John Shipley / St. Paul Pioneer Press
MINNEAPOLIS — The NCAA selection committee rewarded Big Ten champion Minnesota with its first home regional tournament since 2000. The Gophers responded by advancing to their first Super Regional, where they received no favors from schedulers. Minnesota (44-13) will begin a three-game series Friday, June 8, against Oregon State (47-10-1) at the Beavers' Goss Stadium in Corvallis, Ore. It is the Beavers' seventh Super Regional appearance since 2005, and they're 5-0 (10-2 in games played) when playing at home.
MINNEAPOLIS — Joe Mauer's steady recovery from concussion symptoms took a positive step on Wednesday, June 6, when the Twins first baseman went through the team's entire pregame routine at Target Field. Mauer went took infield practice and joined the team for batting practice before a 7:10 p.m. first pitch against the White Sox. "Another good day," he said.
"Some mistakes," Roy Hobbs lamented from his hospital bed, "I guess we never stop paying for." In Bernard Malamud's book "The Natural," — spoiler alert! — that is, in fact, true. Malamud's 34-year-old rookie from nowhere has feet of clay. He makes bad decisions and strikes out to end the New York Knights' shot at the World Series, his quest at redemption ending quietly in emasculating ignominy.
MINNEAPOLIS — Under the watchful eye of three former major league all-stars, Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen proved that he can hit a baseball even farther than he can knock a quarterback. One of five members of the defending NFC North champions invited to take batting practice before the Twins' game against the Cleveland Indians on Friday night, Jne 1, Griffen supplied the highlight by drilling a no-doubt line drive deep into Target Field's left-field bleachers.
MINNEAPOLIS — Baseball fans don't have to be of a certain age to wonder why batters often hit right into a defensive shift. When an observer sees an entire side of the infield open, it seems reasonable to think a major league hitter could poke one to third base for a hit. Major league hitters tend to disagree. "It seems so easy to be like, 'OK, I'll just hit it where they're not.' That's what everyone is saying," Twins second baseman Brian Dozier said. "Now, I'm saying this with the utmost respect: Everyone's wrong, and I'm 100 percent correct.
MINNEAPOLIS — After the Twins earned an American League wild-card spot last season, their first postseason appearance since 2010, many baseball watchers were expecting even more from Minnesota this season. Certainly more than they're getting right now. President of baseball operations Derek Falvey and general manager Thad Levine made offseason moves to bolster the rotation and bullpen, and add power to the lineup, and a solid start had the Twins leading the AL Central for most of the first two weeks of the season.
MINNEAPOLIS — The Twins know they want and need Byron Buxton back in center field. How they'll get him there remains something of a work in progress. Nursing the fractured big toe on his left foot, Buxton will travel with the Twins to for a four-game road trip against the White Sox in Chicago starting Thursday, May 3, but doesn't appear close to returning from the disabled list. He was injured when he fouled a ball off the toe in Ft. Myers, Fla., where he was on a rehab assignment after being placed on the DL because of migraines.
Jamal Crawford wasn’t the first Timberwolves player to be asked about the third quarter of their playoff game against Houston on Monday, but he was the first to suggest that only video would truly tell what happened. “Well, obviously,” he began, “we have to watch it first.” I don’t know, man.
ST. PAUL — The Wild played on an ice sheet this season composed in part of water from all around the state, brought by fans throughout the season, part of a campaign the team called "This is Our Ice." Next year, perhaps, they can tweak it. "This is Our Team (and You're Stuck with It)."
ST. PAUL—Even for a franchise accustomed to disappointment, in a sports market accustomed to having the football pulled away at the last second, the Minnesota Wild are straining credulity. After finally gaining a toehold in their first-round playoff series with the Winnipeg Jets with a lopsided victory on Sunday, the Wild were hours from puck drop in a game they fully expected to win Tuesday when the good vibrations crashed on them like a snow cliff sliding off the roof in the warm April sun.