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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: Minn U soccer at TCF is a cool event

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By Eric Nelson
April 25, 2017
GAMEDAY GOLD

MINNEAPOLIS – Sports Nuggets from the land of 10 million potholes...

•Cool Vibe: I had a chance to see my first Minnesota United game at TCF Bank Stadium on Sunday and was very impressed. The flag-waving, towel twirling crowd of 17,491 was involved and vocal the entire match. It was good theater. Midway through the second half there was a sunlight/shadow mix on the pitch, producing some spectacular visuals – which is another advantage to playing outside…

Minnesota United MLS soccer

Minnesota Loons at TCF Stadium
-April 2017

 

•Doubleheader: The Loons got their first-ever MLS shutout as Minn U blanked Colorado 1-0. The game-winning goal came when Johan Venegas used a header to get the ball to Miguel Ibarra who scored on a sprawling head shot. In this case, two heads were better than one..

 

•Money-Makers: According to the LA Times, the top 10 selling jerseys in MLB are:

  1. Kris Bryant (Chicago Cubs),
  2. Anthony Rizzo (Cubs),
  3. Clayton Kershaw (LA Dodgers),
  4. Javier Baez (Cubs),
  5. Kyle Schwarber (Cubs),
  6. Noah Syndergaard (NY Mets),
  7. Corey Seager (LA Dodgers),
  8. Buster Posey (SF),
  9. Gary Sanchez (NY Yankees)
  10. Mike Trout (LA Angels)

 

•Barefootball: According to the LA Times, the Chargers have been conducting some of their off-season workouts barefoot. What’s next, practicing on the beach..?

•PJ’s pitch: New U of M football coach PJ Fleck has been making his pitch to Gopher fans and potential recruits since being hired in early January. On Saturday he made another kind of pitch as he threw out the first pitch before the Detroit-Minnesota game at Target Field…

•Homecoming Hype: Now that Adrian Peterson has signed with the Saints, let the buildup begin. New Orleans and Minnesota open the season on September 11 in Minneapolis, meaning AP’s first game as a Saint is against his old team. ESPN is carrying the Monday night broadcast, which means the network will probably start hyping the telecast in July…

Adrian Peterson changes direction

•Standing O: Btw, AP deserves a loud ovation from the Purple Nation when he jogs onto the USB field turf. In 10 seasons with the Vikings AP ran for 11,747 yards, scored 102 touchdowns, played in seven Pro Bowls and was the 2012 NFL MVP when he gained 2,097 yards. That kind of production should garner him plenty of cheers…

•Cone Zone: Driving on I-94 through Brooklyn Center and Minneapolis these days means dodging orange barrels and cones, and driving over craters and potholes. “Minnesota’s Main Street” has been reduced to a couple of lanes in some parts because MNDOT has begun the monstrous $46.3 million project. Phase one of the I-94 construction will be finished by late October or early November and have no impact on Super Bowl LII. Construction will resume in late March or Early April of 2018…

•Capable and Qualified: Golden State HC Steve Kerr is one of the best in the business. But, with Kerr out because of a back injury, assistant Mike Brown took over the Warriors coaching duties for game 3 of their NBA playoff series against Portland. Golden State did not skip a beat, winning 119-113 and has a commanding 3-0 series lead. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Brown’s resume includes two stints as HC in Cleveland (2005-10, 2013-14) and with the LA Lakers (2011-12). Brown has coached in 83 playoff games, including the 2007 NBA Finals when San Antonio swept Cleveland in four games…

•Marathon Man: Joe Gagnon has accomplished his daunting goal of running six marathons on six continents in six days. Gagnon began his incredible journey in Australia on April 10 and finished up in Southern California on April 15. He ran in Sydney, Singapore, Johannesburg, London, Sao Paolo and Los Angeles…

•Mile Count: Gagnon did this to raise money for Project Bright Light which is part of LA-based Chimein.org, an organization that aids impoverished youth. He ran 156 miles, logged over 40,00 air miles in coach and did not stay in a hotel the entire trip…

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Eric Nelson

SPORTS NUGGETS: Green Bay and Pittsburgh thrive in the January elements

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By Eric Nelson

January 10, 2017

GAMEDAY GOLD

 

MINNEAPOLIS – Sports Nuggets from the home of Wheaties…

•Pedigree Teams: Playoff football in Green Bay and Pittsburgh is special. The Packers and Steelers have great tradition and embrace playing in frigid January weather. That was the case on Wild Card weekend as Green Bay crushed the NY Giants 38-13 and Pittsburgh pummeled Miami 30-12. These 4-wheel drive teams thrive in any conditions and can adapt to the NFLements. It is always fun to see Green Bay and Pittsburgh play in the post-season…

•Ratings Bonanza: Next up for Green Bay is top NFC seed Dallas in Arlington, TX on Sunday. FOX has the broadcast and the network has to be drooling about the match up. The Packers and Cowboys have a playoff history and are both global brands. This game will garner huge television ratings…

•Home Run Heave: Aaron Rodgers has a knack for throwing Hail Mary passes – just ask Detroit and Arizona who were victimized by him last season. Apparently the Giants forgot about that because Rodgers connected with Randall Cobb on the final play of the second quarter on a 42-yard miracle touchdown. Somehow, inexplicably, Cobb got behind four New York DB’s and caught the arching pass nine yards deep in the end zone. Rodgers had 362 yards passing and  four TD’s against the Giants, and has 44 touchdown tosses this season. Cobb caught three of the touchdowns and had 116 yards receiving…

•Peaking and Streaking: The Steelers and Packers are scorching hot at just the right time. Pittsburgh has won eight straight games and Green Bay seven. The Steelers play the Chiefs on Sunday in Kansas City and Arrowhead will be rocking…

•Revved Up: New U of M football coach PJ Fleck has more slogans than Ben Franklin and enough energy to light up Dinkytown. Fleck led Western Michigan to a 13-1 record this season, with the only loss coming against Wisconsin in the Cotton Bowl. Fleck has lofty goals for Minnesota and is taking over a 9-4 team that won the Holiday Bowl. The cupboard is not empty, so there is no reason for the Gophers to not keep winning…

•Trophy Tests: To elevate Minnesota to the next level, Fleck’s Gophers need to defeat Iowa, Michigan and Wisconsin on a consistent basis. Trophy games count and Minnesota has had little success against their rivals in the last three decades. Fleck has hit the ground running and has energized Gopher Nation. But, unless he wins, the catchy slogans and fast talk will seem hollow…

•Moving Up:Give the Gopher men’s basketball team credit. Minnesota (15-2/3-1) is ranked 24th in the AP Top 25 and USA Today Coaches Poll  – the first time since February of 2013 that Minnesota has been ranked. The Gophers are tied for first in the Big Ten with Michigan State, Purdue and Nebraska. The Gophers and Spartans play Wednesday night in East Lansing…

•Playoff Vibe: Should be a lot of fun at the Xcel Energy Center on Thursday night when Montreal plays Minnesota. The Canadiens (56 points) and the Wild (55 points) are two of the NHL’s top teams, led by star goalies Carey Price (2.12 goals against average) and Devan Dubnyk (1.80 GAA). Price is fifth in the league in save percentage and Dubnyk is first in save percentage and GAA…

•Quick Turnaround: Minnesota United FC’s first-ever MLS game is March 3 at Portland and the home opener is March 12 against Atlanta FC at TCF Bank Stadium. Minn U has had the shortest ramp up period of any expansion team in MLS history – just seven months. That is a quick turnaround, especially considering that the soccer club has also launched a stadium construction project…

•Weather-Ball: Like the Packers and Steelers, the Loons embrace the elements. The MLS season runs from March to November. They will try and turn Minnesota’s theater of seasons into an outdoor advantage when playing at TCF Bank Stadium and eventually their new soccer specific home in St. Paul….

•Mogul Man: According to the Seattle times, Danny Miller of Carnation, WA has skied at least once for 277 straight months, which is a span of 23 years. Each month – winter through summer and no matter the snow conditions –  Miller hits the slopes. Most of his skiing is in Washington, but he has also skied in Oregon and Canada. Miller says October is the hardest month to find good snow…

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Gameday Gold Radio – September 7, 2017 – s.6

Twins Holding Strong to Playoff Hopes

Segment 6: The pigskin isn’t the only thing stay front and center.  The Twins hover around one of the AL Wild Card spots.  Eric and Larry try to break down an important series in Kansas City.  You would think this effort is good enough to keep Paul Molitor on the bench next season.  Is it?  Plus, we hear a little more on P.J. Fleck’s Gopher debut and Giancarlo Stanton’s power-packed season.