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Watkins eased into coaching for Twins

 Tommy Watkins is one of two Black coaches in the Minnesota Twins farm system.  After his season at Single-A Cedar Rapids concluded in September, he was called to join the major league team’s coaching staff for the remainder of the season. “I thought so as my career went on,” admits Watkins when asked if becoming a coach was part of his post-playing career plans. He spent 12 years in the Twins organization (1998-2009) but played only nine games with the big league club in 2007, mostly at third base after being drafted by Minnesota in 1998 out of high school. “I started helping out at my high school (in Riverside, Florida) in my third or fourth year as [an active] player. I always thought when I got done playing I would want to coach somewhere.”

Watkins completed his fourth season as a coach in the Twins organization. Continue Reading →

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Vikings in bold move sign QB Freeman

Third-year quarterback Christian Ponder will no longer be treated with kid gloves. Last year Joe Webb was his backup; this year the Vikings in the off season signed veteran QB Matt Cassel as his backup. Last week, in a surprise move, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers released starting quarterback Josh Freeman, and Sunday the Vikings signed the former Pro Bowl quarterback to a one-year $2 million deal. Freeman last season threw for 4,065 yards and 27 touchdowns. This season, he and Tampa Bay Head Coach Greg Shiano were at odds. Continue Reading →

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An interview with jazz veteran Billy Cobham

 

 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

According to www.whosampled.com, Billy Cobham’s music has been sampled over 40 times, including two signature songs “Red Baron” (sampled eight times) and “Heather” (sampled 15 times) first released during the 1970s. A founding member of the Mahavishnu Orchestra in 1971, Cobham co-founded his own fusion group in 1969, and then was invited to play on four cuts on Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew. At age 69, he’s still as strong as ever: Cobham’s current Spectrum 40 tour swings through Minneapolis on October 1 for a one-night stop at the downtown Dakota Jazz Club. “It will be a real pleasure to perform there,” he said during a recent phone interview with the MSR.

On his website, www.billycobham.com, it says that the Panama native, who grew up in New York, got his “first paying gig” when he was only eight years old, then later joined a local drum and bugle corps and attended New York’s famed High School of Music and Art — where he studied music theory and drum technique. “I started on the road in [19]63,” recalls Cobham, who later played in the U.S. Army Band as a percussionist during his three years of military service in the mid-1960s. Continue Reading →

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Browns upset Vikings 31-27!

It was not supposed to end like this, not the final season of Vikings football at Mall of America Field (the Metrodome), which opened in 1982. The Cleveland Browns traded away their best player, running back Trent Richardson, mid-week to the Indianapolis Colts for the Colts number-one 2014 NFL Draft pick. Big trades are rare indeed during an NFL season. In fact, I can remember only one when the Vikings traded six players and six draft picks to Dallas for Herschel Walker. The deal gave the impression that the Browns had given up on 2013 and would come to Minneapolis and get spanked by the hungry Vikings. Continue Reading →

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