Ron Gardenhire

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Cuban-born baseball retirees regret Black Americans’ lack of interest

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Julio Becquer and Tony Oliva, both Cuban-born, both migrated to the United States to play baseball. But if asked, both men quickly express their disappointment that the game they love has not been more embraced by today’s youth, especially by domestic-born Blacks. According to the 2014 Racial and Gender Report Card by the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport, the number of Blacks on major league rosters has been steady dwindling since the 1990s. On Opening Day 2014, 8.2 percent of players who identified themselves as Black were on the teams’ 25-man rosters. The Minnesota Twins had one — Aaron Hicks. Continue Reading →

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My day at Fenway

This column continues the Only One series in which this reporter shares
his experiences as the only African American on the scene. 
 

BOSTON — Prior to taking my third-row seat as the only Black reporter at the opener of last week’s Minnesota-Boston three-game series in the press box at Fenway Park, built in 1912, the Only One walked around the park and ran into just a couple of Blacks among the countless non-Black fans I passed during my several-blocks walk to Fenway. Longtime Boston resident Reginald Reese sells hot dogs outside the stadium. “[I] lived here all my life,” he admitted as he told me that the typical home-team crowd is ethnically mixed. Ironically, on this night the Red Sox and a local Latino newspaper co-sponsored “Latino Youth Recognition Day” at the ballpark. “It’s a wonderful ball park to come watch the Red Sox play,” boasted Reese, who easily could be Boston’s “sports mayor” as he continued his verbal city tour. Continue Reading →

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Twins’ 2014 season opens

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Can Major League Baseball’s new instant replay system stretch baseball games even longer? “I don’t think it will extend the game,” believes Minnesota Twins Manager Ron Gardenhire, who briefly talked about instant replay to the MSR before the club left for spring training in February. The Twins’ 2014 season began earlier this week in Chicago. Among the new instant replay protocols, managers have at least one challenge of an umpire’s call each game up to the beginning of the seventh inning. If the challenged play is overturned, the manager gets to keep their challenge but gets no more than two challenges per game. Continue Reading →

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Leslie Frazier out as Vikings head coach!

 

“Enough,” said the Vikings. Head Coach Leslie Frazier has been fired by the Vikings after going 5-10-1 this season in a Division where 8-7-1 wins it. The Vikings are now again searching for a head coach. Frazier took over as head coach in 2010, replacing Brad Childress with six games to go. Frazier finished the 2010 season 3-3. Continue Reading →

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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 →

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‘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 →

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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 →

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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 →

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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 →

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Heat set franchise record

 

 

Suddenly there’s no stopping the World Champion Miami Heat. Being around this group after they dismantled the under-manned Minnesota Timberwolves 97-81, it’s apparent their main objective Monday night at Target Center before 18,391 fans was to win and not get trapped in a snowstorm. “We saw the forecast,” said Dwyane Wade, who scored a game-high 32 points and 10 assists. “We heard it might be coming.”

The defending NBA Champions did not play their best game, with 23 turnovers; but with the Timberwolves’ injury issues, having three starters out, the Heat had to be ready for a fight. A frustrated J.J. Barea, who was just one of 11 from the field, finally lost his cool in the fourth quarter. Continue Reading →

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