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    Thursday Sports

    07/02/2020

    Lake Mills baseball shrugged off the implosion last night in Northwood and shut out the visiting Bison of North Iowa 6-0 tonight at home on Power 96. Jackson Rice threw the complete game 3 hit shutout with 6 strikeouts in his first start of the season. Lake Mills got 2 rbi each from Chet Helming and Nate Lorenson and Rice helped his own cause with an rbi in the 3rd. But the game winner was a suicide squeeze bunt single by Jack Ramaker in the 2nd scoring Caleb Bacon. The Dawgs are in Forest City Friday in a tilt for 1st place in the Top of Iowa conference West. The Dawgs and Indians are both 5-0 in the West while Lake Mills is 7-2 overall to Forest City"s 6-4.

    Northwood Kensett lost 14-4 in 5 ½ innings in St Ansgar. The Saints scored 7 times in the 5th. The Vikings are 4-2 in the Top of Iowa East and 6-2 overall. The Vikes are at home tonight against 3-4 Osage at 7:30 on Power 96 sports.

    After the Minnesota Department of Health approved the start of hockey activity, the Austin City Council reversed their initial ruling and gave the green light to install ice in Riverside Arena this summer. This is a huge relief for the Austin Bruins, who plan on hosting three camps this July. The camps are an opportunity to evaluate talent but also help players from all over the country improve their games. But if you ask Bruins Co-Owner Mike Cooper, it's not just about the hockey. He said, “One of the main reasons we have these camps here in town is because of the revenue it generates in the community. Especially in a small town, anytime you have the opportunity to bring outside dollars into your community and help support the local businesses that really support us and really make it so we can even have a team.” Cooper says they've already started the process of installing the ice.

    The NFL has shortened its 2020 preseason to two games. The league canceled Weeks 1 and 4 of its original preseason schedule. It had previously canceled its Aug. 8 Hall of Fame game. Most players will still report to training camp on July 28, but the first preseason games won't be played until Aug. 20-24. The second week of preseason games is scheduled for Aug. 27-31. Some re-shuffling of the original preseason schedule for Weeks 2 and 3 are underway, as each team will play one home game and one on the road. There's a chance the league will ask players and team personnel to quarantine at home for two weeks before leaving for camp.

    The NHL is resuming its season in Toronto and Edmonton later this summer. Nothing is final until players vote on the return-to-play proposal, which should happen late this week. The NHL and NHLPA are also in discussions on an extension to the collective bargaining agreement which has delayed any announcements. The NHL initially hoped to pick one Canadian city and one American city for its hubs. But it is cheaper to stage games in Canada - a minor victory for the league, which is projected to lose more than $1 billion if it cannot return to play at all in 2020. The NHL has already committed to testing all players and staffers daily for the coronavirus when games resume. NHL players are allowed to participate in voluntary, small-group sessions at team facilities. Mandatory training camps are scheduled to begin July 10, although that could be delayed until July 13. The NHL will then resume with a 24-team tournament including the Minnesota Wild, to award a Stanley Cup winner in 2020.

    Jay Paul

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    Hump Day Sports

    07/01/2020

    They don"t get any wilder than the baseball game last night when Lake Mills visited Northwood Kensett as heard on Power 96 with Lake Mills leading 3-0 after 5 innings. Then 26 batters and 16 runs later the sixth inning was over and a 10-0 Bulldogs lead was down to 10-9. That"s right the Dogs batted 11 men and scored 7 runs in the top of the sixth and then the Vikes batted 15 men and scored 9 runs in the bottom of the sixth. So we go to the seventh with Lake Mills clinging to a 10-9 lead. In the top of the seventh Lake Mills got their lead of hitter to third with 2 out but he was tagged out on a suicide squeeze for the third out. Northwood Kensett then got two runs in the bottom of the seventh to win the game 11-10. Lake Mills falls to 6-2 overall and they have a home game tonight against North Iowa at 7:30 on Power 96 sports. Northwood Kensett is 6-1 and travels to St Ansgar tonight for a 7:30 game.

    With coronavirus cases on the rise in the United States and some teams recently closing their facilities due to positive cases, NBA commissioner Adam Silver remains "pretty confident" about the NBA's plan to safely resume play but admits that a spread in the NBA community could bring the league to a halt again. The Denver Nuggets closed their team's practice facility starting on Saturday after two members of the team's 35-member traveling party to Orlando tested positive for the coronavirus. The Brooklyn Nets reopened their practice facility on Tuesday after being closed for several days after Brooklyn's DeAndre and Spencer Dinwiddie recently tested positive for the coronavirus. Florida's Department of Health reported more than 6,000 additional cases of the coronavirus on Tuesday. Silver, though, says the NBA's plan to restart the season in Orlando is designed to protect teams and players from the outside community.

    Despite Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association having developed an extensive manual to aid in the task of resuming play in 2020, players will continue to test positive during the pandemic. But identifying those players won't be easy. Under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), teams are not allowed to divulge the names of any player who tests positive.The federal law restricting release of medical information without a patient's consent or knowledge means that only players can reveal their positive test status. There will be a "COVID-19-Related Injured List," but being placed on that list does not require a confirmed positive test for the coronavirus. Players could be on the list after a positive test, but also after exposure to the virus or if he has exhibited symptoms that require isolation before further evaluation.

    Jay Paul

    Click here for audio

       

       

    Tuesday Sports

    06/29/2020

    The Northwood Kensett baseball game at home last night vs Central Springs had to be cancelled. Coach Jeff Ferstein told me that a parent of one of his players had Covid 19 symptoms and got tested yesterday. Per state rules the game had to be called off until the results are known. If its negative, all is well and they will host Lake Mills tonight at 7:30 on Power 96. If positive all the players and coaches will have to be tested and quarantined for 14 days, effectively ending their season. I"ll let you know as soon as I find anything out. The Vikings girls got rocked 12-0 in 3 and drop to 1-5 and tied for last in the Top of Iowa East and 3-5 overall. The softball team is at home tonight at 6 vs Lake Mills.

    Lake Mills won their baseball game on the road last night in Bancroft 3-1 over North Union. Mason Fritz went the distance for the win and Casey Hanson had the game winning rbi single in the 6th. That puts the first place Dogs at 4-0 in the Top of Iowa West and 6-1 overall. The Lake Mills girls got clobbered in Swea City 15-1 by North Iowa in 3 to drop to 1-3, next to last in the Top of Iowa West, 1-6 overall. The softball team is at Northwood Kensett tonight at 6.

    CHS Field in St. Paul, home to the American Association's St. Paul Saints, will be the Twins' alternate training site for the 2020 season. The Twins plan to spread their Summer Camp workouts across both Target Field and CHS Field, with a specific subset of coaches dedicated to working with the smaller group in St. Paul, before the inactive members of the club's player pool begin to use the site for workouts and intrasquad games once the season begins. 5 of the 6 top Twins prospects will probably workout at CHS including Royce Lewis (No. 1, Alex Kirilloff (No. 2, Trevor Larnach, Jhoan Duran (No. 5 and Ryan Jeffers (No. 6. Meanwhile, the Saints actually opened training camp of their own at CHS Field last Thursday ahead of their season opener Friday, but no home games are planned in St. Paul for the time being. Even if conditions in St. Paul were to progress to the point where the Saints could play at home, the Twins don't believe that the overlap will be an issue.

    Former Iowa Hawkeye running back Akrum Wadley on Monday detailed several allegations of mistreatment by current and former Hawkeyes coaches, writing that "playing for Iowa Football was a living nightmare." Wadley, who played for Iowa from 2014 to 2017, alleges that Brian Ferentz, son of Kirk Ferentz and an Iowa assistant since 2012, repeatedly asked him if he planned to rob a liquor store or a gas station whenever he saw Wadley wearing a team-issued wool cap. He also alleges that Iowa targeted him and other black players for not gaining enough weight during the season, which led to him bingeing on shakes before workouts and becoming sick. Wadley writes that he asked Broderick Binns, Iowa's director of player development, to find him a therapist "because no one in the football program would help us or listen to what we had to say." After meeting with the therapist once, Wadley writes that "she disappeared." Wadley writes that he turned to alcohol to cope because of his experience at Iowa.

    Major League Soccer is nearly back, with the aptly named MLS is Back Tournament kicking off July 8 and running until the final on Aug. 11. After the league suspended play on March 12 amid the pandemic the regular season will resume in a tournament format at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at the Walt Disney World Resort, just outside Orlando. All 26 clubs will take part, as the league breaks them up into five groups of four and one group of six. Three teams from Group A, as well as the top two in each of the other groups, will advance to the round of 16. The next three highest-ranked teams in the group stage will round out the knockout field. In the group stage, the MLS is Back Tournament works just the same as the regular season. Results from each team's three matches will count toward the 2020 standings.

    Group D (Western Conference)

    1. Real Salt Lake

    2. Sporting Kansas City

    3. Colorado Rapids

    4. Minnesota United FC

    Sunday, July 12

    Sporting Kansas City vs. Minnesota United FC, 7 p.m. on ESPN

    Jay Paul

    Click here for audio

       

       

    06/29/2020

    The Northwood Kensett baseball game at home last night vs Central Springs had to be cancelled. Coach Jeff Ferstein told me that a parent of one of his players had Covid 19 symptoms and got tested yesterday. Per state rules the game had to be called off until the results are known. If its negative, all is well and they will host Lake Mills tonight at 7:30 on Power 96. If positive all the players and coaches will have to be tested and quarantined for 14 days, effectively ending their season. I"ll let you know as soon as I find anything out. The Vikings girls got rocked 12-0 in 3 and drop to 1-5 and tied for last in the Top of Iowa East and 3-5 overall. The softball team is at home tonight at 6 vs Lake Mills.

    Lake Mills won their baseball game on the road last night in Bancroft 3-1 over North Union. Mason Fritz went the distance for the win and Casey Hanson had the game winning rbi single in the 6th. That puts the first place Dogs at 4-0 in the Top of Iowa West and 6-1 overall. The Lake Mills girls got clobbered in Swea City 15-1 by North Iowa in 3 to drop to 1-3, next to last in the Top of Iowa West, 1-6 overall. The softball team is at Northwood Kensett tonight at 6.

    CHS Field in St. Paul, home to the American Association's St. Paul Saints, will be the Twins' alternate training site for the 2020 season. The Twins plan to spread their Summer Camp workouts across both Target Field and CHS Field, with a specific subset of coaches dedicated to working with the smaller group in St. Paul, before the inactive members of the club's player pool begin to use the site for workouts and intrasquad games once the season begins. 5 of the 6 top Twins prospects will probably workout at CHS including Royce Lewis (No. 1, Alex Kirilloff (No. 2, Trevor Larnach, Jhoan Duran (No. 5 and Ryan Jeffers (No. 6. Meanwhile, the Saints actually opened training camp of their own at CHS Field last Thursday ahead of their season opener Friday, but no home games are planned in St. Paul for the time being. Even if conditions in St. Paul were to progress to the point where the Saints could play at home, the Twins don't believe that the overlap will be an issue.

    Former Iowa Hawkeye running back Akrum Wadley on Monday detailed several allegations of mistreatment by current and former Hawkeyes coaches, writing that "playing for Iowa Football was a living nightmare." Wadley, who played for Iowa from 2014 to 2017, alleges that Brian Ferentz, son of Kirk Ferentz and an Iowa assistant since 2012, repeatedly asked him if he planned to rob a liquor store or a gas station whenever he saw Wadley wearing a team-issued wool cap. He also alleges that Iowa targeted him and other black players for not gaining enough weight during the season, which led to him bingeing on shakes before workouts and becoming sick. Wadley writes that he asked Broderick Binns, Iowa's director of player development, to find him a therapist "because no one in the football program would help us or listen to what we had to say." After meeting with the therapist once, Wadley writes that "she disappeared." Wadley writes that he turned to alcohol to cope because of his experience at Iowa.

    Major League Soccer is nearly back, with the aptly named MLS is Back Tournament kicking off July 8 and running until the final on Aug. 11. After the league suspended play on March 12 amid the pandemic the regular season will resume in a tournament format at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at the Walt Disney World Resort, just outside Orlando. All 26 clubs will take part, as the league breaks them up into five groups of four and one group of six. Three teams from Group A, as well as the top two in each of the other groups, will advance to the round of 16. The next three highest-ranked teams in the group stage will round out the knockout field. In the group stage, the MLS is Back Tournament works just the same as the regular season. Results from each team's three matches will count toward the 2020 standings.

    Group D (Western Conference)

    1. Real Salt Lake

    2. Sporting Kansas City

    3. Colorado Rapids

    4. Minnesota United FC

    Sunday, July 12

    Sporting Kansas City vs. Minnesota United FC, 7 p.m. on ESPN

    Jay Paul

    Click here for audio

       

       

    Monday Sports

    06/28/2020

    Lake Mills baseball won Friday night 6-2 at home over Garner Hayfield Ventura. 6 runs on 2 hits for the Bulldogs. Starting pitcher Casey Hanson went the distance for the win with 9 strikeouts. Lake Mills is in first place in the Top of Iowa conference West division at 3-0 in the conference, 5-1 overall. Northwood Kensett won at Newman catholic Friday night 9-8 in 8 innings. Tied at 2 after 7, the Vikings scored 3 in the top of the 8th and Newman could only come up with 2 in the bottom of the 8th. The Vikings are 5-1 in the conference and overall and are in first place in the Top of Iowa conference East division. Power 96 will attend the Northwood Kensett game against Central Springs at 7:30 tonight and streaming on our website kqprfm.com

    The Austin Greyhounds scored twice in the bottom of the 9th, but they were still one run short in a 10-9 loss at home to Stewartville-Racine Sunday. Hounds right fielder Jordan Hart hit 3 home runs in the game, a 2 two-run dingers in the 1st, another two run tater on the 5th and a solo shot in the 7th for 5 rbi, but Derek McCready of the Sharks hit a grand slam in the 7th and that was the eventual game winner, one run too many for Austin to overcome. Hart was 3 for 4 with those three taters and a walk. Shortstop Daniel Bollinberg had 3 singles, an rbi, a steal and a run scored and catcher Nester Jimenez had a two rbi single in the 9th that made it so close at the end with the tying run on second for the Hounds when the game ended. The Hounds are 1-2 and play at home Wednesday night vs Owatonna at 7:30.

    National Champs from Riceville! Lawson Losee Kooper Tweite took home the title Saturday with an 11 lb, 2 oz limit and won big bass for the second day in a row with a 5-8 kicker! They had a camera man in their boat all day and said they got some amazing footage of their catches for the TV show, which will be broadcast on Pursuit Channel later this year. The boys each won a $5,000 scholarship to the school of their choice. They competed Saturday in the World Finals Student Angler Federation and finished 13th. And they got an emergency vehicle led parade through Riceville when they got home. Very cool.

    Unfortunate news from Lansing as Chateau Raceway has to cancel their season opening night of racing Friday night due to wet track conditions. But hopefully it"ll be drier this Friday and they can get their season underway. The Track will be announcing the changes and promotions on a week to week basis. Some of the events lost include the Kids Night Bike Giveaways and The Track wants it known, that night will be put back on the schedule somewhere along with the Kids Car Rides. Also lost was the Memorial Day Weekend Marque Event “The Spirit of 83 Memorial”, the Race in Memory of Track Legend Mike Guttormson will be added back in somewhere during the year. The two Traditional Sprint Car Specials are still on the schedule at this time. The one sad note is the 2nd Annual Chateau Speedway Hall of Fame Induction Night is being put off for The Season.

    Denny Hamlin and his No. 11 Toyota cruised to a victory in the weather-delayed Pocono 350 in the NASCAR Cup Series Sunday. Kevin Harvick, who won the Cup Series race over second place Hamlin at the same track on Saturday, finished in second place Sunday. Next up is the Brickyard 400 mile race at Indy at 3 O"clock Sunday.

    Dustin Johnson won the Travelers golf Championship on Sunday to extend his career-long streak of at least one victory per season to 13 years. Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus each won in 17 consecutive years. The PGA Tour next goes to Detroit Golf Club for the Rocket Mortgage Classic which starts on Thursday.

    Jay Paul

    Click here for audio

       

       

    Weeks end

    06/26/2020

    Town ball is back! Minnesota has over 300 amateur town ball teams, most in the country. The closest to us is the Austin Greyhounds. They opened their season Wednesday night with a thrilling win over the Waseca Braves 9-8 at Marcusen Park in Austin. The Rochester Royals started the season with a bang beating the Hounds from Austin, 12-2. Sam Warren and Hayden Brown led the Royals both going 3-5. Sam homered in the 3rd and had 2 RBI. The Royals had 12 hits, the Hounds, just 4. I will broadcast the Greyhounds next game at home Sunday at 2 from Marcusen park in Austin.

    A very unique Day 2 at the High School National fishing Championship/World Finals. The Albert Lea team of Thomas Lundell and Griffin Thompson coached by Jason Howland decided to take a calculated risk of locking to another pool on the river with limited time. There was a barge in the lock when they got there so they were late and did not weigh any fish. The good news is that every team fishes Friday and they will start at a weight of zero. The field of 315 will be whittled down to 31 for Saturday's World Finals. Albert Lea Anglers teams of Woodduckwilly Utpadel and Caden Stevens; and Ian Latham and Jaeger Larson both weighed in limits today weighing 6-8. And the Riceville, Iowa team of Lawson Losee and Kooper Tweite captained by Tom Howland are in first place overall after catching another nice limit and big bass of 5.1 lbs! They will go out boat #1 Friday with a camera boat following them!

    Power 96 sports was in Lake Mills Thursday night as the undefeated Bulldogs got stunned by non conference opponent Clear Lake 13-3 in 6 innings. Not much good from this game as the Bulldogs committed 6 errors in the game defensively. They"ll try to put their first loss behind them with a quick turnaround with Garner Hayfield Ventura at Lake Mills tonight at 7:30 on Power 96 sports. The Cardinals are right next to Lake Mills in the Top of Iowa conference West division. The Bulldog girls play softball at home vs GHV at 6. Northwood Kensett is at Newman Catholic tonight, softball at 6, baseball at 7:30. Sunday is graduation day for seniors at both schools with Northwood Kensett grabbing the ol sheep skin at 1:30 and Lake Mills doing the ol pomp and circumstance at 2.

    In March, before the coronavirus pandemic suspended the start of the baseball season, the Los Angeles Dodgers had the highest season win total at Caesars Sportsbook at 102.5. Three months later, the Dodgers still have the highest win total; it's just a little lower. Caesars reposted season win totals for baseball's condensed 60 game season and had the Dodgers at 37 wins, and the New York Yankees at 36.5, are the only teams with win totals to open higher than 35 although the Minnesota Twins and Houston Astros are tied at 34.5.

    Mackenzie Hughes shot a career-low 60 Thursday to take the first-round lead at the Travelers Championship as the PGA Tour tried to switch its focus back to golf amid growing concerns about the coronavirus.Hughes, a 29-year-old Canadian, had a chance to shoot the 12th sub-60 round in PGA Tour history, but his 40-foot birdie attempt on his final hole came up short. It was good enough for three-shot lead over Rory McIlroy and Viktor Hovland, who each shot 63 on a day of low scoring.

    NASCAR heads this weekend to Pocono Raceway in Pennsylvania with a race at 2:30 Saturday and another one at 3 Sunday.

    Jay Paul

    Click here for audio

       

       

    Thursday Sports

    06/24/2020

    Today is day 2 of the 4 day High School National Championship in La Crosse. Over 300 teams including 3 pairs of anglers from Albert Lea are competing. Wednesday on day one Griffin Thompson and Thomas Lundell, fishing with coach Jason Howland are in 88th place. Ian Latham and Jaeger Larson are 143rd. They fished in coach Justin Bolinger"s boat. Will Utpadel and Caden Stevens did not catch a keeper on a boat with coach Tony Stevens. Jason Howland said the Mississippi River is low, muddy and the big fish are hard to locate. Everyone fishes thru Friday. The top 30 will fish in the finals on Saturday.

    Tonight Power 96 sports has Iowa high school baseball in Lake Mills as the undefeated Bulldogs, 2-0 in the Top of Iowa conference West division and 4-0 overall, takes on non conference opponent Clear Lake at 7:30. No Lake Mills softball tonight and Northwood Kensett baseball and softball are off tonight too.

    MLB in 2020 will look… different. The 60 game season will mean teams will play their four divisional opponents 10 times each, for Minnesota it"ll be vs Kansas City, the Chicago White Sox, Detroit and Cleveland and the other 20 games against interleague opponents in the same geographical area, with the Twins playing Milwaukee, St Louis, the Cubs, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh 4 times each. All games will feature a designated hitter, regardless of league. In extra innings, teams will begin with a runner on second base. There will be a COVID-19 injured list with no minimum or maximum length of time spent on it. Players will be tested every other day, even if they are asymptomatic. Pitchers can use a wet rag to moisten their fingers instead of licking them, no spitting, no sunflower seeds or chewing tobacco.

    PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said Wednesday that extra testing and stricter monitoring of protocols that could result in "serious repercussions'' for offenders will go into effect in the wake of three positive coronavirus tests this week at the Travelers Championship in Cromwell, Connecticut. Cameron Champ and caddies Ricky Elliott and Ken Comboy have tested positive since arriving at TPC River Highlands, Connecticut. Nick Watney tested positive Friday at the RBC Heritage. Elliott caddies for Brooks Koepka, who decided to withdraw from the tournament despite a negative test. Comboy works for Graeme McDowell, who also withdrew despite a negative test. Chase Koepka, Brooks' brother, withdrew after getting into the field via Monday qualifying despite testing negative. Webb Simpson, who won the RBC Heritage on Sunday, also withdrew although he also tested negative. Next week is the Rocket Mortgage Classic outside of Detroit, followed by two events in Dublin, Ohio - the second of which, the Memorial Tournament, is planning to allow spectators.

    The Hockey Hall of Fame announced a six-member class for 2020, including first-ballot inductees Jarome Iginla and Marian Hossa. The class also included defensemen Kevin Lowe and Doug Wilson. Iginla is 16th all time in goals and 34th in points. Hossa made five trips to the Stanley Cup Final, winning three times with the Chicago Blackhawks. He won five Stanley Cups with the Edmonton Oilers' dynasty and a sixth one with the New York Rangers in 1994. Wilson, the current general manager of the San Jose Sharks, has been eligible since 1996. He won the Norris Trophy in 1982 with Chicago and was a top-four finisher for the award three other times. The Hockey Hall of Fame induction ceremony is scheduled for Nov. 16 in Toronto, but it's unclear whether it will happen.

    Jay Paul

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    Hump Day Sports

    06/23/2020

    The Lake Mills boys are still undefeated at 4-0 after shutting out Central Springs in Manly 6-0 Tuesday night. Brady Hanson was 3 for 4 and was a home run short of the cycle while Caleb Bacon went 2 for 3 with a triple. Pitchers Casey Hanson and Mason Fritz combined on the 2 hit shutout. The Bulldog girls got ten-runned by Newman Catholic in Mason City Tuesday night 10-0 in 4 and a half innings. The Viking girls are now 1-4 overall and 1-1 in the conference.

    Northwood Kensett had an exciting non conference softball game in Riceville. Trailing 4-3 entering the 7th and final inning, the Viking girls scored the tying run and then got 2 more in the top of the 8th while shutting down Riceville in the bottom of the extra frame to get the win and improve to 2-3 overall good for 4th in the Top of Iowa Conference East Division. No games in the area tonight but we are scheduled to be in Lake Mills tomorrow night when they play Clear Lake and Friday night when they host Garner Hayfield Ventura.

    Major League baseball is officially back. The Major League Baseball Players Association and the league ironed out the final details on Tuesday ahead of a return to play, one that will see players report to camps by July 1 and play a 60-game season starting on July 23 or 24 in empty ballparks. The last hurdle - an agreement on health and safety protocols - was cleared Tuesday night, some three-plus months after spring training was stopped due to the pandemic. The regular-season schedule will feature both divisional and interleague play, for which teams will play only within their corresponding geographical division to mitigate travel. A team is scheduled to make only one trip to each city it visits.

    The Minnesota Twins' signing class from the 2020 MLB Draft gained its biggest addition as slugging first baseman Aaron Sabato officially signed with the club Tuesday. Sabato signed for $2.75 million after he was taken with the No. 27 pick in the Draft. That slightly exceeds the slot value of $2,570,100 for the selection. Sabato is the third of the Twins' 2020 draftees to sign with the team. Fifth-round pick Kala'i Rosario has yet to officially sign an agreement.

    The National Hockey League has narrowed its list for the two possible hubs that will host the resumption of the season to six cities. Las Vegas, Chicago, Los Angeles, Edmonton, Toronto and Vancouver have made the cut so far, with Pittsburgh and Dallas eliminated Tuesday. Columbus was scratched off the list Monday. Apparently St Paul was sent packing…pretty much when the rioting was going on. Las Vegas is now considered the U.S. favorite to host NHL playoff games, unless two Canadian cities are selected. Canada's federal government said last week that it would allow the league to quarantine internally, making Toronto, Vancouver and Edmonton realistic possibilities - if not the front-runners. The NHL has said it will select two hub cities - one for the Eastern Conference playoffs and one for the Western Conference. The Stanley Cup Final or "final four" would likely be in one of the two cities.

    The FBI has determined that NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace was not the victim of a hate crime and that a pull rope fashioned like a noose had been on a garage door at Talladega Superspeedway since as early as October. Wallace, NASCAR's only full-time Black driver, successfully pushed the stock car series to ban the Confederate flag at its venues less than two weeks ago. U.S. Attorney Jay Town and FBI Special Agent in Charge Johnnie Sharp Jr. said their investigation determined that "although the noose is now known to have been in garage number 4 in 2019, nobody could have known Mr. Wallace would be assigned to garage number 4 last week." The agencies said no crime was committed and the evidence did not support federal charges. NASCAR said they would continue its investigation as to why a rope was fashioned into a noose, regardless of when it was done. A crew member for Richard Petty Motorsports discovered the noose Sunday at the Alabama racetrack.

    Jay Paul

    Click here for audio

       

       

    Tuesday Sports

    06/23/2020

    Northwood Kensett softball lost at home to Rockford 9-5. But the Viking boys won their baseball game over the Warriors 5-0 in 5 ½ innings in a game shortened by rain. That puts Northwood Kensett at 4-1 overall and in the Top of Iowa conference East division. St Ansgar beat North Butler 14-4 to improve to 5-0. In the Western division first place and 4-0 Lake Mills game in Osage was postponed til July 6th because of saturated fields. Tonight Lake Mills visits Central Springs, softball at 6, baseball at 7:30. Northwood Kensett softball only plays in Riceville at 5

    A message from Bruins Co-owner Mike Cooper regarding the City of Austin's vote against putting down ice in time for the team's summer camp. He said, quote, “The Austin Bruins are very disappointed in the city councils decision but understand they have some tough decisions to make regarding budget. The primary reason we have held these camps in Austin instead of Wisconsin the last several years was to give back to the business community that does such a great job supporting us. We conservatively estimate that our summer camps bring in $250,000 to $300,000 in revenue to local business in July alone. With what has already been a tough year for our local businesses this seems like another tough blow. We"re hoping the Austin city council reconsiders their decision based on the new guidelines Gov Walz put out last week regarding sports.”

    Six members of the Albert Lea high school fishing team are in the High School fishing world finals and national championship on the Mississippi River in La Crosse Tuesday through Saturday. Albert Lea has 3 pairs of teams; Griffen Thompson and Thomas Lundell, Will Utpadel and Caden Stevens and Ian Latham and Jaeger Larson all qualified in tournaments last summer. I"ll get you the results as soon as I get them from Albert Lea ward 3 city Councilman and Albert Lea high school fishing coach Jason Howland.

    The 2nd test and tune at Chateau Speedway in Lansing tonight was cancelled with a very wet track as the 64th Anniversary Season of Racing at Chateau kicks off this Friday night. First Green flag of the season will fly at 7:15 pm. Seven classes of cars will be featured every Friday Night. Lots of excitement surrounds the return of the WISSOTA Super Stocks this season. Running along with the Super"s will be WISSOTA Hornets, Pure Stocks, Street Stocks and Midwest Mods, and also back again this year will be the USRA A and mods.

    Ryan Blaney held on to the lead after a restart with two laps to go Monday and earned his second straight win at Talladega Superspeedway. Blaney nipped Ricky Stenhouse Jr. at the finish line for his fourth win and first since Talladega in October. Bubba Wallace said "the sport is changing" in front of a horde of NASCAR fans, many of whom were wearing "Black Lives Matter" and "I Can't Breathe" T-shirts, as Wallace, NASCAR's only Black full-time driver, was joined by all 39 other drivers and their crews in a march down pit road as they pushed his No. 43 to the front of the line in the moments before the race. The gesture came one day after a noose was found in Wallace's garage stall. The idea for the gesture came up Monday. Jimmie Johnson said in a drivers chat that he would stand with Wallace during the national anthem. Then Kevin Harvick shared the idea that the drivers should push Wallace's car to the front. Now it"s on to a Pocono weekend with both annual races at the track happening this Saturday and Sunday.

    Major League Baseball plans to hold a 60-game season that begins around July 24 but first needs players to sign off on a health-and-safety protocol and pledge to arrive at home stadiums by July 1 to prepare for the season. After nearly three months of fruitless negotiations, MLB opted to use the right given to it in the parties' March 26 agreement to impose a schedule of its desired length. By choosing a season of 60 games, the league will pack in about as many games as it can through Sept. 27, the league's self-imposed cutoff for the regular season to end. If they do, it would end a tortuous path to a return-to-play agreement in a typically confusing way: with the players rejecting a proposal, only to have one of the same length implemented. In its statement, the league asked that the union provide two pieces of information by 4 p.m. today: whether players will be able to report to training by July 1 and whether the union "will agree on the Operating Manual which contains the health and safety protocols necessary to give us the best opportunity to conduct and complete our regular season and Postseason."

    The Minnesota Twins welcomed the two newest members of their organization on Thursday, when they officially signed Alerick Soularie and Marco Raya, two of their selections from last week's 2020 MLB Draft. Soularie was the club's second-round selection with the No. 59 pick in the Draft, and he signed for a bonus of $900,000, which is below the value of $1.19 million for that selection. Raya, a right-handed pitcher from Laredo, Texas, was the Twins' fourth-round pick, and he signed for $410,000 which also puts him below the slot value of $442,900 for the No. 128 selection in the Draft. The 17-year-old was in his senior season at United South High School and was lauded by Twins evaluators for his strong mechanics and projectability as he should add more strength to his frame. Raya had committed to Texas Tech but chose to sign with the only two players now remain unsigned among the Twins' draftees: first-rounder Aaron Sabato and fifth-rounder Kala'i Rosario.

    Jay Paul

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    Monday Sports

    06/21/2020

    Mn State health officials on Friday said youth sports games and scrimmages could resume June 24 or later for outdoor sports and July 1 or later for indoor sports under the Health Department"s recommended guidance. Among the recommendations the department calls on players to:

    Avoid sharing individual water bottles, community snacks or towels

    Try and use “dedicated personal equipment” such as bats, mitts and rackets

    Find new ways to show sportsmanship, including “tip your hats instead of handshakes.”

    Officials also said the Minnesota Department of Education is working with the Minnesota State High School League to develop activities and sports guidance for schools for the fall sports season. Officials continue to ask Minnesotans to keep social distancing and wearing masks in public spaces. People who feel flu-like symptoms should get tested and people who feel ill should stay home.

    Friday night at home the Lake Mills Bulldogs baseball team stayed perfect on the young season as heard on Power 96 sports as they scored first on Casey Hanson"s 2 rbi single in the first. It turned out to be all they needed. Mason Fritz had a no hitter going through 4 innings and nearly got the shutout in his 6 strikeout complete game performance. I will be in Northwood tonight at 7:30 as they break a third place tie in the Top of Iowa Conference East with 3-1 Rockford taking on the 3-1 Northwood Kensett Vikings on Power 96 sports and streaming at kqprfm.com. Lake Mills is in first place in the Top of Iowa Conference West and takes their 3-0 record to 0-3 Osage tonight.

    Six members of the Albert Lea high school fishing team are in the High School fishing world finals and national championship on the Mississippi River in La Crosse Tuesday through Saturday. Albert Lea has 3 pairs of teams; Griffen Thompson and Thomas Lundell, Will Utpadel and Caden Stevens and Ian Latham and Jaeger Larson all qualified in tournaments last summer.

    The Nascar race in Talladega yesterday was postponed to today at 2 because of inclement weather. NASCAR said late Sunday night that a noose was found hanging in Bubba Wallace"s garage stall at Talladega and said it had launched an investigation to find out who put it there. Wallace is the only black driver who races full-time in NASCAR"s top three series. Nascar released a statement that read…“Late this afternoon, NASCAR was made aware that a noose was found in the garage stall of the 43 team. We are angry and outraged and cannot state strongly enough how seriously we take this heinous act. We have launched an immediate investigation and will do everything we can to identify the person(s) responsible and eliminate them from the sport.” The infield area at Talladega was not open to any of the 5,000 fans able to attend the race delayed to Monday because of rain. Anyone with approved access to the garage would be someone with a NASCAR credential at the race for work-related reasons.

    Webb Simpson emerged from a crowd of contenders with five birdies in a six-hole stretch on the back nine for a 7-under 64 to win the RBC Heritage by one shot over Abraham Ancer and set a tournament scoring record. A three-hour storm delay nearly kept it from finishing. Nine players were still in the mix with an hour to go. Simpson was two shots behind and had only two birdies on his card when he dropped in a 10-footer at No. 12 and off he went. Ancer, who hit every green in regulation, pushed Simpson to the end in his bid to win his first PGA Tour title. He holed a birdie putt from 10 feet on the 17th to get to within one, but his approach to the 18th was 40 feet away and his putt to force a playoff came up short. Ancer closed with a 65. The PGA Tour now heads to Connecticut for the Travelers Championship, and it's still to be determined who will be playing until coronavirus tests are released for those on the charter flight.

    Jay Paul

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    Friday Sports

    06/19/2020

    In high school baseball Thursday night Lake Mills won at Clarion Goldfield Dows 7-2. Bulldog starting pitcher AJ Ramaker earned the win. Brady Hanson hit a first inning 2 run homer and Casey Hanson blew it open by clubbing a 3 run homer in the 7th. Tonight Power 96 will be in Lake Mills as the first place, 2-0 Bulldogs take on the 0-2, last place Bishop Garrigan Golden Bears at 7:30 in the Top of Iowa West. The two schools meet in softball at 6 in Lake Mills, both teams are 1-1. In the Top of Iowa East Northwood Kensett takes their 2-1 record to Sheffield to take on 1-2 West Fork. In softball they play at 6, West Fork is 1-0 while Northwood Kensett is 1-2.

    The FLL Fountain Lura lake fishing league had their first tournament of the year at Lura Lake. Ian Latham and Mark Bartleson took first place with 4 fish weighing a total of 15 pounds and 15 ounces. Jason Howland and Griffin Thompson took second place with 15 pounds and 4 ounces. Jason also hooked the biggest bass weighing in at 5 pounds and 4 ounces.

    The 64th Anniversary Season of Racing at Chateau Speedway inched a little closer to reality as around 50 cars turned up for the first of two Test and Tune Sessions Thursday Night. Not all of the premium box seating has been claimed yet so anyone interested in purchasing one for the season should contact owner Mark Wytaske for details and pricing on these. Interested parties can contact The Track through Messenger on The Tracks Facebook page, or email chateauspeedway@gmail.com A second Test and Tune session will be held next Tuesday Night, June 23rd, before the Season Opener Friday Night June 26th. First Green flag of the season will fly at 7:15 pm. Seven classes of cars will be featured every Friday Night. Lots of excitement surrounds the return of the WISSOTA Super Stocks this season. Running along with the Super"s will be WISSOTA Hornets, Pure Stocks, Street Stocks and Midwest Mods, and also back again this year will be the USRA A and B Mods.

    Minnesota Twins superstar Miguel Sanó told a Dominican Republic newspaper that he"s being blackmailed and being accused of kidnapping and assault. On Thursday, the Twins said they were aware of the report and they are still trying to find out more information about the situation. Sanó, who signed a three-year, $30 million contract in January will be the team"s first baseman when Major League Baseball resumes. The newspaper reported that Odalis Ramos, a lawyer, has accused Sanó and three of his friends of kidnapping, beating, and threatening to hang his client, Raudy Omar Sanchez de la Cruz, last month in Sanó"s hometown. Sanó denied all of the accusations and he said that Sanchez de la Cruz was involved in a sexual assault incident that included someone related to Sanó. So far, no charges have been filed.

    The Minnesota Timberwolves and Minnesota Lynx are cutting pay and staff because of the financial impact of the pandemic.

    Both teams are owned by Glen Taylor. The organization said it has temporarily reduced salaries for employees earning $70,000 or more annually and laid off an unspecified amount of its full-time workforce.

    At the RBC Heritage golf tournament Thursday Ian Poulter holed a 30-foot birdie putt and followed with a 5-iron to 4 feet for a birdie that closed out his round of 7-under 64, giving him a share of the lead Thursday with Mark Hubbard at Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. The top three players in the world are at Hilton Head – Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm and Justin Thomas and none broke par on a day in which 66 players in the 151-man field shot in the 60s. A year ago, only 38 players in the 132-man field opened with rounds in the 60s. Webb Simpson, Ryan Palmer and Viktor Hovland are one shot back of the leaders. Colonial winner Daniel Berger, Brooks Koepka, Ernie Els and Bryson DeChambeau, were in the large group at 67, 3 shots back.

    The Major League Baseball Players Association delivered a counterproposal to MLB that included a 70-game season and expanded playoffs in 2020 and 2021. In the deal MLB proposed, players would be paid their full prorated salaries - a total of $1.5 billion, or about 37% of their full-season salaries - and would receive another $25 million for postseason play and $33 million in forgiveness on the $170 million advance they received in the March agreement. But, surprise! MLB quickley rejected the offer.

    Jay Paul

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    Thursday Sports

    06/17/2020

    The Northwood Kensett Viking baseball team started the season with hot bats scoring 24 runs in two games. Those bats fell mostly silent last night as Nashua Plainfield came to town and knocked the Vikings around 11-1 in 5 innings. Well time to forget that game and get ready for Fridays game at West Fork. The Northwood Kensett softball team also lost to Nashua Plainfield last night. The score was 6-4. They will play at West Fork at 6 Friday. Lake Mills has been off since winning their season opener Monday. They are on the road tonight at Clarion Goldfield. Power 96"s next game broadcast will be Friday night, weather permitting in Lake Mills with the Bulldogs playing Bishop Garrigan.

    Major League Baseball has sent a proposal for a 60-game season at full prorated pay to the MLB Players Association. No deal is done, but with MLB commissioner Rob Manfred and MLBPA executive director Tony Clark having met recently, the latest offer is seen as significant progress considering where the parties were a few days ago. Some MLBPA members, however, don't believe the new plan guarantees enough salary to significantly distinguish it from the league's other proposals, believing at the very least that the number of games at full pro-rated salaries needs to increase. Under the latest proposal, the season would begin July 19th with the 60-game slate containing 10 off-days. Sources on both sides of the negotiations said there is an expectation that further talks will result in a schedule of about 65 games.

    The RBC Heritage golf tournament starts today in Hilton Head South Carolina. Still no Tiger Woods this weekend. The PGA Tour reported a second straight week of zero positive coronavirus tests. The total of 954 tests over two weeks includes the 98 players, caddies and family members who boarded chartered flights from Dallas on Monday to travel to Hilton Head for the second event on the PGA Tour's revised schedule after a 13-week shutdown. Those who traveled to South Carolina on their own were required to take a test on-site. Coronavirus testing is required of all players, caddies and assorted other tournament personnel. But only about half of those who are on-site are tested, something that will change at least for one week when the Travelers Championship is played next week in Connecticut. The tournament said all volunteers and media will be given a COVID-19 saliva test.

    NHL players won't be expected to wear full face shields if games resume this summer, though there could be plenty of covered faces around them. Equipment changes have not been a focus of return-to-play negotiations between the league and players' union, the emphasis has been on testing and other off-ice safety precautions. Because players are expected to be tested daily, there isn't expected to be additional on-ice equipment required for practices and games. Deputy commissioner Bill Daly additionally said he didn't anticipate any mandatory equipment changes to ensure player safety. Still, hockey equipment manufacturer Bauer has spoken with the league and teams about medical-grade off-ice visors that coaches, executives, team personnel and others could wear as a measure of protection against spreading or contracting COVID-19. Ten locations are in the running to serve as the "hub" cities that will host 24 playoff teams for initial rounds, Eastern and Western Conference finals and the Stanley Cup Final.

    Jay Paul

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    Hump Day Sports

    06/17/2020

    More Iowa high school baseball and softball action last night as Northwood Kensett starts the season 2-0 after a 10-5 win over North Iowa of Buffalo Center. The first 5 Viking batters in the ballgame scored in the first inning. Ethan Tasker had a 2 rbi triple in the 5th that blew the game open. The Northwood Kensett softball team pasted North Iowa 18-8 to go to 1-1 this season. They scored 9 runs in the 5th inning to pull away and Lake Mills softball is now 1-1 after another slugfest, losing 13-12 at Riceville. The Bulldogs won a 17-15 slugfest Monday over West Hancock. Tonight we"ll be in Northwood for the NK Vikings game against Nashua Plainfield at 7:30 here on Power 96 sports.

    The PGA Tour will keep the 3M Open in Minnesota on schedule, but the second-year event will be played without spectators on-site. Tournament officials announced Monday that the state's health guidelines in place for public gatherings during the COVID-19 pandemic will keep the galleries empty throughout the weekend of July 23-26. Attendance at the TPC Twin Cities course in Blaine, north of Minneapolis, will be limited to players, caddies, staff, media and other personnel deemed essential to the operation. The PGA Tour resumed last week after a three-month hiatus because of the virus outbreak. No spectators were admitted at the Charles Schwab Challenge in Texas, and the next three events also will be played without fans. The Memorial tournament in Ohio, rescheduled for mid-July right before the 3M Open, has received state approval for a limited amount of spectators.

    NASCAR's longtime fan favorite, Dale Earnhardt Jr, received the sport's biggest honor Tuesday, when he was selected to join his father in the series' Hall of Fame. Earnhardt will be inducted in Charlotte, North Carolina, along with the late Mike Stefanik and 87-year-old Red Farmer, who is planning to race on Talladega's dirt track this weekend. Ralph Seagraves was named the Landmark Award winner for his contributions to the sport.

    Despite never winning a series championship, Earnhardt received 76% of the votes cast on the modern era ballot. Junior's grandfather, Ralph, went into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1997 and was named one of NASCAR's 50 Greatest Drivers in 1998. Jr won 26 races - including two Daytona 500s and the 2001 Pepsi 400, the first Cup race held at Daytona after his father's death - before retiring as a full-time Cup driver following the 2017 season. Stefanik won seven titles in NASCAR's modified series and two more in the Busch North series. His nine total championships are tied with that of Richie Evans for the most in NASCAR history, and Stefanik was named the second-greatest driver in modified history in 2003. Farmer, one of the three original "Alabama Gang" drivers. The 87-year-old Farmer was a member of NASCAR's 50 Greatest Drivers and became a member of the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2004. This week, with the big series returning to Talladega, he's scrambling to put together a car for two nights of racing on the dirt track across the street. An executive with R.J. Reynolds Tobacco, Seagraves helped spearhead Winston's decision to sponsor NASCAR's premier series from 1971 to 2003. Winston's financial support allowed many tracks to upgrade their facilities, and the season-long points fund bolstered purses for drivers and teams.

    Jay Paul

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    Monday Sports

    06/15/2020

    Daniel Berger dreamed of moments like he experienced Sunday, a putt on the final hole with everything riding on it, and he pulled it off to perfection Sunday at Colonial. Of course he couldn"t imagine how quiet it would be. No cheers when his 10-foot birdie on the final hole gave him a share of the lead. No groans when Collin Morikawa missed a 6-foot birdie putt for the win. And more silence on the first playoff hole that Berger won with a par. One hole after a chance to win in regulation, Morikawa hit a superb pitch on the 17th hole in the playoff to 3 feet. Berger converted his simple up-and-down for par from behind the green, and Morikawa's short par putt to extend the playoff hit the right side of the cup and spun out. Berger, whose birdie on the 18th gave him a 4-under 66, won for the third time on the PGA Tour, all three titles coming on this same week in the calendar. The other two in 2016 and 2017 were at the St. Jude Classic when it preceded the U.S. Open. The scorecard this week included 487 tests for COVID-19 at Colonial, all returned negative. Next up is the RBC Heritage at Hilton Head on the South Carolina coast.

    Denny Hamlin went to the lead for the final time with 30 laps left and held off Chase Elliott for his record-tying third NASCAR Cup Series victory at Homestead Miami Speedway. Former drivers Tony Stewart and Greg Biffle are the other three-time winners. Hamlin raced to his third victory of the season and 40th overall. He opened the season with a victory in the Daytona 500 and won at Darlington last month. He led 137 of 267 laps on the 1 1/2-mile track in Joe Gibbs Racing's No. 11 Toyota, finishing nearly s second ahead of Elliott. Ryan Blaney was third in a race delayed by rain and lightning. Rookie Tyler Reddick finished fourth. Hamlin won the first two stages and bucked a trend this season, where drivers who do that don't wind up with the win. The last driver to win the first two stages and ultimately win the race was Martin Truex at Martinsville last Oct. 27. Next up is a 2 o"clock 500 mile race on Fathers day from Talladega superspeedway.

    ESPN will host a conversation with commissioners from the top U.S. sports leagues tonight regarding resuming competition amid the coronavirus pandemic. The Return of Sports will air at 8 on ESPN. Commissioners Roger Goodell (NFL), Adam Silver (NBA), Rob Manfred (MLB), Gary Bettman (NHL), Cathy Engelbert (WNBA) and Don Garber (MLS) are expected to participate in a discussion hosted remotely by Get Up's Mike Greenberg. The discussions will address health and safety for players and workers in a return to play, playing without fans in attendance, potential broadcast changes, and the economic impact the leagues are facing.

    The NBA informed teams in a memo Saturday that coronavirus testing for players and staff taking part in the league's restart will begin June 23 and take place every other day. The memo says players and "essential team staff" - any coaches, trainers or medical personnel who will be working with players directly, or will be part of the travel party to Orlando, Florida - will be administered both a COVID-19 test and an antibody test on June 23. Each person will then be administered another COVID-19 test every other day, as well as the two days directly before the team leaves for Walt Disney World. All teams are currently scheduled to arrive at Walt Disney World between July 7 and July 9. The memo doesn't say what type of testing the league will use, but it"s thought to be a less invasive nasal swab, and possibly much less invasive than the one that has been common so far. The league also plans to offer both a COVID-19 test and an antibody test to household members of players and essential staff on June 23, and will also provide free, public testing in each of the 21 cities with teams participating in the league's restart next month. Teams are expected to have close to three weeks after arriving in Orlando to prepare for the season to resume on July 30.

    Jay Paul

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    Weekend Sports

    06/12/2020

    The NBA has given teams a full training camp timeline, with head coaches allowed to work with players beginning June 23. Players traveling outside of the U.S. need to report by June 15 to team markets - with the rest of players arriving by June 22. Beginning on June 23, a head coach can be one of the two coaches working with players in voluntary workouts. Training camp is scheduled from July 9-29 at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort in Kissimmee, Florida, with three intersquad scrimmages. The season resumes on July 30. Playoffs begin Aug. 17 and conclude no later than Aug. 29. The league expects the NBA Finals could start by Sept. 30. Teams are allowed to bring as many as 17 players to Florida, including 14 or 15 players on a standard NBA contract and additional two-way spots.

    Major League Baseball's latest economic proposal to players slightly closes the financial gap between the sides but still falls shy of the union's desire for full prorated salaries, leaving the sides at a critical juncture as they work toward a return-to-play agreement. The league's offer Friday afternoon called for a season of 72 games and for players to max out at 80% of their full prorated salaries. The total compensation would be $1.27 billion guaranteed and can max out at $1.5 billion. The playoffs would expand from 10 to 16 teams. The previous offer had topped out at $1.4 billion in total compensation. MLB gave the players until Sunday to accept the offer. If the parties cannot reach an agreement, commissioner Rob Manfred will implement a shorter schedule expected to be in the range of 48 to 55 games. The league's unwillingness to meet the players' request for full prorated salaries remains the greatest chasm between the sides. Both parties had hoped to be in spring training 2.0 by Wednesday. The earliest teams could gather at this point would be June 22, and with a three-week period to prepare for a season, a mid-July start is the likeliest outcome for a longer season. Every day that burns off the calendar also lessens the potential length of a season, which is likely to prompt a final showdown in the coming days.

    Nascar is in Miami for a 400 miler Sunday at 2:30.

    DRIVER

    PT

    The National Hockey League's (NHL) Minnesota Wild today announced the Fourth Annual Minnesota Wild Leadership Summit, presented by West Bend Mutual Insurance, will be held virtually on Monday, July 13 from 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m. High school hockey captains and their coaches from Minnesota and around the country are invited to participate in the Leadership Summit. This event is a great opportunity for hockey captains and coaches to learn from a wide-ranging, inspiring and influential group of leaders. The Leadership Summit is free of charge and is open to the first 500 boys and girls high school hockey captains and coaches. Teams will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. Coaches can register their teams at wild.com/leadership

    Harold Varner III took his place in history in the PGA Tour's technology era, all because of a triple bogey. Jordan Spieth had his lowest 36-hole score in four years. Rory McIlroy shot 63 with a bogey on his final hole. The strongest field of the year in golf's return to competition produced an all-star leaderboard at the Charles Schwab Challenge. Varner had plenty of juices flowing after his first tee shot on No. 10 went onto a bridge, led to a one-shot penalty, and eventually a triple bogey that quickly knocked him out of a share of the lead. No worries. He answered with eight birdies and a place in the record book with a 66. Dating to the ShotLink era in 2003, it was the lowest score on the PGA Tour by a player who began his round with a triple bogey. He was at 11-under 129, the lowest 36-hole score of his career. He led by one over Spieth, who shot 65 despite a four-putt double bogey from 30 feet, and Bryson DeChambeau, who played bogey-free for his 65. Collin Morikawa (67) and Xander Schauffele (66) joined McIlroy at 9-under 131, with Justin Thomas (68) and Justin Rose (69) among those another shot back.

    Jay Paul

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    Friday Sports

    06/12/2020

    Minnesota Vikings running back slash kick returner Ameer Abdullah revealed a little of what head coach Mike Zimmer said to the team recently regarding the protests against police brutality toward black americans in Minneapolis and around the country. “He said, ‘I don"t understand, and maybe I haven"t given this as much attention, but I love every single one of you guys and I"ll fight for you like you"re my sons.” Zimmer was among those adamant in 2016 that players stand during the national anthem. But rather than remain steadfast and ignorant of the world around him, Zimmer did what many who hold those views have refused to do — he admitted not that he was wrong, but that he didn"t understand the issue. Linebacker Eric Kendricks said, “It was a big thing because he communicated to us that he does not understand. He is not from the same background. He does not share the same skin. He can"t begin to relate with us, but he hears us and he"s there for us. He expressed that if we want him to get involved with anything that we have going on as a committee, that he"s behind them all the way. General Manager Rick Spielman and his wife have six adopted kids of various nationalities. He was emotional on Wednesday talking about how his own son was racially profiled. “One of my sons gets pulled over because he"s driving my wife"s car - that's a really nice car - and he gets pulled over because of the color of his skin. To think that black man can"t be driving that car, he must"ve stolen that car. My son actually had to call home and get my wife on the phone to explain that it"s our car.”

    The Minnesota Twins, who are owned by the Pohlad family, announced Wednesday they are committing $25 million to racial justice through their family foundation. The "two-phased, community-based approach" will first focus on providing immediate relief and rebuilding organizations in impacted communities and matching employee donations to charitable efforts. The second phase is rooted in long-term efforts to partner with other "equally committed organizations to help change the systems that create racial inequities and marginalize people of color." The Minnesota Vikings and the Wilf family also announced Wednesday a $5 million donation to national social justice causes, a fund that will be determined through collaboration with the team's social justice committee and directed toward organizations "fighting hate, racism and inequality."   

    The NHL and the NHL Players' Association have announced that formal training camps for the 24 teams resuming play will begin on Friday, July 10, if conditions allow it. The league and its players are currently in Phase 2 of their "return to play" protocol, as NHL team training centers were reopened this week for small groups of players. Phase 3 is the opening of training camps, which are expected to last upward of three weeks. Phase 4, the restart of the 2019-20 NHL season with a 24-team postseason tournament, would commence in August. There are also collective bargaining talks happening between the sides in the ramp up to the restart.

    The Twins doubled down on college hitters in the second round of the 2020 MLB Draft by selecting the productive bat of outfielder Alerick Soularie out of the University of Tennessee with the No. 59 pick. Much like first-round selection Aaron Sabato from the University of North Carolina, Soularie is known for making hard contact at the plate with strong command of the strike zone. Soularie was named to the 2019 All-SEC First Team. Round 4, 128th overall: Marco Raya, RHP, United South High School (Laredo, Texas). The club"s first high school pick of the Draft, the 17 year old Raya boasts “advanced pitchability with a fastball, curveball, slider and changeup in his mix. Round 5, 158th overall: Kala'i Rosario, OF, Waiakea (Hilo, Hawaii) High School

    Golf was back to business at the Charles Schwab Challenge on Thursday as Justin Rose and Harold Varner III shared the lead at 7-under 63 at Colonial. Justin Thomas was among those a stroke back and minnesota native Tom Lehman, a 61-year-old former champion at Colonial, got in on the act with a 65.

    Nascar is in Miami Sunday for a 2:30 race that will go left for 400 miles.

    Jay Paul

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    Thursday Sports

    06/10/2020

    The Austin Bruins and Rochester Grizzlies hockey clubs have become the preeminent force for junior hockey in Southern Minnesota over the past couple years and now the two organizations are increasing their impact even more. Introducing the Southern Minnesota Bears U16 and U18 teams to begin play this year. Running from August to October, these teams are perfect for high school students looking to get more ice time in a competitive setting with coaching from both the Rochester Grizzlies and Austin Bruins organizations. Included in the program is 20 hours of instruction on Monday and Wednesday nights in Austin, as well as video sessions, and scrimmages for players to showcase their talents in a game-like setting. For more information go to austinbruins.com/u16u18

    Arizona State slugger Spencer Torkelson made history when the Detroit Tigers selected him with the first pick in the 2020 MLB draft on Wednesday, making him the first college first baseman and the first right-handed-hitting first baseman ever selected with the first overall pick.Torkelson played first base at Arizona State, but the Tigers announced him as a third baseman, and he has shown enough athleticism to convince some that he could stick at third base, despite never playing the position in college. The Miami Marlins took right-handed pitcher Max Meyer from the University of Minnesota with the third pick. Meyer was drafted in the 34th round of the 2017 Major League Baseball draft by the Minnesota Twins but did not sign with them. The Twins selected Aaron Sabato, a home run hitting first baseman out of North Carolina with the 27th overall pick in the first round. They have the next to the last, second or third to the lath pick in each of the 5 rounds except round 3, a pick they traded to Atlanta in the Josh Donaldson deal.

    The Major League Baseball Players Association has made a proposal to MLB for a season of 89 games, with a full prorated share of salary and expanded playoffs. But an MLB source familiar with the negotiations said that the proposal is a nonstarter. This newest MLBPA proposal would have the season start July 10 and end Oct. 11. It also would expand the postseason to 16 teams (eight in each league) for 2020 and 2021. By the way, baseball commissioner Rob Manfred is certain that Major League Baseball will take place this summer, but is hopeful that it will come as the result of a negotiated agreement with the MLB Players Association, which seems unlikely latley. If the two sides can't come to an agreement, Manfred has the power to implement a shorter season -probably 48 games - so long as the players get their full prorated salaries.

    In the first ever night race at Martinsville last night

    1 (19) M Truex Jr.

    2 (12) R Blaney

    3 (2) B Keselowski

    4 (22) J Logano

    5 (9) C Elliott

    Bubba Wallace finished 11th and two days after he called for NASCAR to ban all Confederate flags at racetracks, the organization did just that. Wallace is the circuit's only black full-time driver. NASCAR did not address how it would enforce the policy or indicate any penalties for fans who violate it by bringing the Confederate flag to the track.

    The PGA Tour will return in a big way Thursday with a blockbuster field at the Charles Schwab Challenge, where 16 of the top 20-ranked players in the world have entered the event. Tiger Woods is not among them. No spectators will be permitted with various COVID-19 testing protocols implemented.

    Jay Paul

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    Tuesday Sports

    06/08/2020

    Minnesota Vikings Pro Bowl running back Dalvin Cook will no longer participate in any team-related activities unless he receives what he determines to be a "reasonable" deal or he will not be showing up for camp or beyond. This offseason, the Vikings gave quarterback Kirk Cousins - who had one year left on his deal - a contract extension paying him $30 million per season; Cousins will make $150 million over five seasons. Cook has one year at $1.3 million left on his contract which helps explain why talks have stalled. It"s early, training camp isn"t until late July and the season doesn"t start po September 13th. The Vikings only have $12.3 million to spend for the year so they"d have to restructure someone else"s deal, cut someone or backload a new contract in order to get Cook to play this season.

    Major League Baseball made an updated proposal for the 2020 MLB season to its players' union on Monday, moving to have a 76-game season with players getting 75% of their prorated salaries that includes eliminating draft pick compensation for free agents for a year, a $200 million postseason pool for the players and a postseason that ends no later than Oct. 31. How likely are the players to accept the 76-game proposal with prorated salary? Not likely, the players aren't making that much more than from the 50-game possibility that exists. Since this offer is for less in guaranteed money, it seems unlikely the players will go for it, but it's getting close to crunch time. At least it's a sign that the owners are still negotiating. There is still a chance to have baseball in July, and that would be a big plus for the sport. A 76-game season would need to start in early July to be finished by the end of September or maybe start mid july with a bunch of scheduled double headers. Either way they need to agree quickly and get to spring training 2 next week. But the possibility of a shorter 48- or 50-game season is still in play and with the MLBPA likely to say no to this latest proposal by owners, we are still marching in that direction.

    As the NBA continues to prepare for its return to the court next month in Orlando, it has determined that the order in the standings will be determined by winning percentage. The 22 teams that are heading to Orlando have played varying numbers of games - anywhere from 63 on the low end to 67 on the high end. Because the league chose to have each of the 22 teams play eight "seeding games" in Orlando, that imbalance in the schedule will remain when those games have been completed. As a result, the final order of the teams won't be determined by how many games they are above or below .500, but instead by the team's winning percentage. The NBA still has several things it still needs to address before the season resumes. It has yet to announce what the schedule for each of the 22 teams will be, although it is expected to be at least based off the remaining games teams had on their schedule among the teams going to Disney World before the season was suspended. It still is working through its health and safety protocols for what its campus environment in Orlando will look like, and it still has to finalize any decisions on roster expansion or the ability for teams to sign players.

    The NFL and the NFL Players Association sent a planner to the 32 teams Sunday outlining procedures for the full reopening of their practice facilities, which were closed because of the pandemic. In a lengthy four-part memo to the clubs written by commissioner Roger Goodell and approved by the NFLPA, the league described protocols focusing on screening, testing, infection prevention and treatment for COVID-19, including response for new infections. No timetable has been set for the return of most players to team complexes; only players rehabilitating injuries have been allowed to enter the buildings. But this is the next major step toward allowing all players back in club facilities. Training camps are scheduled to begin in late July, with the first preseason game, Dallas vs. Pittsburgh in the Hall of Fame game, on Aug. 6. The NFL still plans to kick off the regular season in Kansas City on Sept. 10.

    Jay Paul

    Click here for audio

       

       

    Weekend Sports

    06/05/2020

    After more than two months without high school sports, the Minnesota State High School League has provided the first concrete step toward possibly resuming competition when it approved a June 15 starting date for summer training by coaches and athletes. The summer waiver period, when coaches can work with their athletes, remains scheduled to end Aug. 7, with fall activities scheduled to begin Aug. 17. Recently League Executive Director Erich Martens addressed more than 300 activities directors via video call and expressed hope for a regular start to fall sports. When, or if, a fall sports season is approved, most agree changes are to be expected. Many sports are attempting to devise a plan for resuming play while adhering to health department guidelines about social distancing and sanitation. Maybe the biggest challenge for most activities directors will be convincing some parents, athletes, coaches and even themselves that it"s safe to resume play.. some activities directors expects to see “a decrease in participation"" when play does resume.

    MLB players reaffirmed their stance for full prorated pay, leaving a huge gap with teams that could scuttle plans to start the season around the Fourth of July and might leave owners focusing on a schedule as short as 50 games. More than 100 players, including the union's executive board, held a two-hour digital meeting with officials of the Major League Baseball Players Association on Thursday, a day after their offer was rejected by Major League Baseball. MLB last week proposed an 82-game season with an additional sliding scale of pay cuts that would leave a player at the $563,500 minimum with 47% of his original salary and top stars Mike Trout and Gerrit Cole at less than 22% of the $36 million they had been set to earn.

    Players countered Sunday with a plan for a 114-game regular season with no pay cuts beyond the prorated salaries they agreed to on March 26. That would leave each player with about 70% of his original pay. MLB rejected that Wednesday, when deputy commissioner Dan Halem wrote a letter to union chief negotiator Bruce Meyer informing him "we do not have any reason to believe that a negotiated solution for an 82-game season is possible.” Management officials have threatened to propose a shortened slate of perhaps 50 games or fewer. There has not been a schedule averaging fewer than 82 games per team in 141 years. While baseball has reverted to the economic bickering that led to eight work stoppages from 1972 to 1995, the NBA, NHL and MLS have moved ahead with plans to resume their seasons.

    The NBA board of governors voted Thursday to approve a 22-team format to restart the 2019-20 season July 31 in Orlando. The vote was 29-1, with the Portland Trail Blazers voting against the proposal. Under the plan, 13 Western Conference teams and nine Eastern Conference teams will play eight regular-season "seeding" games, a possible play-in tournament for the eighth seed and playoffs at the Walt Disney World Resort. The top 16 teams in the Eastern and Western conferences will be joined by teams currently within six games of eighth place in the two conferences. The play-in tournament will include the No. 8 and No. 9 teams in a conference - if the ninth seed finishes the regular season within four games of the eighth. In that case, the No. 9 seed would need to beat the No. 8 seed twice to earn the playoff berth, while the No. 8 would need one win from the two potential games. Teams will begin training in Orlando starting July 9-11. The league also offered dates beyond the July 31-Oct. 12 season window, with the draft lottery set on Aug. 25, the NBA draft on Oct. 15 and the 2020-21 season likely beginning Dec. 1. Sources told ESPN that free agency could begin Oct. 18, with training camps starting Nov. 10, though teams were told to consider the free-agency date as flexible. Some members of the board of governors whose teams were left out of the Orlando restart disagreed with the 22-team format but decided to cast "yes" votes. The NBA is planning to have uniform daily testing for the coronavirus within the Disney campus environment. If a player tests positive for the virus, the league's intent would be to remove that player from the team to quarantine and receive treatment individually - and continue to test other team members as they play on. Employees at the Disney resort will have to maintain similar protocols. For example, no staff will be allowed into players' rooms, and hallways will be carefully managed to avoid crowding.

    The NHL and NHL Players' Association have agreed that the qualifying round of the 24-team tournament will be best-of-five series and all four playoff rounds will be best-of-seven series. The sides also determined that the tournament will not be bracketed but will be reseeded after every round. The NHL and NHLPA now must agree on health and safety protocols for games, and determine whether family members will be allowed to travel with players into the "bubble." The NHL has said it plans to test players daily for the coronavirus once games resume. Commissioner Gary Bettman has projected that the NHL will require between 25,000 and 35,000 tests. Since each test will cost about $125, the price tag for testing will be in the millions. The NHL has determined it will resume play in two "hub" cities, which will be NHL markets. The NHL narrowed the list to 10 possible cities, but there is no time frame to make an announcement. The NHL won't mandate that players return to their playing cities until training camp. There is speculation that training camp will be roughly three weeks, but that is something the NHL and NHLPA will have to negotiate, and Bettman said he will seek input from the players.

    The Vikings have done a good job of accumulating talent after losing veterans this offseason, but sometimes losing veterans comes with a price. The Vikings got a good haul from the Stefon Diggs trade, but losing him cost Minnesota $9 million in dead money. The Vikings also cut Xavier Rhodes, which led to a dead money hit of $4.8 million. Those moves and others added up to Minnesota having more dead money than cap space, according to Over The Cap founder Jason Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald ranked the Vikings as one of the 11 teams to have that problem. The team has $12.3 million in cap space, but $20.4 million in dead money. Minnesota has the fifth-most dead money in the NFL.

    Panthers-$3.3M cap/$36.4M dead

    Rams- $5.4M/$30.6M

    Patriots- $1.3M/$26.1M

    Jaguars- $20.4M/$37.1M

    Vikings- $12.3M/$20.4M

    Dead money counts towards the salary cap, but cannot be used to sign players . When a team cuts or trades a player, a certain amount of that player"s cap hit can be saved and used on other talent, but a certain amount of it is dead money, which cannot be used.

    The Vikings having a lot of dead money means they had a lot of talent leave this offseason, which isn"t necessarily a bad thing. Minnesota added cheaper talent in return, which can add up to being a financially sound decision for the long term.

    Earlier this week, PFF projected who the top quarterbacks of the 2020 season will be. In their rankings, Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins ranks right in the middle of the pack at 16. PFF gives Cousins a 1.2% chance to be the best quarterback in the league, an 11% chance to be in the top-5, a 27% chance to be in the top-10, a 49% chance to be in the top-16 and a 7% chance to be among the five worst.

    In 2019, Cousins graded as PFF"s sixth-best quarterback.

    Not exactly a ringing endorsement, but that"s kind of been the story of Kirk Cousins" career.

    To round out the NFC North, Aaron Rodgers ranks fourth, Matthew Stafford ranks 14th and Nick Foles ranks 27th.

    2 oclock Sunday the nascar boys will go left around the track in Atlanta.

    DRIVER PTS WINS PB

    1. J Logano 346 2 -

    2. B Keselowski 315 2 31

    3. D Hamlin 276 2 70

    4. K Harvick 370 1 -24

    5. C Elliott 325 1 21

    Jay Paul

    Click here for audio

       

       

    06/05/2020

    After more than two months without high school sports, the Minnesota State High School League has provided the first concrete step toward possibly resuming competition when it approved a June 15 starting date for summer training by coaches and athletes. The summer waiver period, when coaches can work with their athletes, remains scheduled to end Aug. 7, with fall activities scheduled to begin Aug. 17. Recently League Executive Director Erich Martens addressed more than 300 activities directors via video call and expressed hope for a regular start to fall sports. When, or if, a fall sports season is approved, most agree changes are to be expected. Many sports are attempting to devise a plan for resuming play while adhering to health department guidelines about social distancing and sanitation. Maybe the biggest challenge for most activities directors will be convincing some parents, athletes, coaches and even themselves that it"s safe to resume play.. some activities directors expects to see “a decrease in participation"" when play does resume.

    MLB players reaffirmed their stance for full prorated pay, leaving a huge gap with teams that could scuttle plans to start the season around the Fourth of July and might leave owners focusing on a schedule as short as 50 games. More than 100 players, including the union's executive board, held a two-hour digital meeting with officials of the Major League Baseball Players Association on Thursday, a day after their offer was rejected by Major League Baseball. MLB last week proposed an 82-game season with an additional sliding scale of pay cuts that would leave a player at the $563,500 minimum with 47% of his original salary and top stars Mike Trout and Gerrit Cole at less than 22% of the $36 million they had been set to earn.

    Players countered Sunday with a plan for a 114-game regular season with no pay cuts beyond the prorated salaries they agreed to on March 26. That would leave each player with about 70% of his original pay. MLB rejected that Wednesday, when deputy commissioner Dan Halem wrote a letter to union chief negotiator Bruce Meyer informing him "we do not have any reason to believe that a negotiated solution for an 82-game season is possible.” Management officials have threatened to propose a shortened slate of perhaps 50 games or fewer. There has not been a schedule averaging fewer than 82 games per team in 141 years. While baseball has reverted to the economic bickering that led to eight work stoppages from 1972 to 1995, the NBA, NHL and MLS have moved ahead with plans to resume their seasons.

    The NBA board of governors voted Thursday to approve a 22-team format to restart the 2019-20 season July 31 in Orlando. The vote was 29-1, with the Portland Trail Blazers voting against the proposal. Under the plan, 13 Western Conference teams and nine Eastern Conference teams will play eight regular-season "seeding" games, a possible play-in tournament for the eighth seed and playoffs at the Walt Disney World Resort. The top 16 teams in the Eastern and Western conferences will be joined by teams currently within six games of eighth place in the two conferences. The play-in tournament will include the No. 8 and No. 9 teams in a conference - if the ninth seed finishes the regular season within four games of the eighth. In that case, the No. 9 seed would need to beat the No. 8 seed twice to earn the playoff berth, while the No. 8 would need one win from the two potential games. Teams will begin training in Orlando starting July 9-11. The league also offered dates beyond the July 31-Oct. 12 season window, with the draft lottery set on Aug. 25, the NBA draft on Oct. 15 and the 2020-21 season likely beginning Dec. 1. Sources told ESPN that free agency could begin Oct. 18, with training camps starting Nov. 10, though teams were told to consider the free-agency date as flexible. Some members of the board of governors whose teams were left out of the Orlando restart disagreed with the 22-team format but decided to cast "yes" votes. The NBA is planning to have uniform daily testing for the coronavirus within the Disney campus environment. If a player tests positive for the virus, the league's intent would be to remove that player from the team to quarantine and receive treatment individually - and continue to test other team members as they play on. Employees at the Disney resort will have to maintain similar protocols. For example, no staff will be allowed into players' rooms, and hallways will be carefully managed to avoid crowding.

    The NHL and NHL Players' Association have agreed that the qualifying round of the 24-team tournament will be best-of-five series and all four playoff rounds will be best-of-seven series. The sides also determined that the tournament will not be bracketed but will be reseeded after every round. The NHL and NHLPA now must agree on health and safety protocols for games, and determine whether family members will be allowed to travel with players into the "bubble." The NHL has said it plans to test players daily for the coronavirus once games resume. Commissioner Gary Bettman has projected that the NHL will require between 25,000 and 35,000 tests. Since each test will cost about $125, the price tag for testing will be in the millions. The NHL has determined it will resume play in two "hub" cities, which will be NHL markets. The NHL narrowed the list to 10 possible cities, but there is no time frame to make an announcement. The NHL won't mandate that players return to their playing cities until training camp. There is speculation that training camp will be roughly three weeks, but that is something the NHL and NHLPA will have to negotiate, and Bettman said he will seek input from the players.

    The Vikings have done a good job of accumulating talent after losing veterans this offseason, but sometimes losing veterans comes with a price. The Vikings got a good haul from the Stefon Diggs trade, but losing him cost Minnesota $9 million in dead money. The Vikings also cut Xavier Rhodes, which led to a dead money hit of $4.8 million. Those moves and others added up to Minnesota having more dead money than cap space, according to Over The Cap founder Jason Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald ranked the Vikings as one of the 11 teams to have that problem. The team has $12.3 million in cap space, but $20.4 million in dead money. Minnesota has the fifth-most dead money in the NFL.

    Panthers-$3.3M cap/$36.4M dead

    Rams- $5.4M/$30.6M

    Patriots- $1.3M/$26.1M

    Jaguars- $20.4M/$37.1M

    Vikings- $12.3M/$20.4M

    Dead money counts towards the salary cap, but cannot be used to sign players . When a team cuts or trades a player, a certain amount of that player"s cap hit can be saved and used on other talent, but a certain amount of it is dead money, which cannot be used.

    The Vikings having a lot of dead money means they had a lot of talent leave this offseason, which isn"t necessarily a bad thing. Minnesota added cheaper talent in return, which can add up to being a financially sound decision for the long term.

    Earlier this week, PFF projected who the top quarterbacks of the 2020 season will be. In their rankings, Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins ranks right in the middle of the pack at 16. PFF gives Cousins a 1.2% chance to be the best quarterback in the league, an 11% chance to be in the top-5, a 27% chance to be in the top-10, a 49% chance to be in the top-16 and a 7% chance to be among the five worst.

    In 2019, Cousins graded as PFF"s sixth-best quarterback.

    Not exactly a ringing endorsement, but that"s kind of been the story of Kirk Cousins" career.

    To round out the NFC North, Aaron Rodgers ranks fourth, Matthew Stafford ranks 14th and Nick Foles ranks 27th.

    2 oclock Sunday the nascar boys will go left around the track in Atlanta.

    DRIVER PTS WINS PB

    1. J Logano 346 2 -

    2. B Keselowski 315 2 31

    3. D Hamlin 276 2 70

    4. K Harvick 370 1 -24

    5. C Elliott 325 1 21

    Jay Paul

    Click here for audio

       

       

    Thursday Sports

    06/04/2020

    The NBA's board of governors will announce today that they have approved a league proposal today on a 22-team format to restart the season in Orlando. Commissioner Adam Silver and the league's advisory/finance committee have shared the broad details of a plan with teams to play at the Walt Disney World Resort. The plan includes 13 Western Conference teams and nine Eastern Conference teams, eight regular-season games, a possible play-in tournament for the eighth seed, and playoffs. The top 16 teams in the Eastern and Western conferences will be joined by teams currently within six games of eighth place in the two conferences. The play-in tournament will include the No. 8 and No. 9 teams - if the ninth seed finishes the regular season within four games of the eighth. In that case, the No. 8 seed enters a double-elimination tournament and the No. 9 seed a single-elimination tournament. Teams will begin training at team sites in July and advance to full training camps in Orlando later that month. For those eight teams left out of the playoffs - including- there has already been dialogue with the league urging mandatory summer training camps and regional fall leagues that could bridge the lengthy gap between seasons.

    The Minnesota Timberwolves may not be included in the rest of the season but they have teamed with the Minnesota Lynx to announce the first of many steps the organization will take to fight racism and help unite its communities following the murder of George Floyd by law enforcement. The organization will enter a multi-year partnership with The Minneapolis Foundation to address systemic inequities and translate community anger into actions. The partnership will include civic leadership duties with Timberwolves Head Coach Ryan Saunders and Lynx Head Coach and General Manager Cheryl Reeve to serve as leaders on one of two advisory committees that will oversee the disbursement of the Fund for Safe Communities, a fund that will champion the prevention of further violence, address systemic inequities, reform the criminal justice system and heal communities affected by this tragedy. The second advisory committee will be compiled of diverse youth from Minneapolis. The two committees will work collectively to disburse funds from the Fund for Safe Communities as early as next week. Timberwolves and Lynx organization will announce additional programming and initiatives pertaining to ending systemic racism and the need for community conversations. Its players, some of whom are the most visible young black men and women in America, will be part of these initiatives that will bring healing and change in Minneapolis. Donations can be made by texting SAFEMPLS to 243725.

    As expected Major League Baseball has rejected the players' offer for a 114-game regular season with no additional salary cuts and told the union it did not plan to make a counterproposal. Players made their proposal Sunday, up from an 82-game regular season in management's offer last week. Opening Day would be June 30, and the regular season would end Oct. 31. MLB told the union it had no interest in extending the season into November, when it fears a second wave of the coronavirus could disrupt the postseason and jeopardize $787 million in broadcast revenue. While management has suggested it could play a short regular season of about 50 games with no more salary reductions, it has not formally proposed that concept. Earlier this week, multiple players told ESPN that they would not accept a shorter schedule. Teams and players hope to start the season in ballparks with no fans, and teams say they would sustain huge losses if salaries are not cut more. The sides agreed to a deal March 26 in which players accepted prorated salaries in exchange for $170 million in advances and a guarantee that if the season is scrapped each player would get 2020 service time matching what the player accrued in 2019.

    Jay Paul

    Click here for audio

       

       

    Hump Day Sports

    06/02/2020

    A week after George Floyd died while in custody of the Minneapolis Police Department, two Minnesota Vikings linebackers are speaking out in response to a statement issued by the NFL on Saturday. In the statement, the NFL addressed its commitment to using its platform "in communities and as part of the fabric of American society" and added "we embrace that responsibility and are committed to continuing the important work to address these systemic issues together with our players, clubs and partners." Vikings linebackers Eric Kendricks and Anthony Barr, who are on the team's social justice committee, issued identical tweets denouncing the league's stance saying, "Your statement said nothing. Your league is built on black athletes. Vague answers do nothing. Let the players know what you're ACTUALLY doing. And we know what silence means. The Vikings are discussing methods for how to best support the Twin Cities with cleanup efforts and other charitable causes. Tight end Kyle Rudolph and a handful of other players are organizing a food drive that will take place in the Minneapolis area on Friday. Rudolph has also been an active member of the Vikings' social justice committee, which was formed two years ago and aims to provide school supplies and scholarships in low-income communities, work with community organizations and juvenile detention centers, provide legal aid and improve relations between law enforcement officers and the areas they serve.

    NFL teams must hold training camps this summer at their main practice facilities because of the pandemic according to commissioner Roger Goodell. In addition, teams will not be allowed to hold joint training camp practices with other teams. In 2019, 10 teams practiced away from their main practice facilities. The Dallas Cowboys and Pittsburgh Steelers are scheduled for the Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio, on Aug. 6, and would be the first two teams to report in late July. Pittsburgh usually trains in nearby Latrobe, Pennsylvania. The Cowboys travel to Oxnard, California. The Raiders' move to Las Vegas has been complicated by the pandemic. They had been working out of their Oakland-area complex in Alameda, had been planning to hold training camp as usual in Napa, about one hour north of the Bay Area, but now will hold camp at their new facility in Henderson, Nevada. The league announced in mid-May that teams could begin reopening their facilities on a limited basis when state and local governments allowed it. The next phase of reopening began Monday with clubs allowed to reopen ticket offices, retail shops and other customer-facing facilities, as long as the openings fully comply with state and local regulations. Currently, no coaches are allowed in team facilities, although that could change in the near future.

    As the NBA models a 22-team format for the season's proposed resumption beginning July 31 in Orlando, Florida, a timeline shared with teams as a last possible date for a Finals Game 7 lands on Oct. 12. Commissioner Adam Silver is expected to have a proposal to take to a vote of the NBA's Board of Governors meeting Thursday. The expectation is that the NBA draft and the opening of free agency would follow in sequential order in October. The NBA and National Basketball Players Association are still discussing details on a format, and there is still room for the league to maneuver on the structure of a return-to-play ideas. The Board of Governors requires a three-fourths passage of the 30 teams on a plan, but there's an expectation among owners that they'll fall into line and overwhelmingly approve the commissioner's recommendation on a plan. The NBA has been advancing on a plan that would include regular-season, play-in and playoff games for the 16 teams currently holding playoff position - and six more teams within six games of the eighth seed in each conference. Those teams do not include the Minnesota Timberwolves.

    It's music to NASCAR's ears: the stock car series is set to return to Nashville, Tennessee in 2021. Nashville Superspeedway will hold a Cup race for the first time next season, ending NASCAR's decade-long absence from the track. The Nashville track is owned by Dover Motorsports, Inc., which has held Cup race weekends at Dover International Speedway each year since 1969. Dover will give up one of its dates and move it to Nashville for an expected late June 2021 race. The 1.33-mile concrete track was built in 2001 by Dover Motorsports and hosted NASCAR and IndyCar events until 2011. The track is situated on approximately 1,000 acres just outside Nashville, and currently has 25,000 permanent grandstand seats and lights for night racing. The track a modern makeover would cost at least $8 million to $10 million and he'd like to fit capacity at the 25,000-50,000 mark.

    Jay Paul

    Click here for audio

       

       

    06/02/2020

    A week after George Floyd died while in custody of the Minneapolis Police Department, two Minnesota Vikings linebackers are speaking out in response to a statement issued by the NFL on Saturday. In the statement, the NFL addressed its commitment to using its platform "in communities and as part of the fabric of American society" and added "we embrace that responsibility and are committed to continuing the important work to address these systemic issues together with our players, clubs and partners." Vikings linebackers Eric Kendricks and Anthony Barr, who are on the team's social justice committee, issued identical tweets denouncing the league's stance saying, "Your statement said nothing. Your league is built on black athletes. Vague answers do nothing. Let the players know what you're ACTUALLY doing. And we know what silence means. The Vikings are discussing methods for how to best support the Twin Cities with cleanup efforts and other charitable causes. Tight end Kyle Rudolph and a handful of other players are organizing a food drive that will take place in the Minneapolis area on Friday. Rudolph has also been an active member of the Vikings' social justice committee, which was formed two years ago and aims to provide school supplies and scholarships in low-income communities, work with community organizations and juvenile detention centers, provide legal aid and improve relations between law enforcement officers and the areas they serve.

    NFL teams must hold training camps this summer at their main practice facilities because of the pandemic according to commissioner Roger Goodell. In addition, teams will not be allowed to hold joint training camp practices with other teams. In 2019, 10 teams practiced away from their main practice facilities. The Dallas Cowboys and Pittsburgh Steelers are scheduled for the Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio, on Aug. 6, and would be the first two teams to report in late July. Pittsburgh usually trains in nearby Latrobe, Pennsylvania. The Cowboys travel to Oxnard, California. The Raiders' move to Las Vegas has been complicated by the pandemic. They had been working out of their Oakland-area complex in Alameda, had been planning to hold training camp as usual in Napa, about one hour north of the Bay Area, but now will hold camp at their new facility in Henderson, Nevada. The league announced in mid-May that teams could begin reopening their facilities on a limited basis when state and local governments allowed it. The next phase of reopening began Monday with clubs allowed to reopen ticket offices, retail shops and other customer-facing facilities, as long as the openings fully comply with state and local regulations. Currently, no coaches are allowed in team facilities, although that could change in the near future.

    As the NBA models a 22-team format for the season's proposed resumption beginning July 31 in Orlando, Florida, a timeline shared with teams as a last possible date for a Finals Game 7 lands on Oct. 12. Commissioner Adam Silver is expected to have a proposal to take to a vote of the NBA's Board of Governors meeting Thursday. The expectation is that the NBA draft and the opening of free agency would follow in sequential order in October. The NBA and National Basketball Players Association are still discussing details on a format, and there is still room for the league to maneuver on the structure of a return-to-play ideas. The Board of Governors requires a three-fourths passage of the 30 teams on a plan, but there's an expectation among owners that they'll fall into line and overwhelmingly approve the commissioner's recommendation on a plan. The NBA has been advancing on a plan that would include regular-season, play-in and playoff games for the 16 teams currently holding playoff position - and six more teams within six games of the eighth seed in each conference. Those teams do not include the Minnesota Timberwolves.

    It's music to NASCAR's ears: the stock car series is set to return to Nashville, Tennessee in 2021. Nashville Superspeedway will hold a Cup race for the first time next season, ending NASCAR's decade-long absence from the track. The Nashville track is owned by Dover Motorsports, Inc., which has held Cup race weekends at Dover International Speedway each year since 1969. Dover will give up one of its dates and move it to Nashville for an expected late June 2021 race. The 1.33-mile concrete track was built in 2001 by Dover Motorsports and hosted NASCAR and IndyCar events until 2011. The track is situated on approximately 1,000 acres just outside Nashville, and currently has 25,000 permanent grandstand seats and lights for night racing. The track a modern makeover would cost at least $8 million to $10 million and he'd like to fit capacity at the 25,000-50,000 mark.

    Jay Paul

    Click here for audio

       

       

    Tuesday Sports

    06/02/2020

    The Minnesota Vikings have had a lot of turnover this offseason but that doesn"t mean 2020 will be a wash. Head coach Mike Zimmer and general manager Rick Spielman are both entering contract seasons and will have to win and advance into the playoffs to stay in Minnesota. Kirk Cousins looked shaky under John DeFilippo"s system, but it seemed like the quarterback found his stride under Kevin Stefanski. You could argue that Stefanski leaving makes this a negative for the Vikings, but Gary Kubiak getting promoted to offensive coordinator means that the system will probably be more or less the same, play-action passes and a run-first offense. Cornerbacks Xavier Rhodes, Trae Waynes and Mackensie Alexander are gone. Now, we get to see young players enter into bigger roles. Mike Hughes and Holton Hill have both been good when they"re on the field. There"s also rookies Jeff Gladney, Cameron Dantzler and Harrison Hand. You can"t forget about Kris Boyd and Nate Meadors, either. Those players will be fun to watch and based on how Rhodes played at times last season, someone like Hughes, Hill or Gladney has a chance to be better. Minnesota also has two of the top safeties in the league. Anthony Harris and Harrison Smith are now both under contract, after Harris signed his franchise tender this offseason. And despite below average corner play at times, Pro Football Focus ranked the Vikings coverage unit third in the league. Dalvin Cook is coming off of 1,135 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns in 2019, which were career highs for him. Cook has proven he can be good when he"s healthy. He missed two games in 2019 and still put up those numbers. Michael Pierce has a chance to be really good. Pierce showed he could be a threat to stop the run and clog up holes with the Ravens. He could very well have more reps with the Vikings, too. In many of his games, he played around 30 snaps. I could see him playing more if he can handle it, and help clear the way for other defensive linemen like Danielle Hunter and Ifeadi Odenigbo.

    Unable to reach a return-to-play agreement, Major League Baseball has discussed playing a shorter schedule in which it would pay members of the MLB Players Association their full prorated salaries. Though MLB does not intend to propose this to the players, the possibility of implementing a schedule of around 50 games that would start in July has been considered by the league as a last resort in the event the parties can't come to a deal. Players have held out for a full prorated portion of their salaries based on a March 26 agreement with the league, and in an offer Sunday they proposed a 114 game schedule that would cover 70.3% of their original salaries. A 50-game schedule would pay the players 30.8% of that number. The league's first proposal to the union offered an 82-game schedule with significant salary cuts. The league, which has contended it will lose money each game it plays without fans and with players making their full pro rata, has pushed for a shorter season due to fears of a second wave of the coronavirus potentially wiping out its postseason and the revenue that comes with it. The economic feasibility language in the scheduling section also could serve as a rationale from the teams for a shorter season.

    Floyd Mayweather will be paying for the funeral services for George Floyd who died last week in Minneapolis after Derek Chauvin, a white police officer, kneeled on his neck for more than eight minutes. A Mayweather spokesman added that the former five-division world champion has been in touch with the family of Floyd and that the family has accepted the offer. Mayweather previously stepped in to cover the funeral expenses of former boxer Genaro Hernandez, who died of cancer at age 45 in 2011. Mayweather won his first world title by defeating Hernandez in 1998.

    Near the end of the NBA's board of governors call on Friday, Oklahoma City Thunder owner Clay Bennett delivered a plea for all owners to consider the competitive and financial plights of smaller-market teams that could be left out of the season's summer resumption in Orlando, Florida - and the potential symbolic power of all 30 teams gathering there to play as one united association. Between now and Thursday's vote of the board of governors on the plan to restart the season, the NBA is working to complete the details of a 22-team format for Orlando, even as they wait on the final details to be agreed upon with the NBPA. If the NBA ends up settling on the 22-team format, at least some of the remaining eight teams will push for some form of training camp over the summer. Franchises fear being apart from their players for as long as eight or nine months.

    Jay Paul

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    June One Sports

    05/31/2020

    Brad Keselowski inherited his second win in a week when the leaders crashed in front of him with a lap remaining Sunday at Bristol Motor Speedway. He won the Coca Cola 600 seven nights ago at Charlotte Motor Speedway when a caution with two laps remaining helped him get to victory lane. Logano finished 21st and Elliott was 22nd. Clint Bowyer was second for his best finish in a year and a 1-2 finish for Ford. Seven-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson was third in a Chevrolet and once again unable to snap his now 104-race non winning streak. Kyle Busch and Erik Jones rounded out the top-five in a pair of Toyota's for Joe Gibbs Racing. No Wednesday race this week as the guys go to Atlanta for Sundays 500 mile race at 2PM.

    Major League Baseball's shortened amateur draft will remain at the MLB Network studios in Secaucus, New Jersey, for the first round on June 10. MLB shortened the selections to five rounds and 160 picks, by far the fewest number of picks since the draft started in 1965. Before the pandemic, the draft had been scheduled to take place in Omaha, Nebraska, ahead of the now-canceled College World Series. The first 37 picks will take place on the opening day and the remainder on June 11. The deadline for selected players to sign was pushed back from July 10 to Aug. 1. Detroit picks first, followed by Baltimore, Miami and Kansas City. Houston was stripped of its first- and second-round selections as part of MLB penalties for using a video camera to steal catcher's signs. Boston lost its second-round selection for improper use of video. Minnesota picks 27th ahead of only the Yankees and Dodgers in the first round. As part of the deal with the union, teams have the right to cut the 2021 draft to as few as 20 rounds. That fits in MLB's proposal to cut the minimum number of minor league affiliations from 160 to 120 in 2021, allowing each organization to drop one farm team.

    Deputy NHL commissioner Bill Daly said players will be tested for covid19 daily if games start happening. Each test costs approximately $125, the league says, and commissioner Gary Bettman estimated 25,000-35,000 will be needed to get through the playoffs - a price tag of millions of dollars. The NHL Players Association said, “You need testing at a level sufficient to be confident that you're going to be on top of anything which might happen. If that turns out to be daily, and that's available, that's OK. That would be good." While players vary on their general concern about contracting the virus by resuming the season, many seem to be on board with frequent testing. Part of the decision on which cities host games is the amount of COVID-19 present in the community. Bettman hopes the combination of going to a place with less of it, testing frequently and putting players in a quarantine "bubble" of sorts means it's less likely for anyone to contract it.

    Jay Paul

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