Minnesota Twins

Recent Articles

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 →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

Twins turnaround indefinitely postponed

 After the annual media pre-season luncheon, Minnesota Twins GM Terry Ryan told the two MSR beat writers that the team had to turn things around this season. As it turned out, Ryan appears to have been directionally challenged. The 2013 Twins season concluded on Sunday with a crashing halt, losing their final six contests to finish 30 games below .500 (66-96), its third straight near-100-losses campaign in as many tries. This doesn’t show turnaround progress, but rather stuck-in-reverse regression. Although he has to take some responsibility, it certainly isn’t all Ron Gardenhire’s fault — the Twins on Monday extended his contract through the 2015 season. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

‘Scheme of dreams’ unveiled post-Tubby

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

Former University of Minnesota AD Joel Maturi once likened the rise in upgrading college athletic facilities to “an arms race.” However, it might be better termed as keeping up with the Joneses. Current U of M AD Norwood Teague pledged in July that he would be “aggressive and committed” to building a new on-campus athletic facility. “We need this,” he said of the $190 million proposed football, basketball and training facility. The “Taj Ma-Norwood” is much grander in scale than the promised practice facility that never came to former Gopher men’s basketball coach Tubby Smith while he was here. But somehow, just a few months after firing Smith, Teague can now unveil his privately-funded “Scheme of dreams.”

Somehow such dollars are finding their way to Gopherville now that a White coach is on the sidelines? Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

All-Star hype offers little for Blacks

 

 

The Minnesota Twins last week kicked off the team’s apparent year-long promotional blitz on their hosting of the 2014 All-Star Game. It is their third time being hosts at three different venues: the old and gone Metropolitan Stadium (1965); the old and soon-to-be gone Metrodome (1985); and, a year from now, at their present edifice located on the North Minneapolis-downtown border. “We dreamed of hosting this incredible event,” said Twins Owner Jim Polhad in a team release. After reading this and the media-distributed fact sheet, my curiosity got the best of me and I came up with some Roberta Flack-Donny Hathaway-Billy Preston-type questions:

Where were the Blacks then, and will there be any Blacks next year? Willie Mays and Bob Gibson were among 12 Blacks who played here in the 1965 game, and seven Blacks played in the 1985 dome game. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

New college women’s basketball rules adopted

 

 

Not even a week after Big East Commissioner Val Ackerman unveiled her lengthy recommendations on improving women’s college basketball (see MSR’s July 17 “Another View”), the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Committee moved quickly to implement several changes. Beginning in 2015, the Women’s Final Four will shift from Sunday-Tuesday to Friday-Sunday; initiating possible first- and second-round byes for the top-32 seeds so that lower-seeded teams will play each other first; and combining all three divisions championships at one site as early as 2016. Indianapolis is expected to host the Division I Final Four in 2016. Additionally, effective this upcoming season, the 10-second backcourt rule returns to women’s college ball. Absent since 1981-82, the 10-second count begins as soon as the offensive player touches the ball inbounds, and the 30-second clock will be used to determine if the offensive team crossed the midcourt line within 10 seconds. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

Novelty ‘bikini’ leagues another slap to real women athletes

 

 

 

Women’s sports, with very few exceptions, still elicit sexist, chauvinistic reactions from too many males, especially those media types who see female athletes as androgynous, titillating, sexy, or some circus clown act. We recently asked fans at a Minnesota Vixen football game in St. Paul if they consider the sport real or a novelty act. “I’m a fan because my daughter’s mom is playing,” responded Calvin Harris as he and daughter Kayla watched rookie Heidi Mindestrom at Concordia University, the Vixen’s home field for their final two regular-season games last month. The Vixen is America’s longest continuously playing women’s football team. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

Only Ones are common in the sport of baseball

 

 

 

Baseball supposedly is the all-American game, but today it looks more like apartheid:  Whites watch a game mainly played by White players, while most of the Blacks at the ballpark are not fans but concession workers. It’s like that at Minnesota Twins and St. Paul Saints games, and at Big Ten college baseball games as well. At last month’s Big Ten baseball tournament, Justin Cureton and I became unintentional kindred spirits. He was the only Black player on the field for the Big Ten regular season and soon-to-become tournament champion Indiana, and this reporter was the only Black in the press box. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

Twins’ Hicks more comfortable not batting leadoff — for now

 

 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

It’s not unusual that a rookie struggles early. However, a month and a half in the books, first-year Minnesota Twins centerfielder Aaron Hicks was “demoted.”

Twins Manager Ron Gardenhire is known as a player’s manager, and as expected he looked out for the rookie, sparing him from sports talk knuckleheads and wannabe experts who’re quick to criticize. As a result, late last month, Gardy demoted Hicks from the leadoff spot to further down the lineup. Then he pulled the player aside and offered some sage advice:

“‘Just play’ is what I basically told him. ‘You just play and you’ll be fine,’” the manager recently told the MSR. “He had some moments in his career where he struggled, but it’s a little more magnified [here]. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

Twins’ diversity talk seems mostly for show

 

 

 

A new movie on the life of Jackie Robinson premieres Friday. It has support from people in high places. “We think that everybody in this country needs to watch this movie,” advises First Lady Michelle Obama on the movie 42 after she and her husband, President Barack Obama viewed a private screening last week at the White House. The first of several Minnesota Twins “Diversity Days” will be Monday April 15, the day Major League Baseball (MLB) annually honors Robinson’s major league debut in 1947. “It was an important and powerful moment in baseball when Jackie Robinson broke in with the Brooklyn Dodgers,” recalls Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

When will MN’s ‘no Black workers need apply’ policy end?

 
Who will monitor and enforce Black participation on the so-called ‘People’s Stadium’ project?  

 

My concern is for the ending of the discrimination patterns and practices that prevent access for Black men and women to the opportunities of Minnesota (education, jobs, housing), with discrimination led by White and Black elites (City agencies, nonprofits, foundations, churches, corporations, the NAACP, Urban League). My Solution Paper #46, on my website (www.TheMinneapolis Story.com) lists my columns providing details, enough to launch a dozen lawsuits. Minnesota’s discrimination molehills have been easy to sweep under the rug. But the discrimination mountain looming on the horizon, the billion-dollar stadium, will take the “easy” away. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,