very public soap opera and lack the stability they had under Jerry Buss. The Lakers (19-45) are at the bottom of the Western Conference and have the second worst record in the Association…

•Ticket Update I: The Minnesota Twins are offering a new ticket option for the first two months of the 2017 season. The spring ballpark pass gives fans the ability to attend all games in April and May for just $99 – except for opening day. To purchase the new Spring Ballpark Pass go to www.twinsbaseball.com/springpass…

•Ticket Update II: According to StubHub, the cheapest ticket for Sunday’s first-ever MLS game in Minnesota is $19.98. Atlanta United plays Minnesota United at 4 pm at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis…

•Frozen Pitch: The forecast for Minneapolis on Sunday is 30 degrees with snow showers. We will see if the cold weather gives Minn U. an advantage over their fellow expansion team from Georgia…

•Popular in Portland: The Portland Timbers are one of the most successful franchises in all of MLS. The Timbers – who defeated Minnesota United 5-1 on Friday – have a passionate fan base. The Timbers season-ticket waiting list is 13,000 and the team is hoping to get approval for a $50 million expansion project at Providence Park. According to FOX Sports, the Timbers have sold out every regular-season and playoff home game since joining MLS, a streak of 108 games. Providence Park’s capacity is 21,144. The Timbers won the MLS Cup in 2015…

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