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Eric Nelson

SPORTS NUGGETS: It’s time for the Minnesota Twins to jump into the free agent pool

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By Eric Nelson
October 11, 2017
GAMEDAY GOLD

 

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

•Time to Commit: This is a critical off-season for the Minnesota Twins. The Twins arrow is pointing up and they have a young core of talent with building block players such as Brian Dozier, Byron Buxton, Miguel Sano and Jose Berrios. However, the Twins are not yet a polished product. They need another starting pitcher (preferably an ace) and have to improve their bullpen. Now is the time for owner Jim Pohlad to go all in and do whatever is necessary to make the team better..

•Upgrades Available: Historically the Twins do not chase marquis free agents. It is not in their DNA and there is no guarantee that forking out huge dough for someone will translate into post-season success. But, it is an avenue teams can use to get better, and it’s time the Twins travel down that road. Jake Arrieta (Chicago Cubs) and Yu Darvish (LA Dodgers) are the pitching plums on this year’s free agent market. Both will want multi-year deals for approximately $20-25 million per season. Both also can instantly become an ace in a rotation and sell tickets. It’s time for Minnesota to take the free agent plunge and sign an Arrieta or Darvish – the potential rewards outweigh the possible risk. Go for it Twins, the future is now…

•Closing Time: Another option is for Minnesota to pursue a lights out closer. The Twins could go after Wade Davis – who has been a key cog in the Cubs success. Davis’s price tag would not be as high as a Darvish or Arrieta, but he would bolster the Twins bullpen…

•Casualty List: With star players such as JJ Wattt, Odell Beckham Jr. and Travis Kelce all suffering major injuries this week, it’s another harsh reminder that pro football is a risky business. It’s also another reason why players should demand guaranteed salaries when negotiating the next collective bargaining agreement. Despite NFL efforts to make the game safer, players continue to go down like bowling pins…

•Hypocrisy: Too bad President Donald Trump and VP Mike Pence aren’t as focused on getting guns off the streets as they are on NFL athletes who take a knee. According to CNN, it cost taxpayers 250k for Pence to fly Air Force Two from Las Vegas to Indianapolis then to Los Angeles on Sunday. In a staged stunt, Pence showed up for the San Francisco-Indianapolis game, then left early because some 49ers did not stand for the star spangled banner…

•Just Asking: Cowboys owner Jerry Jones says any Dallas player who does not stand for the national anthem will be benched. The Cowboys next game is October 22 against San Francisco in Santa Clara, CA. If the entire team takes a knee, will Dallas forfeit the game..?

•Evergreen State Success: In this week’s AP college football top 25, Washington is ranked fifth and Washington State is eighth. According to the Seattle Times it’s just the third time the Huskies and Cougars have been in the top 10 simultaneously. This year’s Apple Cup game between Washington State and Washington is November 25 in Seattle, and could have playoff repercussions…

•Signature Win: Btw, that’s the same Washington State team that Minnesota knocked off in the 2016 Holiday Bowl. Despite that impressive outing, HC Tracy Claeys was kicked to the curb by the current Gopher regime who did not want him in Dinkytown…

•Soccer Honor: Minnesota United midfielder Kevin Molino is the MLS Player of the Week. Molino scored a goal and had an assist in Minn U’s 3-2 comeback win last week against Atlanta United in Georgia. Molino has seven goals and a career-high nine assists this season…

•Trending Up: This season’s WNBA playoffs drew an average of 9,596 spectators per game, the most since 2010 (10,822). The WNBA Finals between Los Angeles and Minnesota on ABC, ESPN and ESPN2 was the third most-watched Finals ever, averaging 559,000 viewers for the five-game series…

•Knight Time: Former Indiana coaching legend Bob Knight was in St. Paul last weekend for a Nike coaching clinic at the University of St. Thomas. Tommies HC John Tauer, Iowa State’s Steve Prohm and ex-NBA coach Mike Fratello were also at the clinic…

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Eric Nelson

SPORTS NUGGETS: Case Keenum makes his case for the Minnesota Vikings

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By Eric Nelson
September 27, 2017
GAMEDAY GOLD

 

MINNEAPOLIS – Sports Nuggets from the Bold North...

•Case Closed: Minnesota QB Case Keenum proved his skeptics wrong on Sunday with an outstanding performance against Tampa Bay. Keenum threw for 369 yards and three touchdowns in the Vikings convincing 34-17 win. Keenum was given plenty of time to throw by his purple people protectors on the offensive line, and was in sync with wideouts Steffan Diggs (8 receptions, 173 yards and 2 touchdowns) and Adam Thielen (5 catches for 98 yards). Keenum deserves all the accolades he is getting this week…

Vikings QB Case Keenum surveys the defense

Case Keenum surveys the Buccaneers defense

•Key Game: On Sunday Detroit (2-1) comes to Minnesota (2-1) for a crucial NFC North match up. The Lions swept the Vikings last season, which essentially kept the Purple out of the playoffs…

•Closed Doors: What’s the point of having pivoting doors at US Bank Stadium if they are rarely open? For Sunday’s Tampa Bay-Minnesota game at USBS the gigantic glass doors were shut. So what if it’s 90 degrees outside, let some natural air in the dome. The pivoting doors are a gimmick…

•Cowboy Unity: Of all the snapshots from the NFL’s week 3 protests, my favorite came on Monday night in Glendale, AZ before the Cowboys-Cardinals game. Dallas owner Jerry Jones took a knee with the Cowboys and then the entire team rose as one for the Star Spangled banner. It was a great show of unity and a remarkable pivot for Jones, who according to the Dallas Morning News, donated $1 million to President Donald Trump’s inauguration in January…

•Pop’s View: San Antonio Spurs HC Gregg Popovich went rip city on the POTUS this week, criticizing his recent comments about the National Anthem and not inviting Golden State to Washington DC to celebrate their NBA title. My response: You go Pop. This is one guy who gets it…

•Epic Day: Kudos to the University of St. John’s, St. Thomas and the Minnesota Twins for putting on a great show Saturday at Target Field. A whopping 37,355 fans showed up for Johnnies-Tommies – a single game NCAA D3 attendance record. There was plenty of energy in the venue and the game had a big-time feel…

•Dirt Ball: One of the cool visuals was seeing a gridiron with infield dirt and green grass. That used to be a common site when MLB and NFL teams shared facilities, but now is only seen in Oakland with the A’s and Raiders. This looked like a throwback game…

•Gotham Showdown: The Minnesota Twins are close to clinching the AL’s final wild card spot. If/when that happens, the Twins will face the NY Yankees in a one-game playoff play-in at Yankee Stadium. Historically the Yankees have been kryptonite for the Twins and have dominated them in the regular season and post-season. But, a one-game winner-take-all scenario is different than a best-of-five, or best-of-seven series. With Ervin Santana on the mound Minnesota has a legitimate chance to spring the upset…

•Evil Empire: Minnesota and New York have met four times in the playoffs (2003, 2004, 2009 and 2010) and the Yankees won each series. The Twins were swept twice and lost the other match ups 3 games to 1. New York has also whipped up on Minnesota in the regular season, posting a 78-31 record since 2002…

•Twins Turnaround: Minnesota’s remarkable rebound is one of the top story lines in MLB this season. Going from 59-103 in 2016 to a possible playoff berth in 2017 is amazing. Paul Molitor could be AL manager of the year, and 1B Joe Mauer and CF Byron Buxton could win gold gloves…

•Flash Back: In 1987 the Twins stunned all of MLB by winning the World Series. Now, 30 years later, the 2017 Twins are trying to do the same thing. Unlikely? Yes. Impossible? No. Could be an interesting October in the Land of Lakes…

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Eric Nelson

SPORTS NUGGETS: The Minnesota Twins have a trio of outfield talent

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By Eric Nelson
September 1, 2017
GAMEDAY GOLD

 

MINNEAPOLIS – Sports Nuggets from the Minneapple...

•Talented Threesome: There are many reasons why the Minnesota Twins are making a splash this season and three of them are in the outfield. LF Eddie Rosario (25 years old), CF Byron Buxton(23) and RF Max Kepler (24) are young, athletic and have plenty of upside. They can hit, catch, throw and run…

•Gap Coverage: Minnesota pitchers clearly benefit from having this trio roam the outfield. Rosario, Buxton and Kepler cover lots of ground. They routinely run down potential extra base hits in the gaps, or race in to catch would be bloop singles…

•Flashbacks: The Twins have not had an outfield this good since the “Soul Patrol” of Shannon Stewart, Torii Hunter and Jaque Jones, who played together from 2003-2005…

•Playoffs?: Apparently Twins Territory is not aware that their team has a legitimate chance of making MLB’s post-season. Target Field attendance for Tuesday’s Chicago White Sox-Minnesota game was just 20,530. On Wednesday the crowd was 21,172. Thursday’s match up drew 21,288…..

•Bidding Time: The Twins are doing their part to aid Hurricane Harvey relief in Texas. The Twins are holding a relief auction that runs through September 2. Items to bid on include, autographed cleats from Buxton, Kepler, Brian Dozier and Miguel Sano

•Giving Back: Minnesota United is also doing good things in the charity department. The Loons are hosting a back-to-school drive on September 9 before their match with the Philadelphia Union at TCF Bank Stadium. Supplies collected will be donated to St. Paul Public Schools – the district where Minn U’s future home, Allianz Field is being built. Fans who donate receive a buy-one-get-one ticket offer that can be used at the box office on the day of the Philadelphia match, or for either of the team’s last two games on September 23 against FC Dallas, or on October 7 against Sporting Kansas City…

•Raw Deal: There is plenty of hype surrounding new U of M football coach PJ Fleck – who could turn out to be a good hire. Of course, wins and losses will be the judge of that. That said, I believe Tracy Claeys did not get a fair shake from the Gophers and actually did a good job as HC…

•Claeys Data: For the record Claeys was 2-0 in bowl games and his Gophers were 9-4 last season. Minnesota’s Holiday Bowl win against Washington State in December was a signature win. Fleck is stepping into a good situation in Dinkytown. The cupboard is not bare and Claeys deserves credit for that…

•Fab Five: My top five NFL venues are … 1. Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City. 2. Lambeau Field, Green Bay. 3. CenturyLink Field, Seattle. 4. LA Coliseum. 5. Hard Rock Stadium, Miami…

•Shield Cathedrals: Arrowhead has incredible tailgating, cool architecture and fabulous gameday energy. Lambeau oozes history and is an NFL mecca. CenturyLink has a unique look, fantastic views of the Seattle skyline and is home base to Seahawk fans who shatter the sound barrier on a weekly basis. The Coliseum is an LA landmark that has plenty of tradition. Hard Rock’s new canopy protects fans from Miami monsoons and shields them from scorching South Florida heat, yet exposes the players to the elements…

•Stadium Criteria: Deciding on the top five stadiums was a challenge. There are plenty of fabulous facilities on the NFL map such as Paul Brown Stadium (Cincinnati), FirstEnergy Stadium (Cleveland), Heinz Field (Pittsburgh) and Levi’s Stadium (San Francisco). The only easy decisions were eliminating domes or retractable roof facilities. Blocking out the elements creates an artificial and sterile setting. Weather games usually garner huge television ratings because NFL Nation loves watching duels in the rain, ice and snow…

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Thomas U. Tuttle

A Few Thoughts on the Twins

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by Thomas U. Tuttle

Just when you think they are finished, wrapped up, cooked well-done and ready for slicing and dicing – here come the Minnesota Twins to surprise everyone but themselves! It’s been that way all year and has continued into the home stretch.

So here are a couple of thoughts on the 2017 season through late August:

* The fact that this Club is so resilient and determined makes it all the more difficult to accept the teams acquiring, and then jettisoning, a solid playoff run asset like Jaime Garcia – just the kind of accountable and tested starting pitcher a serious team acquires late in a contending season.

* It was also disheartening that new Twins management felt inclined to move closer Brandon Kintzler at the same time. The first time All-Star was having a solid year and seemed primed for a playoff push. His confident presence was also a big asset in the locker room/bullpen given Minnesota’s shaky reliever coterie.

* All of this has been hashed  over the past  few weeks, but the Boy Wonders (Derrick Falvey and Thad Levine) at the helm of the ballclub felt compelled to make moves that they believe will be beneficial to the future of the franchise. NOT the current squad. And that is a disconnect, according to one Twin, that speaks to disrespect.

* It’s the wait-till-next year attitude that has been around baseball for time immemorial. To essentially quit on a young team that has been entertaining – as well as competitive – for 100-plus games, well, that’s frustrated players, media, casual fans and season ticket holders alike.

* There is a powerful philosophy in baseball today that emphasizes Sabermetrics and cost-benefit analysis at the expense of baseball “feel,” if you will. It’s the old “Moneyball” philosophy first expounded by Bill James, executed (once) by Oakland’s Billy Beane, and accepted as Gospel by this new generation of baseball leadership.

* The Theo Epstein’s and Jed Hoyer’s of the world have dictated strategy to fellow leaders like Falvey/Levine, with the youth contingent coming out of  a mold that views baseball metrics as essentially infallible. One of the great moments at the 2017 SABR analytics conference was HOF lefty Randy Johnson shrugging at the onslaught of information and saying, “I just threw my best heat and let them try to hit it. Did pretty good, too, for a country boy.” Classic…

* The Twins do have the potential for one of the best outfields in baseball for years to come. Max Kepler is underrated and Byron Buxton is figuring things out and Eddie Rosario could really be a powerful star if he hits up to his capabilities. You have to appreciate some of the other guys, too, like Zack Granite who tore up AAA Syracuse en route to the Bigs.

* Miguel Sano needs to watch himself as he emerges into the star Miggy already believes that he is. While his batting practice boomers are reminiscent of David Ortiz, so too are the youthful weight challenges overcome by Big Papi in Boston. Ortiz was not a great player until he pushed himself to become a complete athlete and fulfilled his great promise.

* The Twins essential Latin American guys, along with the Clubhouse in general, have respect for manager Paul Molitor and appreciate his style, among other things. Mollie goes easy on players – up to a point. He demands accountability but doesn’t hound the player who is working hard and playing solid baseball despite adversity and occasional youthful mistakes.

* This team is Molitor’s and the Twins skipper was not done any favors by the braintrust that eliminated a couple of his weapons. It wasn’t intended as a slap in the face, but probably felt like one to a gentleman who has to wonder how he’s ultimately going to fit in with these new management guys, fellows who could be his kids. Suffice it to say that the first ballot hall-of-famer has youthful superiors who are still figuring things out.

* It’s been a great run, considering the starting pitching has been shaky all year and the bullpen generally worse. This team believes in itself despite everything and keeps playing entertaining baseball. Kudos to the squad for having that never-say-die attitude in the face of daunting challenges and roadblocks placed by the front office. It ain’t over until it’s over, though the fat lady will likely be singing soon.

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Eric Nelson

SPORTS NUGGETS: The Minnesota Twins best move with Brian Dozier was no move

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By Eric Nelson
August 22, 2017
GAMEDAY GOLD

 

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

•Status Quo: Sometimes the best move is no move. That is true for new Minnesota Twins bosses Derek Falvey and Thad Levine. Despite all the trade rumors swirling around 2B Brian Dozier, he is still wearing a Twins uniform – which is a good thing…

•Brian’s Song: It’s preposterous that Dozier was ever on the trading block. The guy is a cornerstone player and a key part of the Twins young foundation of talent. This season Dozier is batting .264 with 26 home runs, 71 RBI and 71 runs scored. He has also been solid defensively (just 4 errors in 534 chances) and is a leader in the clubhouse…

•Tater time: Dozier now has 143 career home runs, which is 10th on the Twins all-time list…

•Speed Thrills: Minnesota CF Byron Buxton has to be one of the fastest athletes in team sports. In a 100 meter sprint I would take Buxton over any of the Viking wideouts…

•Blair’s Revenge: It’s great that Seattle K Blair Walsh connected on a pair of 52-yard field goals last week against Minnesota and it’s great that Walsh apparently has his mojo back. Walsh even taunted his old team, gesturing to the Viking sideline after both kicks. But, the real test for Walsh will come in key regular season and post-season games. That’s when the kicks really count – not in the pre-season…

•Time Warp: According to ESPN.com, Atlanta HC Dan Quinn has a clock on his office wall with no numbers. Each of the 12 spots are replaced by the word “now,” reminding Quinn to stay in the moment…

•Dinkytown Depression: ESPN.com also ranked the happiest and most miserable college football fan bases. Minnesota is 107th on the list. Ohio State is number 1 and Texas State is last at 128…

•Long Trip: Rice and Stanford open the season on Saturday and it’s not in Houston or Palo Alto. Instead it’s in Sydney, Australia. For some odd reason the NCAA wants the Owls and Cardinal to travel to the other end of the globe to play a football game…

•Smart Move: Kudos to Notre Dame and Wisconsin for scheduling a home and home series. In 2020 the Irish and Badgers play at Lambeau Field in Green Bay and in 2021 they meet at Soldier Field in Chicago. It’s great to see teams play nonconference games with some juice…

•Badger Ball: Give Wisconsin credit, the Badgers usually face at least one power program in their non conference schedule. In recent seasons Wisconsin has played Alabama and LSU, and this year travels to BYU on September 16th…

•No DC for KD: No one should be surprised that Golden State’s Kevin Durant is not going to the White House if the Warriors are invited. Why go where you are not wanted or welcome? KD’s decision could open the flood gates for other athletes to ignore the polarizing POTUS…

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Eric Nelson

SPORTS NUGGETS: Imagine how good the Minnesota Twins would be if the front office actually tried to win

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By Eric Nelson
August 15, 2017
GAMEDAY GOLD
@Ericinminny44

 

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

•In the Mix: Imagine how good the Minnesota Twins would be if their front office actually acquired talent instead of trading away key players. Despite waving a white flag and becoming sellers in late July, the Twins have won seven of eight and are a half game behind the LA Angels for the AL’s final wild card spot…

•Rebound Season: Minnesota’s turnaround is one of the most remarkable MLB stories this season. In 2016 the Twins were 59-103, but this year they have bounced back in a big way. It’s mid-August and Minnesota has a legitimate chance to play post-season baseball. Paul Molitor is definitely in the running for AL manager of the year…

•Gold Rush I: Minnesota Twins CF Byron Buxton is a highlight waiting to happen. Buxton makes spectacular catches on a routine basis and covers more ground than a tarp. Buxton has already become one of MLB’s top defensive outfielders and has a chance to win his first gold glove…

•Gold Rush II: Twins 1B Joe Mauer could get a gold glove too. Mauer has been excellent in the field this season…

•Hall Call: OF Michael Cuddyer and GM Andy MacPhail will be inducted into the Twins Hall of Fame this weekend against Arizona. Cuddyer and MacPhail will become the 29th and 30th members of the team’s HOF. Cuddyer goes in on Saturday and MacPhail on Sunday…

•Intimate Gathering: Seattle and the LA Chargers played the first NFL game at the StubHub Center in Carson, CA Sunday night before a smallish crowd of 21,054. StubHub is the league’s smallest venue with a capacity of 27,000…

•Bad Sign: Granted it’s just the pre-season, but if the Chargers can’t fill up a boutique soccer stadium, then it means they are truly off the grid in So Cal. It’s not too late for the franchise to pack their bags, hop on I-5 and return to San Diego where they belong…

•Buyer’s Market: According to Vivid Seats, tickets for some NFL pre-season games are going for bargain basement prices. This week’s deals include, Baltimore at Miami ($3), Indianapolis at Dallas ($3), NY Giants at Cleveland ($3), Atlanta at Pittsburgh ($7) and Kansas City at Cincinnati ($8)…

•Wising Up: This is proof that NFL Nation actually gets it. Anyone who pays full freight for a meaningless exhibition game is throwing their money away…

•Sports Trifecta: There will be plenty of Minnesota-Seattle match ups in the next few days. On Wednesday the Lynx and Storm play a WNBA game at KeyArena in Seattle. On Friday it’s the Vikings and Seahawks in NFL pre-season action at CenturyLink Field. Then on Sunday, it’s Minnesota United against the Seattle Sounders in an MLS match at CenturyLink…

•On the Go: According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Golden State superstar Steph Curry has had a hectic off-season. Curry has gone to Hawaii, Los Angeles, North Carolina, Turks and Caicos, golfed at a celebrity tournament in Lake Tahoe and this week is hosting a tech summit in San Francisco…

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GDG rundown for the weekend of May 5th-7th

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You know?  There hasn’t been a ton of baseball talk lately, let alone optimistic baseball talk.  Eric and Larry convene at the Downtown Minneapolis studio this week to fix that.  They go heavy into diamond chatter, including a major dose of the Twins.  And you don’t just hear from them.  Third baseman Miguel Sano and center fielder Byron Buxton have their say.  Plus, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale offers his perspective on the team, the division, and some ugly incidents in Boston this week.  Oh, and our hosts also get to the NBA Playoffs, the NFL Draft, and revenge on the mind of a former Vikings star.

Not All Twins are Riding High

Segment 1: The Twins wrapped up another successful series, despite losing to Oakland on Thursday.  The fellas look back on the wins that Monday and Tuesday brought.  Plus, how will Kyle Gibson respond after his demotion to Triple AAA ball in Rochester.

 

More Diamond Talk

Segment 2: We haven’t had our share of baseball talk this Spring, so it keeps going into this segment.  The guys take a page from yesteryear when they compare Byron Buxton with center fielders from the recent past.  They also chat about some legends in the MLB press box.

 

NBA Playoff Smorgasbord

Segment 3: The NBA has reached the second round of the postseason.  How good has this generation’s Isaiah Thomas been?  Eric and Larry give their take on Boston’s point guard.  Is LeBron James primed to lead another title run and top the record books?  Then, there’s no nightlife in Salt Lake City?  The Warriors believe so.

 

The Young Bucks: GDG Talks with Miguel Sano & Byron Buxton

Segment 4: We get back into Twins talk, this time on a first-hand basis.  Larry got to ask a few questions to young stars Miguel Sano and Byron Buxton.  After the interviews, our hosts assess the progress of this roster that features a youthful core and some cagey veterans.

 

Around the League: Bob Nightengale Broadens Our Horizons

Segment 5: So, what does USA Today’s Bob Nightengale think of the Twins?  We find out when he joins the program.  Plus, we get his thoughts on the rest of the AL Central contenders.  And he was front and center for the tense series between the Orioles and Red Sox.  He explains the frenzy surrounding what happened to O’s center fielder Adam Jones.

 

A.P.’s Get-Back and A Drafty Chat

Segment 6: Adrian Peterson is licking his chops for a chance to take on his former team.  But will that opener versus the Vikings be a successful one?  After that, the guys recap the Vikings’ scorecard and other tidbits from last weekend’s NFL Draft.

 

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

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One thing’s for sure.  There’s a lot to discuss across the world of sports.  Eric and Larry bring the news from the Downtown Minneapolis studio to you, the listening audience.  The Wild are done earlier than expected.  The Twins have turned things toward the positive again.  GDG’s own Tom Tuttle joins the program to chat about both of those squads.  We get a different perspective with NFL Draft weekend underway.  The NBA Playoffs have some juicy storylines going as they head toward the second round.  Adrian Peterson finds a new backfield.  Will we hear anything on the status of Vikings QB Teddy Bridgewater?  Plus, it’s everyone’s favorite sport…Road Construction!

 

A Game Everyone Can Play…But Doesn’t Want To

Segment 1: There’s a new niche sport out there.  You may not know about it, but you’re an active participant.  Welcome to the stadium of…road construction!  Eric and Larry go through the trials and tribulations of roaming around the Twin Cities.  Plus, we hear a unique perspective about what happens to an NFL prospect after they get drafted.

 

Royal Blues & A.P.’s New Home

Segment 2: As the Twins head into Kansas City, we hear about some recent disastrous results coming from the Royals dugout.  After that, Adrian Peterson has found a job.  What does his signing mean for the New Orleans Saints?  Can the team from the Bayou get a boost back into playoff contention?

 

Hoops’ Second Season

Segment 3: The NBA postseason is winding down its first round.  Where does the league stand with Golden State and Cleveland resting up for their next opponents?  Does this intrigue you?  Are they in better position than the Stanley Cup Playoffs?

 

Wild Burial: GDG’s Tom Tuttle Recaps the Short Postseason Run

Segment 4: The Wild are out before they could get started.  The guys welcome in GDG COO Tom Tuttle as they pick up the pieces from the team’s disappointing first round playoff exit against St. Louis.  They also give their takes on current coach Bruce Boudreau and former coach Mike Yeo.

 

Tom Tuttle and the Guys Look Into the Twins’ Road Success

Segment 5: The Twins found some good swings in Texas after struggling at Target Field.  The GDG trio turn to the diamond to chat about the home nine.  What’s happened to Kyle Gibson?  Is Phil Hughes finding his old, successful form?  Can Byron Buxton ever get the bat going?  And how does the rest of the AL Central look?

 

A Curious Case for the Vikes

Segment 6: Almost eight months ago, Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater severely injured his knee.  Since then?  Who really knows?  Our hosts discuss the actual silence surrounding Bridgewater’s condition.  Then, they get back into their thoughts on everything surrounding the NFL Draft.

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Eric Nelson

SPORTS NUGGETS: The Minnesota Twins need a bounce back season

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By Eric Nelson
March 23, 2017
GAMEDAY GOLD

FT. MYERS, FL – Sports Nuggets from the southern tip of Twins Territory...

• On the rebound: The Minnesota Twins are hoping for a bounce back season in 2017. The Twins were historically bad in 2016 posting a 59-103 record and finishing 35 1/2 games behind Cleveland in the AL Central. Putting that debacle in the rear view mirror and not repeating it, is the team’s main goal this year…

• Spring Cleaning: Minnesota is busy prepping for the upcoming season here in the Florida Grapefruit League. The Twins are focused on fundamentals such as defense and base running, and are trying to put together a pitching staff that can elevate the franchise back into contention. Hope and optimism bloom in the spring like the lush, green SW Florida landscape. The Twins believe they will be better. Goodness knows they better be better…

• The Great Unknown: Plenty of questions are swirling around the Twins. Can Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano fulfill their potential? Can Phil Hughes and Kyle Gibson become solid starting pitchers? Can Brandon Kintzler be an effective closer? Will new school, sabermetric front office guys like Derek Falvey and Thad Levine micromanage every move of old school manager Paul Molitor? The answers will be revealed in the coming months…

• Off the Grid: Because of their woeful ways, there is little buzz about the Twins in the sports-saturated Twin Cities. They are getting lost in the shuffle. The only way to change that is to start winning ASAP…

• March Mellow: While NCAA March Madness whips the nation into a frenzy, Spring Training in Arizona and Florida continues at its own leisurely pace. One cool thing about the Cactus and Grapefruit Leagues is that games are played in smaller, intimate minor league venues. Fans often mingle with their favorite players and ticket prices are cheaper than the regular season…

• Saluting Dallas: The Twins defeated the Phillies 4-2 on Thursday in Clearwater, FL. Before the game Philadelphia paid tribute to former manager Dallas Green who died earlier this week. The 82-year old Green was the Phillies skipper when they won their first World Series title in 1980…

• Baseball Marriage: Philadelphia has definitely had more than a spring fling with Clearwater. The Phillies have been training in the city since 1947…

• Bolt City: Btw, Clearwater has more lightning strikes per capita than any city in the US. Clearwater is part of the Tampa Bay metro area which often gets hit by lightning. Guess it’s no surprise that the NHL team is nicknamed the Lightning…

That’s Creative: Ft. Myers is located close to the iconic Florida Everglades. So, the ECHL hockey team based in this city is known as the Florida Everblades…

• Spectacular Span: Going from Ft. Myers to Clearwater means traveling up I-75 to I-275 and crossing over Tampa Bay on the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. This spectacular span is the world’s longest cable-supported concrete bridge…

• Panoramic View: The apex of the SSB is 430 feet high. The Gulf of Mexico, Tampa Bay and Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg are all visible from the top…

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Eric Nelson

SPORTS NUGGETS: Despite low attendance, Adam Silver believes the Minnesota Timberwolves are trending up

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By Eric Nelson

February 1, 2017

GAMEDAY GOLD

 

MINNEAPOLIS – Sports Nuggets from Timberwolves nation…

•Crowd Counts: Despite winning seven of their last 10, crowds are not exactly flocking to Target Center to see the Minnesota Timberwolves. In 26 home dates the Wolves average just 13,871 fans per game – which ranks 29th out of the NBA’s 30 teams. Only Denver (13,575) draws fewer fans per game…

•Silver Lining: NBA Commissioner Adam Silver was in Minneapolis last week watching the Indiana-Minnesota game. Despite the Wolves attendance woes, Silver is not concerned about Minneapolis as a basketball market. “No, not at all,” Silver said. “They’re doing all the right things to continue to attach themselves to the community. Part of it is building the team and building the arena as well. They are doing everything that is necessary, so I have not a bit of concern…”

•Wow Factor: It was Silver’s first trip to Target Center since the arena’s three-phase, $150 million renovation began. Silver raved about the new circular video board that is in the venue. “It really changes the experience for the fans,” Silver said. “These high-definition, big screen video boards are unique to our league…”

•Trending Up: Silver calls Minnesota a “first class organization” and says all the “arrows are pointing in the right direction.” He believes the Wolves have the right pieces in place to have sustained success…”

•C-Town-Bound: Minnesota logged another win Monday night, defeating Orlando 111-105 in overtime at Target Center. Next up for the Timberwolves (19-29) is a Wednesday evening game at Cleveland. The NBA champion Cavaliers (32-15) are on top of the Eastern Conference and have a 21-5 home record…

•In the House: Twins 2B Brian Dozier and CF Byron Buxton were at Saturday night’s Brooklyn-Minnesota game at Target Center. Dozier and Buxton were in Minneapolis for Twinsfest…

•Girl Power: Wednesday is National Girls and Women in Sports Day, and to celebrate the Minnesota Lynx are taking 20 female athletes from St. Paul Humboldt High School to the Science Museum of Minnesota Sportsology Exhibit. Lynx stars Rebekkah Brunson and Lindsay Whalen will participate in the festivities…

•Bold Bash: The Minnesota Super Bowl host committee is throwing a party Thursday night in Houston. “Bold north down South” is the theme of the evening. Super Bowl LI is Sunday in Houston and Super Bowl LII will be played in Minneapolis in 2017…

•Super Stats: According to wallethub.com, 51.7 million cases of beer will be sold on Super Bowl Sunday and 1,300 planes will land at Houston area airports during Super week. Most of those (85 percent) will be corporate jets…

•Big-Game Brent: Another legendary sports broadcaster is retiring. ESPN’s Brent Musberger is leaving after a fabulous career in the booth, the studio and the sideline. Musberger was a multi-talented guy who brought energy and passion to the broadcasts, and is one of the all-time greats. Musberger’s staple was the way he used to open up the old NFL Today shows on CBS by saying, “You are looking live at a sold out Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington, MN…”

•Fab Four: Musberger’s retirement comes just months after three other icons left the booth. In 2016 Vin Scully, Dick Enberg and Verne Lundquist called it quits too. The foursome leaves a huge void. The airwaves will never be the same…

 

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Gameday Gold Radio – May 4, 2017 – s.4

The Young Bucks: GDG Talks with Miguel Sano & Byron Buxton

Segment 4: We get back into Twins talk, this time on a first-hand basis.  Larry got to ask a few questions to young stars Miguel Sano and Byron Buxton.  After the interviews, our hosts assess the progress of this roster that features a youthful core and some cagey veterans.

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Gameday Gold Radio – May 4, 2017 – s.1

You know?  There hasn’t been a ton of baseball talk lately, let alone optimistic baseball talk.  Eric and Larry convene at the Downtown Minneapolis studio this week to fix that.  They go heavy into diamond chatter, including a major dose of the Twins.  And you don’t just hear from them.  Third baseman Miguel Sano and center fielder Byron Buxton have their say.  Plus, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale offers his perspective on the team, the division, and some ugly incidents in Boston this week.  Oh, and our hosts also get to the NBA Playoffs, the NFL Draft, and revenge on the mind of a former Vikings star.

Not All Twins are Riding High

Segment 1: The Twins wrapped up another successful series, despite losing to Oakland on Thursday.  The fellas look back on the wins that Monday and Tuesday brought.  Plus, how will Kyle Gibson respond after his demotion to Triple AAA ball in Rochester.

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Gameday Gold Radio – April 27, 2017 – s.5

Tom Tuttle and the Guys Look Into the Twins’ Road Success

Segment 5: The Twins found some good swings in Texas after struggling at Target Field.  The GDG trio turn to the diamond to chat about the home nine.  What’s happened to Kyle Gibson?  Is Phil Hughes finding his old, successful form?  Can Byron Buxton ever get the bat going?  And how does the rest of the AL Central look?