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    Friday Sports

    08/21/2020

    The Minnesota Timberwolves won the 2020 NBA draft lottery last night and get the first pick in the draft later this year. The Timberwolves, who ended the season with the third-worst record, will be followed by the Golden State Warriors - who ended the season with the worst record – the Charlotte Hornets and the Chicago Bulls. Minnesota gets the top pick to pair with D'Angelo Russell and Karl-Anthony Towns. And the Warriors now have a significant trade chip to add to their roster. Instead of the usual gathering of representatives from the 14 teams participating in the lottery, this year's lottery drawing was done virtually, with all 14 teams represented in a video teleconference as the pingpong balls were drawn in Secaucus, New Jersey, for who will pick where in the draft, which is scheduled to take place Oct. 16. This year's crop of prospects is wide open, with no consensus about who should go where. Two of the potential options, though, are LaMelo Ball, the younger brother of New Orleans Pelicans guard Lonzo Ball, and Georgia guard Anthony Edwards. NBA commissioner Adam Silver said the league is likely to delay its previously planned Dec. 1 start for the 2020-21 season in the hope of getting paying fans back into arenas. Though the NBA's bubble environment in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., has been a success, Silver said the league is not focusing on reinstating another quarantined campus for next season.

    The NBA playoffs continue in the bubble. Last night Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat took a 2 game to none lead over Indiana with a 9 point win. Houston won by 13 to take a 2 games to none lead on Oklahoma City. Milwaukee evened their series with Orlando with a 15 point win. And the LA Lakers beat Portland by 23 to even their series st a game each. Today and tonight Toronto takes on Brooklyn with the Raptors up 2 to nothing, Boston is up 2 games to none on Philadelphia, Denver and Utah go to battle tied at a game each as do the LA Clippers and Dallas. In the NHL playoffs the New York Islanders eliminated the defending champion Washington Caps in game 5 and game 6 between Dallas and Calgary. Tonight Philadelphia has Montreal on the brink of elimination in game 6 and Vancouver has a 3-2 lead in games over St Louis.

    Jose Berrios had a one-hitter over six innings, Nelson Cruz hit a two-run homer and the Minnesota Twins beat the Milwaukee Brewers 7-1 last night.

    Twins catcher Ryan Jeffers, promoted before the game to take the spot of injured catcher Mitch Garver, drove in a run with a single in his first major league at-bat, going 2 for 3 with a hit by pitch and catching Berrios to help the Twins improve to 7-1-1 in series this season. Justin Smoak homered for the Brewers in the seventh off Tyler Duffey, but Nelly Cruz responded with his ninth homer and 24th and 25th RBI of the season in the bottom of the inning for the Twins. Jorge Polanco delivered a two-run double in a three-run eighth to finish off the Brewers. Berrios struck out eight of the first 13 batters he faced. Garver (side muscle strain) and CF Byron Buxton (shoulder inflammation) both went on the injured list before the game. 2B Luis Arraez, whose status remains day to day, missed his second straight game with a sore knee. Twins: RHP Jake Odorizzi (0-0, 5.14 ERA) starts tonight in Kansas City to begin a three-game series and a season-long 10-game road trip.

    The Minnesota Vikings went through a lighter day of practice yesterday, going without pads with a 90-minute session at Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center. Minnesota will go back to full pads today for what is scheduled to be a two-hour session, so the intensity will ramp back up then. Defensive end Danielle Hunter, wide receiver Dillon Mitchell and linebacker Ben Gedeon did not practice. The Vikings offense ran a 2-minute drill late in yesterday's practice, and it ended with Justin Jefferson hauling in a 15-yard touchdown pass from Kirk Cousins with 33 seconds left. Jefferson used his athleticism to rise above Mike Hughes and snagged the pass for the score, which tied the game at 19 in the hypothetical situation (a PAT was not attempted). The offense began on its own 37-yard line with a minute and 47 seconds on the clock. Chad Beebe made a diving catch, and Alexander Hollins hauled in a 30-plus yard gain down the left sideline, outmuscling Kris Boyd on a ball from quarterback Sean Mannion. Tajaé Sharpe also made a few nice catches throughout Thursday's practice as well.

    Nascar has two races in Dover Delaware this weekend at 3 each afternoon. They are two of the three races left in the regular season.

    And good luck to three AL wrestlers Mike Olson, Cole Glazier, and Caleb Talamantes as they wrestle in the Rocky Mountain Nationals this weekend in Kansas City!

    Jay Paul

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    Wednesday Sports

    08/19/2020

    The Vikings hit the practice field in full pads again at Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center, practicing for roughly 90 minutes yesterday afternoon. Defensive end Danielle Hunter, guard Dru Samia and tight end Nakia Griffin-Stewart did not practice. Neither did linebacker Ben Gedeon, who is currently on the Active/Physically Unable to Perform List. Dalvin Cook hadn't done much work through the first three practices open to the media, including Monday's first session in pads. But Cook was more involved Tuesday, taking part in team drills and looking like the Pro-Bowl running back he is. Cook participated in a handful of snaps with the first-team offense. The right side of the Vikings offensive line features some familiar faces, even if one player is in a new position.Garrett Bradbury (center) and Brian O'Neill (right tackle) return from their starting spots from 2019, while Pat Elflein has shifted to the right side after spending the past two seasons at left side.That trio opened up some holes in 11-on-11 drills, including for a sizable run for Alexander Mattison. Kicker Dan Bailey is off to a perfect start in camp, as the veteran kicker nailed all four of his kicks yesterday. So far in camp, Bailey has made all seven of his opportunities, with the kicks ranging from 33 to 48 yards. Bailey was a three-time NFC Special Teams Player of the Week in 2019 as he made 27 of 29 field goal tries.

    Kenta Maeda had a no hitter broken up by the first Milwaukee batter in the top of the 9th last night. Twins closer Taylor Rodgers came in and blew the save, allowing 3 runs, to tie the game. It eventually went to extra innings. It was the first extra innings game for Minnesota this season where they have the new rule that you start each half inning with a runner on 2nd. It didn"t help because it stayed 3-3 until the bottom of the 12th when Minnesota was able to put Byron Buxton on 2nd to start the half inning since he made the last out in the 11th. Alex Avilla hit a broken bat dribbler to first that advanced Buck to 3rd with one out. Max Kepler, who saved the game defensively in the top of the 12th with a great diving catch in right field, was hit by a pitch and Jorge Polanco hit an infield nubber with 5 infielders and Buxton was too fast for the relay from the 2nd baseman and the Twins won 4-3. At 16-8 the Twins are tied with Oakland for the 2nd best record in the American league, just percentage points behind the Yankees. Cleveland also won so they are still a game and a half back of the division leading Twins. Minnesota is 11-2 at home. They take on Milwaukee again tonight at 7.

    Minnesota Lynx center Sylvia Fowles suffered a right calf strain last week and is out indefinitely. The Lynx said further updates will be issued when more information is available. Thec34 year old Fowles previously missed games on Aug. 5 and Aug. 9 because of the calf issue, but she played on Aug. 7 and Aug. 11.

    The 2017 WNBA MVP and two-time WNBA champion became the WNBA's all-time leading rebounder on July 28. Fowles came to Minnesota in a trade from Chicago midway through the 2015 season and had not missed a game with the Lynx until this year. Lynx guard Odyssey Sims is set to make her 2020 season debut tomorrow night at 8 vs Las Vegas so the timing is perfect. Both teams are tied for second place in the WNBA at 6-2. Sims led the Lynx in scoring and assists last season, but she was late to arrive to the bubble because she gave birth in April to her son, Jaiden. Then after going through quarantine, she had to serve a two-game suspension due to pleading guilty to a DWI charge in 2019. Sims said she's excited by what she has seen of the Lynx so far - including the play of rookie point guard Crystal Dangerfield - and feels like she can contribute. Sims said she debated bringing her son into the bubble but decided it was best for him to stay with her family in Texas. But she said having him has given her a new purpose in life.

    The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association announced an agreement last night for the eight teams who were not invited to the league's restart inside a bubble at the Walt Disney World Resort to have voluntary group workouts at their facilities beginning in mid-September. The agreement calls for players to work out "while residing in a campus-like environment" and includes "comprehensive health and safety protocols" for all players, coaches and team staff taking part. Ever since the NBA came to an agreement with the NBPA to return to play in June, the fate of the eight teams that were left out of the restart –including the Minnesota Timberwolves has been a point of contention. Those teams have repeatedly advocated for some way to get a chance to work with their players sometime before the start of next season. Now, after this agreement, they will get one. The teams will be allowed to have players in for voluntary workouts beginning on Sept. 14, and going through Oct. 6, in a series of phases. According to the agreement, participation is voluntary and can only include players who are under contract with a team and up to five players who are not currently under contract with an NBA team but who were part of the team's G League affiliate this past season.

    Jay Paul

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    Tuesday Sports

    08/18/2020

    Yesterday at Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center, the Minnesota Vikings practiced for 90 minutes, the maximum amount per NFL rules on Day 1 of pads. Offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak said, "I always look forward to the padded practices. That's when the game gets real - you're running around and the speed of the game is what we always try to practice. All of a sudden, when the pads come on, the game gets different. That's just the way it is.” Defensive end Danielle Hunter did not practice. Neither did linebacker Ben Gedeon, who is currently on the Active/Physically Unable to Perform List. "Harry The Hitman," Harrison Smith the Vikings star safety intercepted Kirk Cousins in two different drills. There's been plenty of focus on rookie wide receiver Justin Jefferson so far in camp, and for good reason. But through the first three practices open to the media, Bisi Johnson has been lined up as the No. 2 wide receiver opposite Adam Thielen quite often. Johnson continued his strong start to camp yesterday, with three plays that stood out. The Vikings continued to rotate multiple cornerbacks in numerous roles yesterday, but it was a rookie who made the play of the day at the end of the session. Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer had his first-team units go against each other, with Cameron Dantzler getting the chance at cornerback with the top unit. The lengthy Dantzler - who measures in at 6-foot-2 and 188 pounds - hung with Thielen on a deep ball before batting it away at the high point to defend a big play for the offense.

    The Minnesota Wild"s time in the bubble now over and club's offseason underway, one of its biggest questions they will answer will be…Does the only full-time captain in Wild history want to continue in the NHL? Or is the 37-year-old ready to call it a career after 15 seasons and 1,028 games, all with the team that selected him sixth overall in the 2001 NHL Draft? While this offseason is expected to be at least a month shorter than a "normal" offseason, the business of making changes likely won't come until the end of September or early October, which means Koivu has several weeks to huddle with family, chat with Wild GM Bill Guerin and make an informed decision that he can live with. Koivu made clear during the season that he didn't have much interest in continuing his playing career in a different NHL uniform. In the 102-year history of the NHL, Koivu became just the 55th player to play his first 1,000 games with the same team. But this past season offered challenges that Koivu had to deal with for the first time. He was relegated to "fourth line" duty, although he was still often counted on to win key draws or defend leads late in games.The four goals he scored was the fewest he's had in a single season and his 21 points is the fewest since his rookie season.

    Nelson Cruz hit two more moon shots in a 4-1 Minnesota Twins win over Kansas City at Target field last night to take 3 out of 4 games in the series. Wait a minute…4-1? Where was the missing run? In the other 3 games of the series the final score was 4-2. In fact 5 of the Twins last seven games have ended 4-2. Cruz hit his 7th of the year, a solo blast in the 4th inning and his 8th, another solo shot in the 7th. The other two runs were scored on singles by Max Kepler and Byron Buxton. The Twins went with a closer committee of 6 pitchers at KC. Nobody threw more than 2 2/3 innings but combined they struck out 9. Walked two and gave up 1 run on 7 hits. Thank God we"re done with Royals this seas…damn. After 3 vs Milwaukee at Target Field starting tonight, they go to KC for the final 3 against the Royals. Twins DH and MVP candidate Nelson Cruz is 3rd in the American league in batting average at .354, tied for 2nd with Matt Olson with 8 home runs, 1 behind Mike Trout and Aaron Judge, he"s 1st in rbi"s with 23, 1 ahead of Anthony Santander, he"s also 3rd in hits, 1 off the league Iead. Pitcher Randy Dobnak is tied with Shane Beiber and Garrett Cole for the most wins in the American league with 4 and he"s 3rd in tby d league in ERA with 1.42.

    3 Nascar races to go before the 10 race chase for the cup starting with two races tjis weekend in Dover, Delaware. 3 O"Clock Saturday and 3 on Sunday.

    Jay Paul

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    Friday Sports

    08/14/2020

    NCAA president Mark Emmert said yesterday there won't be fall NCAA championships because there are not enough schools participating due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic - a decision that impacts 22 championships, including FCS football. Emmert said, “The board of governors established if you don't have half of the schools playing a sport, you can't have a legitimate championship.” The number of schools still planning to play fall sports fell below 50% on Wednesday when the Big East announced its fall sports wouldn't be played. The SEC said yesterday it will review the impact of championships being canceled in soccer, volleyball and cross country. The Big 12 is also assessing what the decision means for its schools and whether they would consider moving their fall sports to the spring. Emmert endorsed the idea of potentially using bubbles for NCAA championships - including basketball - in the first half of 2021, saying that it's "perfectly viable in many sports."

    The 12-7 Minnesota Twins are back in action playing their 20th game tonight, 1/3 of the way through the season vs Kansas City for the first of 3 this weekend at Target Field, where the Twins are 7-1 so far this season. Minnesota holds a game and a half lead on Detroit, 2 games on Chicago and Cleveland and 4 games ahead of Kansas City. At the 1/3rd pole, Nelson Cruz is tied for 3rd in baseball in rbi with 18, 2 behind the league leaders Aaron Judge and Charlie Blackmon. Kenta Maeda is in a multiple player tie for first in wins with 3. And Randy Dobnak has an era of .90, best in the majors.

    The Minnesota Lynx lost by 10 to Las Vegas last night in their Florida bubble. Napheesha Collier led the Lynx with 21 points and also led the team with 14 rebounds. Sylvia Fowles played 1 minute and scored 2 points as she is slow to recover from a calf injury.

    Harold Varner III, Tom Hoge and Roger Sloan each shot 8-under 62 yesterday to share the first-round lead at the Wyndham Championship, the PGA Tour's final regular-season event before the FedEx Cup playoffs. Varner started the go-low parade at Sedgefield Country Club with an eight-birdie, no-bogey round that matched his career best on the PGA Tour. Hoge and Sloan, playing together, followed suit later in the round. Hoge also matched his career low on tour, while Sloan's score set his personal best. There were 33 players on the course who had not finished when the round was suspended because of bad weather. All three leaders are seeking their first tour wins. Past U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson led another pack at 4-under 66. Paul Casey, who tied for second last week at the PGA Championship, was at 67.

    Some other PGA Championship contenders last week were not as fortunate. Both Brooks Koepka and Justin Rose each in the mix in the final round of the year's first major, could not keep that going in this one. Koepka was 10 shots behind after a 72. Rose finished a stroke worse at 73.

    Sunday at 2 Nascar goes 235 miles on the Daytona road course in the season of Harvick and Hamlin.

    Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be no Minnesota Vikings preseason games this year. These exhibition games are usually the first time a number of Vikings fans get to see the team"s roster in action each year. The preseason is also the time for new fan favorites to emerge. But with these games getting eliminated due to the pandemic, Minnesota fans will have to wait until the team"s first regular-season matchup on September 13 to view some of the team"s newest players in action.That"s at least what everyone assumed. However, it appears that the Vikings might be offering a glimpse into what they"re doing on the practice field this summer.Typically, Minnesota"s training camp practices take place in front of a crowd of fans at the TCO Performance Center. But due to the restrictions put in place because of the COVID-19 pandemic, fans are not allowed to attend any of this year"s camp practices.Luckily for Vikings fans though, the team has announced that on Monday, August 17 at 2:15 p.m. CT, “Vikings Training Camp Live” will broadcast live on their website, social media accounts, the radio, and on TV.

    According to the team"s website, this will feature live coverage of Minnesota"s training camp and commentary from notable Vikings media personalities like Paul Allen, Pete Bercich, Ben Leber, and Greg Coleman. In addition to this being streamed on their website and their social media account. We"ll all just have to check out “Vikings Training Camp Live” on Monday and see if the team actually does end up showcasing some of the things they have been working on this summer.

    Jay Paul

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    Thursday Sports

    08/13/2020

    Byron Buxton hit two solo home runs and Miguel Sano added another as the Minnesota Twins jumped to an early lead and routed the Milwaukee Brewers 12-2 last night. The victory gave the AL Central-leading Twins a 2-1 series win over the Brewers. Minnesota starter Kenta Maeda is 3-0 after he retired the first 11 batters he faced. He allowed two runs in 6 2 / 3 innings, striking out five and walking one. He now has 21 strikeouts and 4 walks in 23 1/2 innings. The Twins set the tone in the second inning when Jake Cave drove in the first run with a line-drive double that froze left fielder Christian Yelich for several seconds as he used his glove to shield his eyes from the sun. Mitch Garver scored on Nelson Cruz's broken-bat single into center field. The Twins led 12-0 before Milwaukee pushed across its two runs in the sixth inning. Of the Twins' nine starting batters, only Garver did not have an RBI. Today is the Twins second off-day this season. On Friday, they host the Royals in the first of 20 games in 20 nights. At 12-7 the Twins have a game and a half lead on Detroit with Cleveland and Chicago 2 games back and the Royals 4 out 1/3 of the way through the season.

    Even though two of the five power conferences won't be playing football this fall, Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said he doesn't believe it will diminish the meaning that comes with a national championship. Asked yesterday about whether the absence of the Big Ten or Pac-12 "damages" the meaning of a title, Swinney said, “The four best teams can go play. We've been one of those four for five years in a row. So, in my opinion, it doesn't change anything for us. We're just trying to be the best Clemson we can be. Whoever you play every week, you try to win that game, you try to keep moving forward. We don't have any control over that stuff. And I certainly don't judge them in any way. Everybody's gotta make decisions that they feel is best. If they feel like that's what best for them, then so be it." Four FBS conferences - the Big Ten, Pac-12, Mountain West and Mid-American - have all decided to postpone fall football. Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby, who is a member of the College Football Playoff management committee, said that there is a playoff call next week to discuss the recent changes.

    PGA golf starts the Wyndam championship in Greensboro, North Carolina today through Sunday. By the way the Masters Tournament rescheduled for November will take place without spectators or guests because of the pandemic that postponed the event from its original date. Augusta National and Masters chairman Fred Ridley released a statement in which he said, "Ultimately, we determined that the potential risks of welcoming patrons and guests to our grounds in November are simply too significant to overcome." On April 6, the Monday of what was supposed to be Masters week, the club announced that it was rescheduling the tournament for Nov. 12-15, with every hope of having a full complement of spectators. The club also sent an email to badge and ticket holders that was obtained by ESPN, explaining that information will be forthcoming in early September as to how to request a refund or transfer ticket usage to 2021. An opportunity to buy merchandise will also be provided. Next month's U.S. Open at Winged Foot will also go on without spectators. The British Open canceled its 2020 tournament.

    In the NHL playoffs last night Philadelphia beat Montreal 2-1 in game one of their opening round series. Colorado shut out Phoenix 3-0 in the first game of their series, the NY Islanders upended the Washington Caps 4-2 in the opener of their series and Boston takes a 1-0 lead in their best of seven series 4-3 in double overtime. 4 game 2"s on the way tonight.

    Churchill Downs officials expect fewer than 23,000 fans will be able to attend next month's rescheduled Kentucky Derby under an updated health and safety plan. The plan eliminates general admission and standing room only areas, with total capacity limited to less than 14% of the 2015 attendance record of 170,513. The 146th running of the Derby was postponed from May 1-2 to Sept. 4-5 because of coronavirus concerns. Refunds will be issued for pre-purchased tickets. Reserved seating will be limited to 40% occupancy, with outdoor ticket holders reseated in a comparable location for maximum distancing. Protocols include temperature checks, face coverings and physical distancing. The release adds that safety measures will be strictly enforced and that repeat offenders will be escorted from the property. Spectators will receive a bag with a disposable mask, hand sanitizer and a stylus for noncontact, self-service betting.

    Jay Paul

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    Hump Day Sports

    08/11/2020

    The MSHSL Board of Directors has approved the creation of optional Fall Training Seasons for volleyball, football, and MSHSL sanctioned spring sports+. These Fall Training Seasons are MSHSL sponsored programs. All MSHSL member schools have the authority to provide the entire Training Season, offer a reduced Training Season, or choose not to offer a Training Season.

    Volleyball and Football Fall Training Seasons:

    • Start Date—September 14

    • End Date—October 3

    Each sport will have the opportunity to have an organizational meeting and distribute equipment on a date to be selected prior to their Fall Training Season. The following activities or events are not allowed during the Fall Training Seasons: Tryouts, Scrimmages, Jamborees, Competitions and Captain"s Practices.

    Yesterday Big Ten Conference presidents and chancellors voted to postpone all fall sports seasons, including football, amid the pandemic with the hopes of playing in the spring. The Pac-12 CEO group voted unanimously yesterday to postpone all sports, including football and basketball, through the end of the year. In a statement, the Pac-12 said if conditions related to the coronavirus improve, it would consider a return to competition after Jan. 1. Officials with the ACC and SEC have indicated they plan to proceed with seasons this fall, but it's unclear whether the Big Ten and Pac 12 decision will change those plans. In making its decision, the Big Ten said it relied on the medical advice and counsel of the Big Ten Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases and the Big Ten Sports Medicine Committee. Besides football, other sports impacted are men's and women's cross country, field hockey, men's and women's soccer and women's volleyball. The moves leave 3 of the power 5 conferences still planning to play football this fall. Those being the Big 12, SEC and ACC. All three said yesterday they are still all systems go. A revised Big 12 schedule is expected to be released soon, sources told ESPN. The teams will still play their "9-plus-1" schedule setup, with nine conference games and one nonconference game, but will delay the start of the season until Sept. 26.

    After hitting a decisive grand slam in Monday"s game, Twins leftfielder Eddie Rosario crushed two more homers last night to account for most of Minnesota"s offense again. But the other Twins" bats couldn"t muster much else despite scattering 10 hits, and the normally reliable relief corps was punished by the long ball in a bullpen game as Tyler Clippard, Matt Wisler, Trevor May and Taylor Rogers each coughed up homers in the Twins" 6-4 loss to the Brewers at Miller Park. Minnesota"s primary lead protectors in the bullpen - Clippard, May, Rogers, Tyler Duffey and Sergio Romo - entered this series having allowed just one homer combined in 2020. Romo allowed a late blast on Monday. Clippard allowed a leadoff blast to Avisaíl García as the opener last night and Wisler and May were each tagged by Manny Piña, who tied the game with his two-run blast off May in the sixth for his first career multi-homer game. Rogers, the closer, entered in a tie game in the eighth and allowed a go-ahead, two-run shot to Gyorko. That was enough to nullify Rosario"s own multi-homer game - the 10th of his career - because the Twins" offense couldn"t do much else outside of Jorge Polanco"s solo shot in the first. The two teams play the deciding game of the three game series tonight at 6 PM. Then they come home for a four game series against Kansas City starting tomorrow night.

    The Portland Timbers took down Orlando City 2-1 to take home the trophy for the MLS is Back Tournament last night. Goals from Larrys Mabiala and Dario Zuparic helped the Timbers win the MLS' bubble tournament in Orlando and a guaranteed spot in the CONCACAF Champions League along with a nice return of prize money to the tune of $300,000.MLS is set to return to playing in local markets starting on Wednesday when FC Dallas hosts expansion Nashville SC in Frisco, Texas. The Loons don"t play til Friday the 21st at Sporting Kansas City.

    The Minnesota Lynx took apart the Washington Mystics last night 68-48. Sylvia Fowles had 16 points and 13 rebounds, a double-double. Crystal Dangerfield added 12 points and Napheesa Collier had eight points and 12 rebounds for Minnesota (6-2), which held a team under 50 points for the first time since Aug. 27, 2013. It's the 10th time in team history the Lynx have done that. Both teams were underwelming in the 2nd half with Minnesota scoring only 4 points in the 3rd quarter and Washington matching that in the 4th quarter. At 6-2 the Lynx are tied with Las Vegas for the 2nd best record in the WNBA, just a game behind Seattle. And they play Las Vegas Thursday night at 8.

    The first game of the first round of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs began at 2 p.m. yesterday, between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Columbus Blue Jackets. It didn't end until the fifth overtime, which was 6 hours, 13 minutes later in real time. The Lightning won 3-2

    Jay Paul

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    Tuesday Sports

    08/10/2020

    The Big Ten presidents met Sunday night but didn't vote and took no action on the question of postponing or cancelling fall sports. But yesterday longtime sports personality Dan Patrick said a source told him that the Big Ten and Pac-12 will cancel their seasons with announcements today. He said he learned the Big 12 and ACC are "on the fence," and that the SEC is trying to get the other teams to join them for a season this fall. According to Patrick's source, the Big Ten presidents voted, 12-2, to not play this fall. Patrick said only Nebraska and Iowa voted to play. But Ohio State coach Ryan Day indicated that he's not done fighting to play this season. Penn State coach James Franklin expressed a similar sentiment about wanting to do what is best for his players. Scott Frost, a former Nebraska quarterback, now their head coach, said being on campus was the safest place for his players to be. Another report said Minnesota President Joan Gabel was expected to join other Big Ten presidents for a conference call Monday night. The Gophers estimate a $75 million loss to its athletic department if sports can"t be played this fall, a financial setback likely to have consequences beyond the coming school year. Total athletics spending in 2018-19 was $129 million. On Friday, the first day of Minnesota"s fall camp, coach P.J. Fleck announced that none of his players had tested positive for COVID-19.   

    The Minnesota Twins got back on the winning track with one swing of Eddie Rosarios bat last night in Milwaukee. Alex Avila hit a leadoff single in the third and Max Kepler followed with an infield hit. After Jorge Polanco grounded into a fielder's choice, Nelson Cruz was hit by a pitch to load the bases for Rosario who hit the first pitch he saw into the seats and that's all the twins needed in a 4-2 win that snapped a 4 game losing streak. Randy Dobnak pitched five strong innings as he struck out three, allowed four hits, walked one and retired his last eight batters to continue his hot start to the season. The right-hander has given up just two runs over 20 innings in his first four starts, among the best in the majors. By dropping four straight games before Monday, the Twins their matched longest losing streak from last season. Their four-game skid last year covered the exact same dates (Aug. 6-9) as this one. UP NEXT The Twins and Brewers continue their three-game series as Tyler Clippard will be the Twins bullpen starter tonight in Milwaukee at 7:10.

    Portland and Orlando play for the MLS is back championship tonight at 7:30

    The New York Rangers won Monday's NHL draft lottery - and the right to select consensus No. 1 pick Alexis Lafreniere. Teams including the Minnesota Wild each had a 12.5% chance to select No. 1. The seven losers of Monday's lottery now will be slotted 9 to 15 according to their regular-season points percentage which locks Minnesota in at number 9. Wild GM Bill Guerin said, “There definitely have to be changes.” He also said that not only is there no true No. 1 center on the roster, but also he doesn't think there's one in the entire organizational system. Plus, the Wild have never selected higher than No. 3 overall. But Guerin did something his two predecessors didn't when he signed prized prospect Kirill Kaprizov from Russia. Kaprizov will inject the Wild with some youth next season.

    The 5-2 Minnesota Lynx drop from 4 to 5 in the WNBA power rankings. Center Sylvia Fowles (calf) missed two games this past week. The Lynx were able to beat the NY Liberty handily without her on Wednesday. She returned to the lineup in a win over the Fever on Friday. But then Minnesota struggled to defend against Los Angeles in a loss to the Sparks on Sunday that Fowles also missed. Before this week, Fowles had not missed a game since joining the Lynx in July 2015; they hope she won't be out much longer. There was good news for the Lynx, though, in the way guards Lexie Brown and Crystal Dangerfield and forward Bridget Carleton have played. Plus, guard Odyssey Sims, who gave birth in April, has been activated and might be able to play this week.

    Jay Paul

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    Monday Sports

    08/09/2020

    The Austin Greyhounds baseball team lI st their first round playoff game in Cannon Falls Saturday night 9-2 to Wanamingo. So a promising season ends for the Hounds.

    Hunter Dozier hit a two-run single in his first at-bat since testing positive for COVID-19, prized prospect Brady Singer earned his first major league win and the Kansas City Royals swept the Minnesota Twins 4-2 yesterday. The Royals won their fourth in a row overall. The Twins lost all three at Kauffman Stadium and have dropped four straight. But they had such a great start to the season that they still cling to the lead in the AL Central with a 10-6 record, ½ game better than Detroit, a game ahead of Cleveland, a game and a half up on Chicago heck even Kansas City is only 3 ½ out now. Twins RHP Randy Dobnak (2-1, 0.60 ERA) takes the mound in Milwaukee tonight.

    Collin Morikawa fired a final-round 64 to claim his first PGA major championship — in his first major appearance as a professional yesterday with a very steady performance. He outlasted six different players who were tied with him at the top of the leaderboard. He unleashed the shot of a lifetime to put distance between himself and the field. Dustin Johnson, Jason Day, Paul Casey, Bryson DeChambeau Scottie Scheffler, Cameron Champ, Tony Finau and Matthew Wolff all had their chances to take the reins. Sunday marked the fourth time Dustin Johnson held at least a share of the lead coming into the final day of a major, the prior times being the 2010, 2015 and 2018 U.S. Opens. He won exactly zero of those, making him the fifth player to start 0-for-3 in majors in which he had a final-day lead. No player has ever gotten to 0-4. Morikawa, who won the very first PGA Tour tournament he played as a professional, began to put distance between himself and the field when he chipped in on 14 to get to -11 and the solo lead. A few minutes later, Casey birdied 16 to climb into a tie for the lead. Morikawa then unleashed a brilliant tee shot on 16 that left a short eagle putt. He drained it to take a two-shot lead over Casey at -13 with two holes to play. Johnson tried to fight his way back, chipping in from the fringe at 16 but he had only two holes left to make up three strokes, a gap he couldn"t close. He finished tied for 2nd with Casey and Morikawa was alone at the top, one of the youngest major winners in golf history. He was all of two months old when Tiger Woods won his first major, at Augusta.

    Christopher Tanev's wrist shot just 11 seconds into overtime gave ttheVancouver Canucks a 5-4 victory over the Minnesota Wild on Friday night to win the best-of-five Western Conference qualifying round series in four games. Luke Kunin, Eric Staal, Joel Eriksson Ek and Nico Sturm had the goals for the Wild, who squandered their two-goal advantage over a 3:05 span midway through the second period. So the season ends for the Wild.

    Kevin Harvick completed a doubleheader sweep at Michigan International Speedway, holding off Denny Hamlin in yesterday's NASCAR Cup Series race after Penske teammates Brad Keselowski and Ryan Blaney crashed out early in the final stage. Hamlin was right behind Harvick for the final few laps and came close to passing him a couple of times, but Harvick stayed in front for his series-high sixth victory of the season. Hamlin's final desperate bid came up short at the end when Harvick crossed the finish line 0.09 seconds ahead. Martin Truex Jr. finished third and Kyle Busch finished fourth. Busch remains winless on the year. Harvick also won Saturday's Cup race at Michigan. In fact, he won just about everything possible, taking the first two stages Saturday and the second stage Sunday. Clint Bowyer won Sunday's first stage of the 156-lap, 312-mile race. Ford has now won six straight Cup races at Michigan, and Harvick has taken four of the past five. It was a disappointing day for a couple of Ford drivers, though. Keselowski made contact with Blaney's car shortly after the start of the final stage, sending the two teammates slamming into the wall. Keselowski still has never won a Cup race in his home state of Michigan. He finished second Saturday. Harvick's 55th career victory brought him into a 10th-place tie with Rusty Wallace one behind Kyle Busch.

    Riquna Williams scored 21 points and led five Los Angeles Sparks players in double digits in a 97-81 win over the Minnesota Lynx yesterday. Crystal Dangerfield led the Lynx (5-2) with 29 points and Bridget Carleton and Damiris Dantas scored 15 apiece.

    Jay Paul

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    Monday Sports

    08/09/2020

    The Austin Greyhounds baseball team lI st their first round playoff game in Cannon Falls Saturday night 9-2 to Wanamingo. So a promising season ends for the Hounds.

    Hunter Dozier hit a two-run single in his first at-bat since testing positive for COVID-19, prized prospect Brady Singer earned his first major league win and the Kansas City Royals swept the Minnesota Twins 4-2 yesterday. The Royals won their fourth in a row overall. The Twins lost all three at Kauffman Stadium and have dropped four straight. But they had such a great start to the season that they still cling to the lead in the AL Central with a 10-6 record, ½ game better than Detroit, a game ahead of Cleveland, a game and a half up on Chicago heck even Kansas City is only 3 ½ out now. Twins RHP Randy Dobnak (2-1, 0.60 ERA) takes the mound in Milwaukee tonight.

    Collin Morikawa fired a final-round 64 to claim his first PGA major championship — in his first major appearance as a professional yesterday with a very steady performance. He outlasted six different players who were tied with him at the top of the leaderboard. He unleashed the shot of a lifetime to put distance between himself and the field. Dustin Johnson, Jason Day, Paul Casey, Bryson DeChambeau Scottie Scheffler, Cameron Champ, Tony Finau and Matthew Wolff all had their chances to take the reins. Sunday marked the fourth time Dustin Johnson held at least a share of the lead coming into the final day of a major, the prior times being the 2010, 2015 and 2018 U.S. Opens. He won exactly zero of those, making him the fifth player to start 0-for-3 in majors in which he had a final-day lead. No player has ever gotten to 0-4. Morikawa, who won the very first PGA Tour tournament he played as a professional, began to put distance between himself and the field when he chipped in on 14 to get to -11 and the solo lead. A few minutes later, Casey birdied 16 to climb into a tie for the lead. Morikawa then unleashed a brilliant tee shot on 16 that left a short eagle putt. He drained it to take a two-shot lead over Casey at -13 with two holes to play. Johnson tried to fight his way back, chipping in from the fringe at 16 but he had only two holes left to make up three strokes, a gap he couldn"t close. He finished tied for 2nd with Casey and Morikawa was alone at the top, one of the youngest major winners in golf history. He was all of two months old when Tiger Woods won his first major, at Augusta.

    Christopher Tanev's wrist shot just 11 seconds into overtime gave ttheVancouver Canucks a 5-4 victory over the Minnesota Wild on Friday night to win the best-of-five Western Conference qualifying round series in four games. Luke Kunin, Eric Staal, Joel Eriksson Ek and Nico Sturm had the goals for the Wild, who squandered their two-goal advantage over a 3:05 span midway through the second period. So the season ends for the Wild.

    Kevin Harvick completed a doubleheader sweep at Michigan International Speedway, holding off Denny Hamlin in yesterday's NASCAR Cup Series race after Penske teammates Brad Keselowski and Ryan Blaney crashed out early in the final stage. Hamlin was right behind Harvick for the final few laps and came close to passing him a couple of times, but Harvick stayed in front for his series-high sixth victory of the season. Hamlin's final desperate bid came up short at the end when Harvick crossed the finish line 0.09 seconds ahead. Martin Truex Jr. finished third and Kyle Busch finished fourth. Busch remains winless on the year. Harvick also won Saturday's Cup race at Michigan. In fact, he won just about everything possible, taking the first two stages Saturday and the second stage Sunday. Clint Bowyer won Sunday's first stage of the 156-lap, 312-mile race. Ford has now won six straight Cup races at Michigan, and Harvick has taken four of the past five. It was a disappointing day for a couple of Ford drivers, though. Keselowski made contact with Blaney's car shortly after the start of the final stage, sending the two teammates slamming into the wall. Keselowski still has never won a Cup race in his home state of Michigan. He finished second Saturday. Harvick's 55th career victory brought him into a 10th-place tie with Rusty Wallace one behind Kyle Busch.

    Riquna Williams scored 21 points and led five Los Angeles Sparks players in double digits in a 97-81 win over the Minnesota Lynx yesterday. Crystal Dangerfield led the Lynx (5-2) with 29 points and Bridget Carleton and Damiris Dantas scored 15 apiece.

    Jay Paul

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    Friday Sports

    08/06/2020

    Brock Boeser and Elias Petterson each had a power-play goal and an assist, Jacob Markstrom made 27 saves for his first postseason shutout yesterday and the Vancouver Canucks beat the Minnesota Wild 3-0 to take a 2-1 lead in their best-of-five qualifier series. Quinn Hughes had three assists for the Canucks, who outlasted the Wild in another penalty-filled, extra-testy matchup and moved within one game of advancing to the first round in their first appearance in the playoffs since 2015. The frequent whistles played to Vancouver's advantage, putting that talented top line on the ice time after time and minimizing Minnesota's forward depth in 5-on-5 play. Game 4 on Friday night is do or die for the Wild, lose and they"re out of the bubble. Win and they force the deciding 5th game against Vancouver.

    Kevin Newman's two-run pinch-single with one out in the ninth inning lifted the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 6-5 victory over the Minnesota Twins yesterday. The victory snapped a seven-game losing streak. Pittsburgh's three-run outburst against Minnesota closer Taylor Rogers <http://www.espn.com/mlb/player/_/id/33671/taylor-rogers> (1-1) gave them 14 runs in the ninth inning this season. The Pirates have scored 62% of their runs this season in the seventh inning or later.Twins manager Rocco Baldelli defended Taylor and a bullpen that entered the day with the most saves in the majors. Rocco said, "I don't think it was a whole lot about execution wasn't like balls were getting whacked all around. He made pretty good pitches, things just happen sometimes in this game and there's not a lot we can do about it." Miguel Sano hit a three-run home run and Byron Buxton and Eddie Rosario also went deep for the Twins, who saw their six-game winning streak snapped. Minnesota missed a chance to put together the best start in franchise history, falling to 10-3, a start matched by the club five previous times, the last in 2001. Minnesota starter Kenta Maeda surrendered Gregory Polanco's first home run in 14 months in the third inning - a 446-foot shot that bounced into the Allegheny River. Maeda struck out four and walked three while retiring 15 of the final 16 batters he faced. He exited with a two-run lead before things slipped away late following an uncharacteristically sloppy performance by the Twins' bullpen. Twins: P Jake Odorizzi is scheduled to make his first start of the season on Saturday against the Royals. Rookie Devin Smeltzer (1-0, 11.57 ERA) gets the start on the hill today when Minnesota begins a three-game series at Kansas City.

    Lynx tonight at 5:30 vs the Indiana Fever. Minnesota is tied with Chicago at 4-1, half a game behind 5-1 Seattle at the top of the league standings.

    Nascar goes double dippin in Michigan tomorrow afternoon at 3 and Sunday afternoon at 3:30.

    It"s all over for Minnesota United FC at the MLS is back tournament in Orlando. It was a good run for the Loons but they got beat by Orlando 3-1 last night to end their chance at the title.

    The first major of the PGA season got underway in San Francisco yesterday and Jason Day of Australia and Brendon Todd of the United States share the lead at 5 under par 65. 10 players are a shot back including Zach Johnson, Brooks Koepka and Justin Rose. Tiger Woods is 3 strokes out at 2 under tied with Patrick Reed, Bryson DeChambeau, Adam Scott and Paul Casey. Phil Mikelson is 2 over and some big names are way back at 3 over par like Justin Speith, Sergio Garcia and Ricky Fowler.

    Jay Paul

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    Wednesday Sports

    08/05/2020

    The Minnesota State High School League"s Board of Directors, at its meeting on Aug. 4, approved moving forward as scheduled with four Fall activities. Girls Tennis, Boys and Girls Cross Country, Boys and Girls Soccer and Girls Swimming and Diving beginning on Aug. 17 with limitations. The Board of Directors also approved moving Football and Volleyball to a modified spring 2021 season. Spring sports that lost their season in spring 2020 will be allowed to hold practices this fall, as will volleyball and football. The decisions to provide Fall seasons for Girls Tennis, Boys and Girls Cross Country, Boys and Girls Soccer and Girls Swimming and Diving and move competition in Football and Girls Volleyball to a spring season. In another Action Item, the Board of Directors approved a Finance Task Force recommendation that member schools will commit additional membership fees in creating an updated, sustainable business model for the League. Also included in the recommendation is the development of a strategic marketing plan that will generate financial support for League activities.

    Jose Berrios pitched six strong innings, Nelson Cruz had three hits and the Minnesota Twins beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 7-3 yesterday in a game briefly delayed when an unauthorized drone flew over Target Field. The Twins won their fifth game in a row, completed a 7-1 homestand and improved to 9-2 for the second time in the team's 60-year history. The other time was 2001. The game was delayed for nine minutes in the fifth inning and players were pulled off the field when the drone flew over center field. A few pitchers in the bullpen threw balls at the flying intruder, but missed. A bit wild early, Berrios settled down and allowed one run on four hits. He struck out six, walked three and threw 98 pitches. The Twins struck early again. Miguel Sano doubled and Eddie Rosario dribbled a single through the shift as part of a three-run first inning off Joe Musgrove. Cruz had a RBI single in the fourth. He has 17 hits, the most hits in MLB history through a season's first 11 games by a player at least 40 years old. Twins: 3B Josh Donaldson (calf tightness) missed his fourth straight game, but is "most likely" to play on the coming road trip. No corresponding move has been made after LHP Rich Hill (shoulder fatigue) was placed on the injured list Monday. Hill said he plans to throw a bullpen session this weekend. The Twins start a three-city, eight-game road trip tonight at 6:05 in Pittsburgh with RHP Randy Dobnak (1-1) taking the hill, a Pittsburgh-area native.

    The Vikings trade with the Las Vegas Raiders is off after defensive tackle P.J. Hall failed his physical yesterday. The Vikings on Monday had sent a conditional 2021 seventh-round draft selection to the Raiders in exchange for Hall. After the failed physical, Hall reverts back to the Raiders, who are expected to cut the former second-round pick. The 25-year-old Hall played in 30 games (18 starts) over the past two seasons but had just 1.5 sacks in that time. The Vikings' trade for Hall came a week after nose tackle Michael Pierce opted out of the 2020 season due to respiratory concerns. Minnesota's defensive line took another hit yesterday when defensive tackle Armon Watts.

    The Austin Greyhounds play in the region 5c quarterfinals Saturday night. The day starts at 10 when Red Wing plays Lake City, Rochester and Owatonna play at 1 followed by Cannon Falls vs Stewartville at 4 and then Austin takes on Wanamingo at 7. The semifinals are Sunday night.

    The 3-1 Minnesota Lynx take on the 0-4 NY Liberty tonight at 6 from the Florida bubble.

    Brooks Koepka will begin his quest for a third consecutive PGA Championship title at 10:11 on Thursday morning at TPC Harding Park. Tiger Woods, the other major champion from 2019, will be two groups behind, along with two other former PGA champions, Justin Thomas and Rory McIlroy. The damp, foggy, chilly surroundings at TPC Harding Park are not exactly the type of conditions Tiger Woods is embracing heading into the PGA Championship. But Woods is going for his 16th major title and what would be his 5th PGA championship. Jordan Spieth is trying to complete golf's career Grand Slam, with victories in all four major championships.The PGA is the only tournament separating Spieth from the lofty club of players who have accomplished the feat. Of course, Spieth, 27, could use a victory anywhere. The most recent of his 11 PGA Tour titles came at The Open in 2017, when he added to past victories in the Masters and U.S. Open, leaving only the PGA to complete the career slam. Only Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods have won each of the four majors, with Nicklaus and Woods doing so at least three times each. Spieth would love to become the sixth to complete the feat this week.

    Jay Paul

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    Tuesday Sports

    08/04/2020

    The Las Vegas Raiders traded defensive tackle P.J. Hall to the Minnesota Vikings for a conditional 2021 7th round draft choice yesterday if Hall is on the Vikings' 53-man roster for six games this season. The Raiders were ready to cut the 25 year old Hall, two years after selecting him in the second round of the 2018 NFL draft. Minnesota found itself in the market for a defensive tackle after Michael Pierce opted out of the 2020 season last week due to respiratory concerns that put him in the high-risk category during the coronavirus pandemic.

    ACTIVATED FROM RESERVE/COVID-19:

    55... Anthony Barr...LB.. 7....UCLA

    95...Ifeadi Odenigbo...DE...3...Northwestern

    PASSED PHYSICAL:

    14...Quartney Davis..WR...R...Texas A&M

    PLACED ON RESERVE/PHYSICALLY UNABLE TO PERFORM:

    42...Ben Gedeon...LB..4...Michigan

    WAIVED:

    16..Davion Davis...WR...1..Sam Houston State

    37...Kemon Hall...CB...1...North Texas

    The deadline for NFL players to opt out of the 2020 season will be Thursday at 3. The NFLPA agreed to shorten the window between the finalizing of the agreement and the opt-out deadline (which was originally supposed to be 7 days) in exchange for some concessions on the final language.

    As concern was growing that the NBA playoffs could be compromised with the sidelining of players because of largely unavoidable coronavirus testing glitches, the NBA has tightened its protocol on retesting and allowing players a return to the court within a 24-hour window. Now, a player returning an inconclusive result - which occurs in approximately five of every 1,000 tests - can still become eligible to play in a game that is within 24 hours - instead of needing to wait 48 hours. The player must test negative in an immediate retest upon receiving the inconclusive result, and then return another negative test within 60 minutes of the scheduled tipoff of his team's next game. Teams fear playoff scenarios where a key player could be lost - despite the fact that he hasn't tested positive for the coronavirus. Before this protocol change, there had been a two-day period of time that required two negative tests in successive 24-hour periods. Of course the NBA is testing players and staff every day in its 22-team restart at Disney's Wide World of Sports and has yet to have a positive test for the coronavirus among the players in the bubble.

    The NHL said yesterday that there have been no positive coronavirus tests through the first week in its two bubbles. The NHL has administered 7,013 tests since the 24 teams arrived in Edmonton, Alberta, and Toronto on July 26. Every member of each team's 52-person traveling party has been tested daily. The news is a positive sign for the NHL, which returned from a pause of more than four months with hopes of awarding a Stanley Cup in October. The NHL and NHL Players' Association made it a policy not to reveal the identity of anyone testing positive, using "unfit to play" as the catch-all designation for any player absences. The fact that there have been no positive tests adds some clarity about players who have been listed as unfit to play so far. Commissioner Gary Bettman previously said that the daily testing will cost the NHL millions of dollars but was essential if the league had any chance of creating a safe environment for players and staff. The NHL stood to lose more than $1.2 billion if it could not complete the season, but could recoup about half of that money if this summer's tournament finishes as planned. The NHL ultimately chose two Canadian cities for a restart after spikes in coronavirus cases in several U.S. states. Players were not allowed to bring family members with them to the bubbles, though the NHL and NHLPA are working out logistics to allow some family members to enter the bubble for the conference finals - at which point the entire tournament will be consolidated in Edmonton, where the Minnesota Wild will play tonight against Vancouver in game to of their best of 5 series that Minnesota leads 1 game to nil.

    The 7-2 Minnesota Twins fell behind 4-0 to the 2-6 Pittsburgh Pirates last night at Target Field as the Pirates scored single runs in 4 of the first 5 innings. But the Twins tied it with 4 in the 6th including Miguel Del Pozo walking all 3 batters he faced in relief. And that"s how it stayed until a 1 out walk off gapper to left in the bottom of the 9th by Nelson Cruz. Now the season is one 6th over and at 8-2 they are in the drivers seat in the AL Central. Same two teams in the final game of the homestand at 1:00 today. The Twins are already down two members of their projected Opening Day rotation with both Jake Odorizzi and Homer Bailey on the 10-day injured list. Now, Rich Hill missed his start last night due to a slowed recovery from his season debut. Minnesota manager Rocco Baldelli said that Hill experienced fatigue and mild soreness in his upper back following his start last Wednesday against the Cardinals. Hill threw 68 pitches, allowing two hits over five shutout innings. In a promising development, Odorizzi reported feeling "great" after a 52-pitch simulated outing at the club's alternate training site at CHS Field in St. Paul yesterday. Baldelli indicated that Odorizzi could rejoin the starting rotation this upcoming weekend in Kansas City. Baldelli and the Twins maintain that they expect Josh Donaldson's right calf tightness to be a minor issue despite the third baseman's history of calf injuries.

    Jay Paul

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    Tuesday Sports

    07/27/2020

    The Austin Greyhounds baseball team has won the Twin Rivers league with a 7-3 record. They actually tied with Rochester but the Hounds own the head to head tie breaker and are the 2020 league champions. They get a bye in the fitst round which starts tomorrow. And of course that means they wont know their opponent til after the first round but they do know they will start their playoff run on Saturday August 8th at 7 PM either in Red Wing or Cannon Falls.

    Justin Jefferson, the 22nd overall pick in this year's draft, was one of four Minnesota Vikings players that were placed on the team's reserve/COVID-19 list yesterday. The league's recently-implemented reserve/COVID-19 list includes players who either tested positive for the virus or who have been quarantined after having been in close contact with an infected person or persons. If a player falls into either category, their team is required to immediately place the player on the list. Earlier in the day, the Vikings announced that Eric Sugarman, the team's head trainer VP of sports medicine as well as the club's infection control officer, tested positive for COVID-19 along with members of his family. The four players mentioned in the team's reserve/COVID-19 list have not had any contact with Sugerman. The Vikings were not the only NFL team to place players on their reserve/COVID-19 list on Monday. The Jacksonville Jaguars placed four rookies on the list. Buccaneers third-round pick Ke'Shawn Vaughn, was placed on that club's list. On Friday,Chiefs guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif became the first NFL player to opt out of the 2020 season.Two other players, Seahawks lineman Chance Warmack and Ravens receiver De'Anthony Thomas, have also chosen to take the league's voluntary opt-out clause. NFL teams begin training camp today.

    The Minnesota Twins are back in action tonight in their home opener vs the St Louis Cardinals. Both teams are 2-1. Minnesota scored a major league leading 27 runs in their 3 game season opening series against the White Sox in Chicago while St Louis plated 15 in their 3 game series at home against Pittsburgh. Twins designated hitter Nelson Cruz and Chicago Cubs right-hander Kyle Hendricks have been named the first Players of the Week presented by Chevrolet of the 2020 season. Cruz earned American League honors after going 7-for-13 (.538) with three homers, two doubles, 10 RBIs and a 1.956 OPS in Minnesota"s first three games. This is the seventh time he has been named Player of the Week. The Cubs righty Hendricks won the National league award after he tossed a three-hit shutout with nine strikeouts and no walks against the Brewers on Friday, giving him MLB"s first Opening Day shutout since Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw threw one in 2013. Also the first power rankings are out and Minnesota is 3rd in the Majors behind the LA Dodgers and NY Yankees.

    The North American Hockey League has announced that the 2020, 2021 regular season will begin on Friday, October 9th, 2020. That"s only 74 days from now. A formal announcement regarding the Austin Bruins schedules is expected to be released by September 1. But hockey returns for the Bruons this week as they begin Main Camp today. On Friday the Bruins will host their annual All-Star Game which pits the final 40-50 players against one another as they battle for roster positions. To get your tickets to the first hockey event of the season, give the Bruins front office a call at 507-434-4978. All tickets are $10 and custom Bruins face masks can also be purchased for an additional $10. Social distancing and masks will be required of all who attend the game.

    Minnesota United FC is back in action tonight in the MLS is back tournament against Columbus Crew SC. Columbus has the most points of any team in the league, has yet to give up a goal in their three wins in this tournament. Minnesota was outplayed for large stretches of all three of its group-stage games so far, but has developed an incredible knack for playing brief, outstanding periods of soccer, as was the case with a pair of stoppage-time goals to snatch a win against SKC and two goals in the span of seven minutes in a draw vs. Colorado. Ozzie Alonso and Hassani Dotson will need to be exceptional in helping shield the Loons' back line from Lucas Zelarayan and Darlington Nagbe because without two-time Defender of the Year Ike Opara, Minnesota will struggle to contain them. Gametime is 7 O"Clock tonight on ESPN. Last night Magnus Eriksson converted two second-half penalty kicks, and the San Jose Earthquakes scored four times after the break to advance to the quarterfinals of the MLS is Back Tournament with a 5-2 victory over Real Salt Lake. The Minnesota Columbus winner will face San Jose in the quarters.

    Jay Paul

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    Monday Sports

    07/26/2020

    Jake Cave hit a grand slam, Nelson Cruz homered twice with 7 rbi and Twins starter Kenta Maeda was strong in his debut with his new team, helping Minnesota beat the Chicago White Sox 14-2 on Sunday. Cruz added two doubles for the reigning AL Central champion Twins, who won two of three to open the season in Chicago. Maeda allowed two runs and struck out six in five innings. Cave hit his second career grand slam in the first. Cruz went 7 for 13 with 10 RBI and three home runs in the series. Marwin Gonzalez added a solo shot in the ninth for the Twins, who hit a major league-record 307 homers last season. And have 7 in three games so far which is on pace for 140 this 60 game season. Minnesota has today off and CF Byron Buxton (sprained left foot) could return tomorrow in the home opener against St. Louis in which Twins RHP Homer Bailey makes his Minnesota debut against St. Louis and RHP Carlos Martinez.

    Dalvin Cook's agent said the Minnesota Vikings running back has not talked with coach Mike Zimmer about reporting to camp and ending his holdout despite what Zimmer said during a news conference Saturday. On a conference call to address the three-year extension Zimmer was awarded this week, the Vikings' coach said the running back told him he will show up at training camp on Tuesday, when veterans are set to report. But Cook's agent, Zac Hiller, said that conversation did not happen. Cook is in the ladt year of his rookue contract and will make $1.3 million in 2020. In June, the running back's camp announced that Cook will hold out until he receives a "reasonable" contract extension. A new deal for the running back has yet to be reached. New language in the NFL's collective bargaining agreement would hinder Cook if he were to not report on the mandated date or within the grace period given to players at the start of camp. Per the CBA, Cook would not receive an accrued season toward free agency if he does not show up to camp on time and would become a restricted free agent.

    Sylvia Fowles had 17 points and 18 rebounds, Napheesa Collier scored nine of her 11 points in the final five minutes, and the Minnesota Lynx rallied from an 11-point second-half deficit to beat the Connecticut Sun 77-69 on Sunday in the WNBA season opener for both teams. The 2020 WNBA season is being played in a bubble at the IMG Academy in Florida. Shenise Johnson scored 13 points for Minnesota and rookie Crystal Dangerfield 10 in her WNBA debut. The 1-0 Lynx play the 1-0 Seattle Storm tomorrow night.

    Michael Thompson birdied two of the last three holes Sunday for a 4-under 67 and a four day total of 19 under par, a two-stroke victory, finishing off his second PGA Tour win seven years after his first. Adam Long took second after a 64 yesterday. Richy Werenski who shared the lead with Thompson after both Friday and Saturday, had a 70 for his worst round of the tournament and settled for a nine-way tie for third - three strokes back. Tony Finau finished in the third-place group, too, after he fired a three under 68 Sunday. He was the only one among the five world top-30 players in the field to reach the weekend, far outperforming fellow high-profile peers Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Tommy Fleetwood and Paul Casey. With this win, Thompson not only secured a spot in the PGA Championship, the U.S. Open and next year's Masters, but a prize of nearly $1.2 million. In stroke play over the last four seasons, Finau has finished 35 rounds inside the top three, by far the most without a win on tour over that stretch. Tommy Fleetwood (20) has the second most.

    Jay Paul

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    Monday Sports

    07/26/2020

    Jake Cave hit a grand slam, Nelson Cruz homered twice with 7 rbi and Twins starter Kenta Maeda was strong in his debut with his new team, helping Minnesota beat the Chicago White Sox 14-2 on Sunday. Cruz added two doubles for the reigning AL Central champion Twins, who won two of three to open the season in Chicago. Maeda allowed two runs and struck out six in five innings. Cave hit his second career grand slam in the first. Cruz went 7 for 13 with 10 RBI and three home runs in the series. Marwin Gonzalez added a solo shot in the ninth for the Twins, who hit a major league-record 307 homers last season. And have 7 in three games so far which is on pace for 140 this 60 game season. Minnesota has today off and CF Byron Buxton (sprained left foot) could return tomorrow in the home opener against St. Louis in which Twins RHP Homer Bailey makes his Minnesota debut against St. Louis and RHP Carlos Martinez.

    Dalvin Cook's agent said the Minnesota Vikings running back has not talked with coach Mike Zimmer about reporting to camp and ending his holdout despite what Zimmer said during a news conference Saturday. On a conference call to address the three-year extension Zimmer was awarded this week, the Vikings' coach said the running back told him he will show up at training camp on Tuesday, when veterans are set to report. But Cook's agent, Zac Hiller, said that conversation did not happen. Cook is in the ladt year of his rookue contract and will make $1.3 million in 2020. In June, the running back's camp announced that Cook will hold out until he receives a "reasonable" contract extension. A new deal for the running back has yet to be reached. New language in the NFL's collective bargaining agreement would hinder Cook if he were to not report on the mandated date or within the grace period given to players at the start of camp. Per the CBA, Cook would not receive an accrued season toward free agency if he does not show up to camp on time and would become a restricted free agent.

    Sylvia Fowles had 17 points and 18 rebounds, Napheesa Collier scored nine of her 11 points in the final five minutes, and the Minnesota Lynx rallied from an 11-point second-half deficit to beat the Connecticut Sun 77-69 on Sunday in the WNBA season opener for both teams. The 2020 WNBA season is being played in a bubble at the IMG Academy in Florida. Shenise Johnson scored 13 points for Minnesota and rookie Crystal Dangerfield 10 in her WNBA debut. The 1-0 Lynx play the 1-0 Seattle Storm tomorrow night.

    Michael Thompson birdied two of the last three holes Sunday for a 4-under 67 and a four day total of 19 under par, a two-stroke victory, finishing off his second PGA Tour win seven years after his first. Adam Long took second after a 64 yesterday. Richy Werenski who shared the lead with Thompson after both Friday and Saturday, had a 70 for his worst round of the tournament and settled for a nine-way tie for third - three strokes back. Tony Finau finished in the third-place group, too, after he fired a three under 68 Sunday. He was the only one among the five world top-30 players in the field to reach the weekend, far outperforming fellow high-profile peers Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Tommy Fleetwood and Paul Casey. With this win, Thompson not only secured a spot in the PGA Championship, the U.S. Open and next year's Masters, but a prize of nearly $1.2 million. In stroke play over the last four seasons, Finau has finished 35 rounds inside the top three, by far the most without a win on tour over that stretch. Tommy Fleetwood (20) has the second most.

    Jay Paul

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    Thursday Sports

    07/23/2020

    In townball the Austin Greyhounds got clobbered in Owatonna 12-2 to fall to 6-3 on the season, still good for first place in the Twin Rivers League. They are at home vs Dodge County tomorrow night at 7:30 from Marcusen Park in Austin.

    Mike Zimmer has agreed to a multi-year contract extension with the Minnesota Vikings. The 64-year-old coach was entering the final year of his current contract with the club. Including the playoffs, Zimmer has compiled a 59-41-1 record during his first six seasons with the franchise. The Vikings have made the playoffs three times under Zimmer that included a trip to the NFL title game in 2017. In 2019, after just falling short of the postseason in 2018, the Vikings went 10-6 during the regular season before upsetting the Saints in the wild card round of the NFC playoffs. Minnesota would then fall to the eventual NFC champion 49ers in the divisional round. Zimmer is already the third-winningest coach in Vikings history, behind Hall of Fame coach Bud Grant and Dennis Green. He said he doesn't see any reason he can't coach until he's 70.

    The NFL is preparing to begin the 2020 season with several teams reporting for training camp this week including the Minnesota Vikings today. This is the first time that organizations will get to hit the field and install schemes prior to the regular season. Now, the NFL is entertaining the idea of letting fans be in attendance for regular-season games. All indications are the league will require fans to wear face coverings at games. The NFL will potentially make a decision on the season in the near future. It will go a long way in deciding if fans will be allowed in stadiums.

    The PGA tour is at TPC Twin Cities in Blaine for the next event today through Sunday. There is 6.6 million dollars in the purse. It"s a par 71 course. Not a lot of big names in the tournament. Brooks Koepke, Tony Finau and Dustin Johnson tee off early in the day. No Tiger, no Phil, no world #1 John Rahm, no world #2 Rory McElroy, no world #3 Justin Thomas. No Bryson DeChambeau.

    Homer Bailey lived up to his name in the Minnesota Twins only exhibition game at Wrigley Field last night. He gave up a two run Homer to the second batter of the game, Anthony Rizzo and a solo Homer to the 5th batter in the 1st inning, Willson Contreras, who hit another solo Homer off of Bailey in the 3rd. The Twins got 2 runs in the 5th on a passed ball and a wild pitch and another one in the 7th on sn rbi from Jorge Polanco but still came up a run short 4-3. They open the 60 game regular season tomorrow night at 7:10 at the Chicago White Sox. Jose Berrios vs Lucas Giolito. The MLB season starts tonight with two games. The NY Yankees visit defending champion Washington at 6 then San Francisco at the LA Dodgers in the nightcap.

    When baseball launches without fans in the stands, those watching games at home will still be able to cheer or clap for their favorite teams virtually. Major League Baseball is launching a feature today on Opening Day that will allow fans to interact with their team's games on its website, Gameday app and through social media links. Scoreboard operators at ballparks will receive a live interface reflecting fan reaction, allowing the operator to adjust the type of artificial fan noise pumped to empty stadiums. With the fan-interactive features, those logged in will be able to see what percentage of those watching root for certain teams while seeing the three reactions icons pop up on screen, similar to the hearts on an Instagram Live video. The option to log into the cheering feature will pop up alongside the Gameday score graphic and pitch-charting visual. It also will be spotlighted on team websites and teams will share links on social media. Expect the online fan interactivity to evolve over the course of the season. Teams eventually will be able to stream their prerecorded, between-inning entertainment features - such as mascot races, hat races or Beat the Freeze in Atlanta - through the fan-interactive feature.

    Minnesota United FC got two first half Ethan Finley goals against Colorado to go up 2-1 at the break. Colorado scored the only goal of the 2nd half and it ended in a 2-2 draw. Now it"s the round of 16 and Minnesota United FC plays Columbus next Tuesday in the knockout round.

    Nascar has a rare Thursday night race tonight at 6:30 as they go round and round for four hundred miles in Kansas. Brad Keselowski is the defending race champion. And he"s 3rd in the points standing this season behind Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin. Keselowski has more points than Hamlin but Denny has 4 wins to 2 for Brad. 9 races left until the 10 race chase.

    Jay Paul

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    Hump Day Sports

    07/21/2020

    In townball the Austin Greyhounds are back in action tonight. The 6-2 Hounds lead the Twin Rivers League and they travel to Owatonna to tangle with the 4-4 Aces. The Hounds are undefeated on the road this season. Gametime is 7:30.

    For the second time in two months, the Austin Bruins added to their stable of players, selecting six in this season"s NAHL Entry Draft. In mid-May, the Bruins selected two defensemen and a goaltender in the NAHL"s Supplemental Draft and followed it up yesterday by selecting four forwards and two defensemen. Off the board first for the Bruins was forward Alex Trombley out of Howell, MI, with the 18th overall pick. Trombley was tendered by the Bruins in 2018-19 but played exclusively in the USHL with the Madison Capitals for the 2019-20 season where he registered an assist in eight games played. Prior to playing in the USHL, Trombley competed for the Bismarck Bobcats for 27 games in 2017-18 where he racked up five goals during that span. The 6-foot, 161-pounder is committed to playing college hockey at Ohio State University. In the second round, the Bruins returned to the blue-line picking Therien Thiesing with the 45th overall pick.Thie 17 year old spent the last four season playing in the Chicago Mission program and most recently competed with their U16 team. The Franklin, IL, native is familiar with the NAHL after his older brother, Camden, played for the Chippewa Steel in 2018-19. Thiesing marks the third d-man taken by the Bruins this offseason following Jackson McCarthy and Ben Dexheimer who were selected in the NAHL Supplemental Draft. The Bruins also took Rosemount, MN, native Garrett Horsager at 93 overall. The 6-foot, 170-pound defenseman played the last two seasons at Rosemount High. Six picks later, the Bruins went back to the offense selecting forward Jimmy Akouri. A 5-foot-8, 170-pounder who registered 35 total points in 39 games for the Compuware AAA program in the last three seasons.In the fifth round, with the 126th overall selection, the Bruins took forward Mason Poolman out of East Grand Forks High School. Poolman, 18, played three seasons of high school hockey for East Grand Forks. Their final selection was Gavin Gunderson of Rochester Century. The 18-year-old Gunderson registered 66 total points in 48 games across the three leagues. Up next for the newest Bruins, they"ll have the chance to earn a spot on the Bruins roster by competing in the teams Main Camp in late July. Capping off the Main Camp on July 31 is the All-Star game where the final 40 players are split up and will scrimmage against each other in an attempt to land on the Bruins final roster. Tickets for the All-Star Game are $10 and on sale now through the Bruins front office by calling 507-434-4978.

    The PGA tour is at TPC Twin Cities in Blaine for the next event tomorrow through Sunday. There is 6.6 million dollars in the purse. It"s a par 71 course. Minnesotans Tom Lehman and Tim Herron go off in the same threesome at 8:10. Not a lot of big names in the tournament. Brooks Koepke tees off at 7:20 with Tony Finau and Dustin Johnson starting at 7:30. No Tiger, no Phil, no world #1 John Rahm, no world #2 Rory McElroy, no world #3 Justin Thomas. No Bryson DeChambeau.

    Owner Glen Taylor is exploring a sale of the Minnesota Timberwolves. Taylor confirmed to The Athletic that he has retained The Raine Group, a global merchant bank, to look into a potential sale of the team he has owned since 1995. Taylor told The Athletic that he will not sell the team to a group that wants to move it out of Minneapolis. Taylor said, "People have inquired who are interested but they want to move the team. They are not a candidate. We've made that very clear." Sportico, which first reported Taylor's interest in selling the Wolves, says he's seeking "at least $1.2 billion" for the franchise. The website also reported that a deal for the team could be agreed to within a month.

    It wasn't immediately clear how many groups have expressed interest in buying the Wolves, although former Minnesota star Kevin Garnett wrote on social media that he is part of one of them. KG said, “I'm part of one of the groups trying," on Instagram, with fingers crossed and folded hands prayer emojis. "Lawd please let my group get this."

    The NBA informed teams Tuesday that the NBA draft lottery has been changed from Aug. 25 to Aug. 20. The NBA draft will be on Oct.16, as had been previously reported. As the NBA continues to ramp up its restart inside the bubble on the campus of the Walt Disney World Resort, the league continues to move toward the resumption of its offseason. The memo informed teams of the 105 players who received the most votes to be included in the league's annual combine - a number that will eventually be whittled down to 70. The combine, which typically takes place in Chicago in mid-May in concert with the draft lottery, still hasn't been officially rescheduled, but the league said in the memo that it is still evaluating potential dates and formats to hold the event. The league also stressed that teams should still operate under the assumption that college players who entered the draft process will have until Aug. 3 to decide whether to go back to school or forgo their eligibility and remain in the draft. The NCAA had previously announced college players would have either until Aug. 3 or 10 days after the combine - whichever came first - to decide. With the combine still not rescheduled, players will have to decide by Aug. 3. The NBA will begin scrimmages inside the bubble today- the first live NBA action since the league was shut down due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic on March 11. The first of the seeding games that each of the 22 teams in the restart will play in Orlando will be next Thursday, July 30, when the Utah Jazz play the New Orleans Pelicans and the Los Angeles Lakers face the LA Clippers.

    The Minnesota Twins finally get in on the preseason act tonight at 6 when they take on the Chicago Cubs in Summer Camp action at Wrigley Field. They open the season Friday across town in Chicago against the White Sox.

    Minnesota United FC has a match tonight at 9:30 vs Colorado, their final one before the knockout round. The Loons need a win or s draw to advance, but if Columbus should falter against Atlanta, Minnesota has the chance to take the lead in the Supporters" Shield race, so expect the Loons to go hard for the W in this one.

    Jay Paul

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    Tuesday Sports

    07/20/2020

    The NFL on Monday made an offer to the NFL Players Association to play no preseason games this summer. The players had been pushing not to play preseason games this year, while the league had most recently been seeking to play two games instead of the usual four. The league's proposal to the players also includes an offer for a longer training camp acclimation period, and that is closer to what the union has proposed. The NFLPA has not yet informed the league whether it will accept the proposal. Earlier yesterday, the league said players will be tested daily for the coronavirus for at least the first two weeks of training camp. When Minnesota Vikings players, coaches and other team employees return to TCO Performance Center for training camp, individuals will be given a proximity tracking device upon entering the facility to aid with contact tracing efforts during the coronavirus pandemic. Eric Sugarman, the Vikings' head athletic trainer and infection control officer said the contact tracing system is specifically for those in the internal tiers and will not include media in Tier 2M or 3OA. While individuals in Tier 1 (players, coaches, trainers, physicians, equipment and strength and conditioning staff) and Tier 2 (ownership representatives, general managers, operations, football administration, communications, video and security staff) are allowed to interact, those with a Tier 3 designation (cleaning service providers, in-house media, broadcast personnel, field maintenance, transportation providers) cannot intermix with anyone in Tier 1 and 2. The goal for the contact tracing system is to track individuals who become ill in the building or test positive for COVID-19. Sugarman said the Vikings will be able to instantly generate a report that will show who a person was in contact with in the last 24 hours.

    The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association said Monday that coronavirus tests of 346 players at the league's bubble campus in Orlando, Florida, since July 13 have yielded zero positives. When the league announced its initial batch of tests in the bubble on July 13, it said two of 322 players tested came back positive. The NBA announced the rosters for all 22 teams participating in the season's resumption at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, part of the Walt Disney World Resort. NBA games are set to resume next Monday. Each of the teams participating in the restart will play three intersquad scrimmages starting tomorrow.

    The top spot in Group D is on the line this Wednesday. Real Salt Lake, Minnesota United FC, and Sporting Kansas City all have a chance to win the group and earn an easier draw in the knockout round as Real Salt Lake and Minnesota United FC have four points and Sporting KC are sitting on three points. Minnesota United needs a win or a draw and they have the easiest matchup of the group as the Loons face the winless Colorado Rapids, but the Rapids would love to play spoiler after losing their two previous games. The game is at 9:30 tomorrow night on ESPN. It hasn"t been easy for Minnesota to play without the reigning MLS Defender of the Year, but the Loons have made it work. Ike Opara was the best center back in the league last year, and his offensive impact has been missed too. Kevin Molino has looked sharp throughout the MLS is Back Tournament. Molino works well in space, and he has done a good job of finding players in the middle of the field. The Loons" inability to find offensive success has not been through a lack of effort on his part, and he could find real success against a depleted Rapids back line.

    PGA Tour player Grayson Murray said he has tested positive for COVID-19 after experiencing coronavirus symptoms while at home last week and has withdrawn from this week's 3M Championship in Minnesota. Players are required to take an at-home COVID-19 test before traveling to an event, but Murray said via his Instagram account that quote “On Friday I started having symptoms of a migraine, runny nose, loss of smell/taste. I was supposed to leave for a tournament in the morning but knew getting a plane feeling crappy wasn't a good idea.'' Murray is the seventh known PGA Tour player to contract the virus, but the PGA Tour said Murray's positive test was not part of its testing program. Through the first six weeks of the season's restart, the tour has said that six other players as well as three caddies have tested positive. Anyone who took a tour-organized charter flight to Minnesota this week would have been tested before being allowed to board; further testing will take place on site before the tournament.

    An overwhelming majority of sports fans polled by ESPN say they support the return of professional and collegiate sports even if fans will not be in attendance due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. ESPN's Study found 78% were in favor of sports resuming play despite restrictions on fan attendance, a double-digit increase from the previous poll, conducted in mid-April. With MLS, the NWSL and UFC already underway and MLB, the NBA, the WNBA and the NHL set to resume play in the next couple of weeks, fans are clearly ready for the return of sports - with 59% saying they can't wait to see sports back on television and are planning to watch as much as they can (up from 56% in April). Meanwhile, the prolonged suspension of live sporting events has left 64% of fans with a greater appreciation for them, with 84% of avid fans expressing the same sentiment.

    Jay Paul

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    Monday Sports

    07/19/2020

    The Twin Rivers league leading Austin Greyhounds townball team was busy this weekend. Austin took care of Pine Island Friday on the road and then went to Waseca Saturday and outscored the Braves 11-9. But Sunday Austin lost at home to Wanamingo 7-2. So now the Hounds are 6-2 and still alone in first place. They have two games this week, at Owatonna Wednesday night at 7:30 then come home Friday night at 7:30 vs the Dodge County Diamondbacks.

    Assuming there is an NFL season and teams travel to and from different cities to play games, many new regulations will be in place for players and team personnel on the road. The league will mandate that team buses cannot be more than 50% full, that there must be at least one open seat between passengers on team planes, that everyone will get his or her own hotel room on the road and that all players and team personnel must wear face coverings while on the road. Teams and players also are being told that they will not be allowed to leave their hotel rooms to eat in or otherwise use restaurants that are open to the public. They will be allowed to use room service and contactless food-delivery services. These are among the guidelines that were released Friday as part of a long document detailing coronavirus-related procedures that will govern league operations in training camp and throughout the season. The league plans to continue to work to educate players and other team employees about the virus and how to operate within the pandemic. Each team is required to hold at least one live virtual information session for players and staff and another one for family members.

    The folks from BetOnline have put together a list of teams current Dallas Cowboys <https://www.sbnation.com/nfl/teams/dallas-cowboys> quarterback Dak Prescott <https://www.sbnation.com/nfl/players/277167/dak-prescott> could be playing for in 2021. Prescott <https://www.sbnation.com/nfl/players/313609/dak-prescott> had the franchise tag <http://www.sbnation.com/nfl/2017/2/14/14584232/how-does-the-nfl-franchise-tag-work-players-paid> placed on him by the Cowboys and the two sides could not come to a long-term deal before the start of this season, so there"s bound to be speculation. BetOnline has the Indianapolis Colts <https://www.sbnation.com/nfl/teams/indianapolis-colts> as the favorite at 6-to-1, and the Chicago Bears <https://www.sbnation.com/nfl/teams/chicago-bears> right behind them at 7-to-1. I only mention this because the Vikings are listed next with the Los Angeles Chargers <https://www.sbnation.com/nfl/teams/los-angeles-chargers> with 8-to-1 odds. The Vikings just extended Kirk Cousins <https://www.sbnation.com/nfl/players/155013/kirk-cousins>" contract to put him under Minnesota"s control until 2022. The implication is that the Vikings would go after Prescott, give him more money than their current QB and trade Cousins away somewhere. The only way the “Vikings sign Dak Prescott <https://www.sbnation.com/nfl/players/302269/dak-prescott> and trade Kirk Cousins <https://www.sbnation.com/nfl/players/301080/kirk-cousins>” scenario makes any sense is if the Vikings completely bottom out this season, Rick Spielman and Mike Zimmer end up getting fired, and a full-scale house cleaning takes place. I guess time will tell on that front.

    The MLB preseason games started up over the weekend. Your Minnesota Twins will only play 1 exhibition, Wednesday at the Chicago Cubs, before opening the regular season Friday at the Chicago White Sox. All-Star right-hander Jose Berrios <https://www.espn.com/mlb/player/_/id/32811/jose-berrios> will start the season opener according to Manager Rocco Baldelli. Berrios went 14-8 with a 3.68 ERA and 195 strikeouts in 200 1/3 innings last year, all tops in hid 4 year career.

    The Twins removed second baseman Luis Arraez <http://www.espn.com/mlb/player/_/id/39572/luis-arraez> from their intrasquad scrimmage on Friday as a precaution for tendinitis in his right knee. Center fielder Byron Buxton <https://www.espn.com/mlb/player/_/id/32655/byron-buxton> is also recovering from a left mid-foot sprain suffered on the field last Monday.

    After opening up a considerable lead Saturday, and with the world's No. 1 ranking in sight with a potential win in the Memorial, Jon Rahm fired a final-round 73 en route to the title, outlasting Ryan Palmer and Matthew Fitzpatrick, who finished second and third, respectively.

    Austin Dillon stayed in front after a restart with two laps to go and beat rookie Tyler Reddick to the checkered flag at Texas. Dillon raced to his third career win and first since Daytona at the start of the 2018 season. He stayed in front on three late restarts, the first after an incident with 29 laps left that shuffled the fast car of Ryan Blaney to a lap back. On the final restart, Dillon got a good jump and raced to the checkered flag ahead of his rookie teammate and some veteran drivers. Joey Logano finished third.

    Jay Paul

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    Friday Sports

    07/17/2020

    This is accurate information. State officials expected to announce back-to-school protocols week of July 27, the mshsl board of directors will meet Aug. 4. As of right now, plan is for fall sports practices to begin on schedule Aug. 17.

    The Twin rivers division leading Austin Greyhounds townball team is busy this weekend. Austin is tied with Dodge County at the top of the division at 4-1.

    Austin Greyhounds vs 1-2 Pine Island Pioneers

    Friday, Jul 17 @ 7:30 PM, Pine Island

    Austin Greyhounds vs 3-3 Waseca Braves

    Saturday, Jul 18 @ 7:00 PM, Waseca

    Austin Greyhounds vs 2-3 Wanamingo Jacks

    Sunday, Jul 19 @ 6:00 PM, Austin

    Tony Finau seemed to make everything at the Memorial golf tournament yesterday. Finau finished with seven birdies over his last 10 holes in the first round finishing with a 6-under 66 on a Muirfield Village course that was faster and tougher than last week in the Workday Charity Open. That gave him a one-shot lead over Ryan Palmer. Only seven players broke 70, compared with 35 rounds in the 60s for the first round last week. Bryson DeChambeau hit one drive 423 yards with the wind at his back, leaving him 46 yards to the pin on No. 1. He still managed only a 73. Tiger Woods, back on the PGA Tour for the first time in five months, opened with a 10-foot birdie and finished with a 15-foot birdie for a 1-under 71, leaving him five shots behind. Rory McIlroy had two great short-game shots on the back nine that led to par and birdie, and he was in a group at 70 that included Jordan Spieth and defending champion Patrick Cantlay.

    The Minnesota Loons play Real Salt Lake tonight at 9:30 on the MLS is back tournament. They opened the tourney with a win over Kansas City.

    Nascar makes left turns Sunday at 2 from Texas motor speedway

    An NFLPA database shows that 72 NFL players were known to have tested positive for the coronavirus as of July 10. As the NFL and the NFL Players Association continue to negotiate rules under which training camps can begin later this month and the regular season begins in September, the union is trying to make sure its members are kept up to date on the presence of the coronavirus around the country and in their specific communities. The 72 number is difficult to put into context, because not every player in the league, or even a very large number, has been tested. But estimating 32 traditional 90-man training camp rosters would give you a number of 2,880 total NFL players at the moment, which means the 72 represent 2.5% of the league's player population. Training camp for most teams is scheduled to begin July 28.

    The Minnesota Twins had an off-day on Thursday and Opening Day in Chicago looms just more than a week away, hear are some things we've learned about Minnesota in Summer Camp. 1. The team is (mostly) in good health and physical condition. Aside from Byron Buxton"s foot and the three players who remain sidelined due to COVID-19, the club hasn't seen any significant baseball-related injuries throughout the hiatus or the two weeks of camp. The Twins arrived in camp in great condition and seem to have responded well to the ramp-up. And with optimistic outlooks for both Buxton and Miguel Sanó, this team could still be in good condition come next Friday - much better condition than they would have been in for a March 26 Opening Day, anyway. Newly acquired 3rd baseman Josh Donaldson's good-natured-yet-competitive personality has become fully apparent. Donaldson does plenty of jawing with his teammates when he's in the batter's box, whether he's shouting at the pitcher in joking triumph after he beats the shift for a single or yelling at the (robot) umpire for what he perceived to be an incorrect strike call. At one point, after hitting a ball in the vicinity of the right-field foul pole that his teammates deemed to be foul, Donaldson rounded the bases and did an energetic home-run celebration anyway. The pitching depth is in great shape

    It may have raised some eyebrows when Twins pitching coach Wes Johnson said that the club would stretch out 10 starters in Major League camp. That's not just for show. That's just how deep this pitching staff is, and they've mostly looked the part throughout Summer Camp.The five projected members of the starting rotation - José Berríos, Jake Odorizzi, Kenta Maeda, Rich Hill and Homer Bailey - have fared well in intrasquad games against their teammates.

    The ugly swings that you'd expect to see induced by Hill's fastball-curveball combination have been prevalent throughout camp, which is a great sign for the Twins, who acquired Hill with the hope that he could emulate his 3.00 ERA and 10.6 strikeouts-per-nine-innings rate from the past four seasons. For now, there's little reason to believe he won't.

    Jay Paul

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    Thursday Sports

    07/15/2020

    Lake Mills softball fell behind North Union 8-0 in their first round playoff game yesterday. The Bulldogs did score 4 in the 6th but still ended their season with a 9-4 loss and a 2-12 record. 5-7 Northwood Kensett softball was at home vs 9-6 St Ansgar last night in a second round matchup. But the Saints were too much for the Vikings as they shut em out 13-0 in 6 innings.

    Tiger Woods will be accompanied by two of golf's biggest names when he returns to the PGA Tour at this week's Memorial. Woods will play with Rory McIlroy and Brooks Koepka in the opening two rounds at Muirfield starting today. Other featured groups include Phil Mickelson, Justin Rose, Shane Lowry; Bryson DeChambeau, Collin Morikawa, Patrick Cantlay; The Memorial will be Woods' first official event since Feb. 16 - the final round of the Genesis Invitational, in which he shot 77 and finished last among those who made the cut.

    Miguel Sanó was at his first Twins practice of the summer yesterday at Target Field and he said, "I came here to hit some bombas, like I do. And now, I'm ready to play every day and ready to start the season." Sanó said he nearly cried when he got the call from Twins head athletic trainer Michael Salazar informing the first baseman that he had cleared the testing protocol and was eligible to join his teammates in Summer Camp. Sanó had tested positive for COVID-19 upon arrival in Minneapolis as part of the club's intake protocol and had to remain in quarantine until he exhibited two negative tests at least 24 hours apart. Sanó said, "When I got back to the States, I tested positive and it was really hard because I had to isolate myself. I cried in bed at night missing my family and the people around me because I had to be by myself to protect them as well." Opening Day is only nine days away, and Sanó will need all the reps he can get on defense in particular as he adjusts to first base due to the arrival of Josh Donaldson in Minneapolis. Sanó said he bounced plastic balls against the wall to practice his defensive technique as he quarantined in his basement, separated from the rest of the house. He's studied footage of first basemen like Justin Morneau, Albert Pujols and Miguel Cabrera as part of his adjustment to the position. He also spoke with Morneau throughout the original Spring Training period in addition to his work with third-base coach and infield coordinator Tony Diaz.

    Three of the best NHL prospects playing in Russia's KHL - signed deals with their respective NHL clubs this week. Kirill Kaprizov of the Minnesota Wild, Alexander Romanov of the Montreal Canadiens and Ilya Sorokin of the NY Islanders. There's only one catch: They won't be available to play for their teams in this summer's 24-team restart. Each team decided to burn a year of their prospect's eligibility and utilized a 53-hour window which began Monday to sign their respective draft picks, happy just to get them in the building. According to an agreement between the NHL and NHLPA, any player signing a new contract for the 2019-20 season will be able to participate in training camp and travel to the bubble but will be ineligible to play in postseason games. The 23-year-old Kaprizov, a fifth-round pick by Minnesota in 2015, secured a two-year deal. Kaprizov scored the game-winning goal in the Olympic gold-medal game in 2018, which made him a national hero. Kaprizov has been viewed as the next great NHL superstar to come over from the KHL. The Wild campaigned for Kaprizov to be eligible immediately, though that was ultimately denied. Wild GM Bill Guerin said, “I stated my case. There are things going on at the league and negotiations going on at the league, and decisions are made there for a reason. When they make them, you don't have to like it, but you have to support it. We'll deal with it. ... It's disappointing that we won't have him available to us, but in the bigger picture he'll be part of our team and we'll be really happy about that."

    Jay Paul

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    Tuesday Sports

    07/13/2020

    Minnesota Wild General Manager Bill Guerin says the club has signed forward Kirill Kaprizov to a two-year, entry-level contract starting with the 2019-20 season. The 23 year old 5 foot 9, 185-pound winger set career highs in goals, even-strength goals, assists, points and shots on goal and tied his career best in games played while leading the KHL in goals for the second straight season and ranked third in scoring, T-4th in GWG and fifth in plus/minus rating. The left-shot forward collected two hat tricks and became the youngest player in KHL history. Guerin said, "He has exceeded all expectations in his development since he was drafted in 2015. Kirill is a smart and dynamic forward that has led the KHL in goals each of the past two seasons and we look forward to having him on our roster when next season starts." Kaprizov was selected by Minnesota in the fifth round of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. He can join the Wild for practices in Edmonton for the upcoming playoffs but can"t play in games until the 2020-2021 season.

    In the name of health and safety, NFL players could be sporting a whole new look in 2020. The Oakley Mouth Shield - a product designed by Oakley in collaboration with doctors and engineers from the NFL and NFL Players Association to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus on the field of play - is expected to be distributed to all 32 teams over the next week, when it will receive a test drive on a much larger scale than it has gotten to date. Safety protocol negotiations are ongoing between the league and players. Currently, there is no mandate to wear a face shield, but the NFL's medical experts are advocating for the use of the protective equipment. The Oakley Prizm Lens Technology used by skiers, military personnel and, most recently, NFL players for enhanced color and contrast in their visors is featured in the new design. Plastic sheets extend down and attach to the face guard. There are airways and openings on the mouth shield but none that allow the direct transmission of droplets. Quarterbacks who tested them recently were able to effectively call out plays, following initial responses that the sound was too muffled. Oakley has conducted internal testing in which it has sprayed particles of fluid to represent droplets expelled by players and has seen a high success rate of blocked particles.

    Minnesota Twins center fielder Byron Buxton <https://www.mlb.com/player/621439> was carted off the field during the third inning of Minnesota's intrasquad scrimmage on Monday at Target Field after injuring his left foot while tracking a fly ball. Manager Rocco Baldelli said the initial "once-over" did not appear to reveal anything serious and that the club is cautiously optimistic, but Buxton will undergo more testing. Buxton originally retreated in the direction of the warning track in right-center field as he settled under a deep fly hit by Nelson Cruz before appearing to adjust his route toward the ball. He suddenly fell to the grass and remained down on the field while right fielder LaMonte Wade Jr. immediately gestured to the dugout for the medical staff. The 26-year-old Buxton had been eager to get back on the field as a full participant in Summer Camp following his full recovery from left shoulder surgery last September that repaired a torn labrum sustained during a collision with the outfield wall at Marlins Park. He was unable to hit with the team or participate in games during the original Spring Training period in February and March, at the tail end of his recovery from the procedure.

    The Northwood Kensett softball team was trailing 3 runs and down to their last at bats in the bottom of the 7th when they scored 4 runs and walked off with an 8-7 win over North Iowa. They play Wednesday night in the district semifinals. Also that night the Lake Mills girls open their playoffs against North Union at 5 in Central Springs. The 8-4 Northwood Kensett Vikings boys are scheduled to be in the semifinals of the class 1a, substate 2 district baseball playoffs at 4:30 today in Mason City vs 9-1 AGWSR. But the Vikings have someone close to the team who is showing COVID-19 symptoms, and the IHSAA says if the test either doesn't come back by gametime or comes back negative, Northwood-Kensett will have to forfeit the game and end its season. Today"s forecasted rain could postpone the game until a date when the test has time to come back negative.

    The 13th player drafted out of 15 by Minnesota in 2020 became the first to sign his rookie contract. Quarterback Nate Stanley, who was drafted 244th overall out of Iowa, has made it official. Stanley's 39 starts (27-12) over the previous three seasons ranked fourth nationally among quarterbacks. He is one of just two quarterbacks in Hawkeyes history to go 3-0 in bowl games. The native of Menomie, Wisconsin, finished his career in Iowa City ranked second in school history in career touchdown passes (68), passing yards (8,302), attempts (673) and completions (1,155).

    Jay Paul

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    Monday Sports

    07/12/2020

    Northwood-Kensett fell behind 3-0 early to West Hancock in the fist round of the Iowa baseball playoffs Saturday night. But the Vikings outscored them 12-1 after that to win in a blowout. The Vikings are two wins from going to the state tournament but it doesn"t get any easier because Tuesday at 4:30 at Newman Catholic in Mason City they have to face 9-1 AGWSR. What does that stand for? Let"s all say it together…Ackley, Geneva, Wellsburg, Steamboat, Rock.

    Central Springs struck early Saturday against Top of Iowa West Conference champion Lake lMills, scoring four second-inning runs. And that"s all they needed as the Panthers earned a 4-2 win over the Bulldogs in the first round of the Class 1A district tournament. Lake Mills' ace Casey Hanson came in and shut Central Springs down, at one point striking out seven consecutive batters. The Bulldogs did load the bases with nobody out in the bottom of the 7th bit only managed one run. Lake Mills ends its season with an 8-7 overall. 7-9 Central Springs plays 14-5 Newman Catholic Tuesday night in the semifinals.

    When Summer Camp started up at Target Field last week, the Twins split their batters up into groups of three for many of their batting-practice sessions. There was no need to look up to know when one of those groups was taking its hacks - the sounds of ball meeting bat are just different when Nelson Cruz and Josh Donaldson are hitting back-to-back. And the distant clangs of baseball meeting plastic chair in the left field stands served as a loud reminder that Donaldson is a beast that is being deposited in the heart of what is already the best home run hitting team in history. Considering that last season's Twins established new club records for runs (939), extra-base hits (648), total bases (2,832), slugging percentage (.494), homers (307) and RBIs (906), there's an argument to be made that this could be the best offensive group ever assembled in Minneapolis. With all that said, there's no way yet to tell how that talent level will translate to on-field success over a 60-game season. Not even last season's uber-lineup was exempt from that. Recall that the 2019 Twins only had one homer through their first five games - and seven through their first eight - before they broke out on April 9 against, of all pitchers, Jacob deGrom.

    Verizon Vikings Training Camp is planning to proceed without fans in 2020. The closure will halt a time-honored tradition of public training camp practices since the team's inaugural 1961 season. Recently announced joint NFL/NFLPA training camp protocols prohibit fans from attending practices at club facilities.The Vikings held their first five training camps in Bemidji (1961-65) before making Mankato the team's "summer home" from 1966 through 2017, an historic run of 52 seasons. Training camp shifted to Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center in 2018 after the new Vikings headquarters opened that March. TCO Performance Center and TCO Stadium have proven to offer multiple family friendly options in the first two years of hosting training camp. Those activities are expected to resume in 2021.

    Collin Morikawa figured his tournament was over if he didn't make a 5-foot par putt on the 15th hole at Muirfield Village. He couldn't have imagined all the fun was just starting.

    Still 3 shots behind Justin Thomas with three holes to play, Morikawa made only one birdie, and it was enough for a 6-under 66 to force a playoff. The three times he played the 18th hole, he twice could only watch as Thomas had 10-foot putts for the win. The other time, Morikawa had to make a 25-foot putt to keep playing. The only dull moment Sunday at the Workday Charity Open was the end, when Morikawa took 2 putts for par from just inside 10 feet to beat Thomas on the third playoff hole and win for the second time in his career. They return in four days the same course art Muirfield Village for the Memorial tournament.

    Rookie cup driver Cole Custer went 4 wide on a late restart at Kentucky speedway Sunday. Custer took the outside lane with one to go while Kevin Harvick, Martin Truex Jr and Joey Logano were banging doors with each other and he became the first rookie to win on nascars top circuit in 4 years. Truex was second, Matt Dibenidetto finished third with Harvick 4th and Kurt Busch rounding out the top 5. The win means Custer will be there when they gas em up Wednesday night for the allstar race in Charlotte.

    Jay Paul

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    Friday Sports

    07/09/2020

    The Freeborn Eagles Rugby club has snnounced that there will be no summer rugby in MN this year because of the pandemic.

    The Lake Mills softball and baseball teams took a road trip to Estherville to play the Lincoln Central Midgets. In fact the Midget girls were playing a double header with Bishop Garrigan taking them on in the afternoon and Lake Mills tangled with the Midgets in the evening. The Lake Mills boys lost to the Midgets 9-0, their 4th loss in a row to end the regular season. They are 8-5 and open the playoffs in Mason City Saturday at 4:30 vs 6-8 Central Springs while 6-4 Northwood Kensett is in Rockwell for a 4:30 game against 4-6 West Hancock.

    The Big Ten on Thursday announced it will go to a conference-only season for all fall sports, including football. The Big Ten is the first of the Power 5 conferences to make this type of a major change to its fall sports. If college football can be played this fall, Big Ten presidents and athletic directors preferred the conference-only model, which will eliminate some long-distance travel and help ensure teams are being tested for the coronavirus universally. Other sports affected include men's and women's cross country, field hockey, men's and women's soccer and women's volleyball. More decisions regarding the specifics of the football schedule - how many games are played, if the schedule needs to be front-loaded with division games, and how a champion might be determined - are expected next week.

    After four months, basketball is truly back. Full-scale practices inside the NBA bubble at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort started Thursday, with the hometown Orlando Magic - the first team to get to the campus earlier this week - becoming the first team formally back on the floor. By the close of business Thursday, all 22 teams participating in the restart were to be checked into their hotels and beginning their isolation from the rest of the world for what will be several weeks at least. By Saturday, practices will be constant - 22 teams working out at various times in a window spanning 13 1/2 hours and spread out across seven different facilities. Exhibition games begin July 22. Games restart again for real on July 30.

    Major League Baseball will open the 2021 season on April 1 and hopes to have every team play its first game on the same day for the first time since 1968. The league released the full schedule Thursday, two weeks before it plans to begin the 2020 season. A 60-game regular-season schedule is scheduled to begin July 23.

    Collin Morikawa didn't get rattled by his first missed cut as a pro or his first time playing Muirfield Village. He opened with a 7-under 65 for a 1-shot lead over Adam Hadwin. For the first time in 63 years, the PGA Tour will have tournaments on the same course in consecutive weeks. The Workday Charity Open fills a void this year for the John Deere Classic, which decided to cancel without being able to have spectators, a pro-am or corporate hospitality.

    The second week at Muirfield Village - the Memorial - was supposed to be the first with fans since the PGA Tour returned June 11. That plan was scrapped at the last minute.

    Jay Paul

    Click here for audio

       

       

    07/09/2020

    The Freeborn Eagles Rugby club has snnounced that there will be no summer rugby in MN this year because of the pandemic.

    The Lake Mills softball and baseball teams took a road trip to Estherville to play the Lincoln Central Midgets. In fact the Midget girls were playing a double header with Bishop Garrigan taking them on in the afternoon and Lake Mills tangled with the Midgets in the evening. The Lake Mills boys lost to the Midgets 9-0, their 4th loss in a row to end the regular season. They are 8-5 and open the playoffs in Mason City Saturday at 4:30 vs 6-8 Central Springs while 6-4 Northwood Kensett is in Rockwell for a 4:30 game against 4-6 West Hancock.

    The Big Ten on Thursday announced it will go to a conference-only season for all fall sports, including football. The Big Ten is the first of the Power 5 conferences to make this type of a major change to its fall sports. If college football can be played this fall, Big Ten presidents and athletic directors preferred the conference-only model, which will eliminate some long-distance travel and help ensure teams are being tested for the coronavirus universally. Other sports affected include men's and women's cross country, field hockey, men's and women's soccer and women's volleyball. More decisions regarding the specifics of the football schedule - how many games are played, if the schedule needs to be front-loaded with division games, and how a champion might be determined - are expected next week.

    After four months, basketball is truly back. Full-scale practices inside the NBA bubble at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort started Thursday, with the hometown Orlando Magic - the first team to get to the campus earlier this week - becoming the first team formally back on the floor. By the close of business Thursday, all 22 teams participating in the restart were to be checked into their hotels and beginning their isolation from the rest of the world for what will be several weeks at least. By Saturday, practices will be constant - 22 teams working out at various times in a window spanning 13 1/2 hours and spread out across seven different facilities. Exhibition games begin July 22. Games restart again for real on July 30.

    Major League Baseball will open the 2021 season on April 1 and hopes to have every team play its first game on the same day for the first time since 1968. The league released the full schedule Thursday, two weeks before it plans to begin the 2020 season. A 60-game regular-season schedule is scheduled to begin July 23.

    Collin Morikawa didn't get rattled by his first missed cut as a pro or his first time playing Muirfield Village. He opened with a 7-under 65 for a 1-shot lead over Adam Hadwin. For the first time in 63 years, the PGA Tour will have tournaments on the same course in consecutive weeks. The Workday Charity Open fills a void this year for the John Deere Classic, which decided to cancel without being able to have spectators, a pro-am or corporate hospitality.

    The second week at Muirfield Village - the Memorial - was supposed to be the first with fans since the PGA Tour returned June 11. That plan was scrapped at the last minute.

    Jay Paul

    Click here for audio

       

       

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