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Van Clemens


Twins Under .500 When Buxton Out

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August 14, 2019

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Enjoy a Wednesday notes column leading off with the Minnesota Twins.

Byron Buxton was placed on the injured list with a left shoulder subluxation on August 3 and still isn’t ready to return. That’s the fourth time this season the Twins’ invaluable center fielder has been on the injured list with ailments, including a right wrist contusion and concussion-like symptoms.

The Twins, with a 72-47 record, have been under .500 with Buxton absent. Looking at the dates when Buxton was placed on the injured list until the days he was activated, the club’s record is 13-15.

Buxton would receive a lot of support in any vote for MLB’s best outfielders. Now in his fifth season with the Twins, his career highlight film is filled with ooh and aah plays in the field. His pitchers  applaud him for game-saving plays. This season his fielding average is .991, with just two errors in 215 chances. The club’s best base stealer, the Twins simply aren’t the same team without him.

The Twins and Indians could stay close in the race to win the AL Central Division going into the final weeks of the season. After a three-game series in Cleveland that ends September 15, it appears the Twins will have an easier remaining schedule than the Indians. Minnesota will play the White Sox and Royals at home, and on the road against the Tigers and Royals. Those three Central Division teams have a combined 131 wins and 223 losses as of today, while the Indians must play four opponents (Tigers, Phillies, Nationals, and White Sox) who are 301 and 289. The Nationals and Phillies are in contention for the postseason, while none of the other clubs mentioned are.

The Indians, until they came to Minneapolis for a four-game series last week, hadn’t played another above .500 team on the road since May.

Minnesota starter Jake Odorizzi, 13-5 with a 3.44 ERA, is 2-0 with a 1.04 ERA against the Indians. His continued success will be vital if the Twins are to qualify for the playoffs.

Twins home run leader Max Kepler appears at the Ridgedale Fan HQ store September 22, while Vikings cornerback Xavier Rhodes is at the Eden Prairie location September 8. More details including ticket information visit FanHqStore.com – info@fanhqstore.com

Ron Stolski

Happy birthday to Brainerd head football coach Ron Stolski who turned 80 on Monday, the opening day of practice for high school teams in Minnesota. He has been coaching prep football for 58 seasons, with 45 at Brainerd.

Jim Dotseth, 76, has been retired from high school football coaching since 1997 and was asked if he can imagine still leading a team. “No, I can’t,” said the longtime friend of Stolski who grew up in Minneapolis and attended Patrick Henry High School.

Stolski said he learned long ago coaching is about the players, not him. How much longer does he want to lead the Brainerd Warriors? “I will coach as long as we believe we are doing good things for kids, and as long I can keep doing it,” he told Sports Headliners yesterday. “Frankly, I feel like I am 50.”

Dotseth recalled Stolski’s coaching dates back to high school days while working with youth football. A strong advocate of the many values of football, Stolski is also executive director of the Minnesota Football Coaches Association, who brand their organization with the slogan “Keepers of the Game.”

Stolski’s career record is 386-175-1, second all-time in Minnesota to Verndale coach Mike Mahlen, 393-122-3. No. 3 on the list of prep football coaches with the most career wins is Becker’s Dwight Lundeen at 359-159-3, followed by Eden Prairie’s Mike Grant, 344-71, Cambridge’s George Larson, 307-66-6 and Delano’s Merrill Pavlovich, 304-150. All six, except for Larson, are still coaching.

After a summer break, the CORES lunch group resumes Thursday, September 12 with a program featuring speaker Jeff Passolt, the retired Fox 9 news anchor and former KARE 11 sportscaster. CORES luncheons are held at the Bloomington Event Center, 1114 American Blvd. For reservations and other information, contact Jim Dotseth, dotsethj@comcast.net. CORES is an acronym for coaches, officials, reporters, educators and sports fans.

Star Tribune columnist Patrick Reusse, a persistent critic of Golden Gophers football coach P.J. Fleck since 2017, wrote an upbeat column about the program last weekend. For the many skeptics of Fleck among fans, the article will create more credibility for Fleck and authenticate the program.

Max Duggan, the high profile Council Bluffs, Iowa quarterback the Gophers pursued, is at TCU and “positioned to be the first true freshman to start the opener” at QB under long time coach Gary Patterson, per the August 12 Sports Illustrated college football issue.

S.I.’s top 25 ranking of teams includes Minnesota West Division rivals Iowa (18), Wisconsin (19) and Nebraska (24) but not the Gophers or defending division champion Northwestern.

New Jersey assistant general manager Tom Fitzgerald is a name to watch as the Minnesota Wild continue the search to replace Paul Fenton as GM.

Minnesota United will play just three games at home over the next 32 days, including this evening at Allianz Field. The Loons, 7-1-4 at Allianz, play Colorado with a 1-6-3 road record.

Midwest All-Star Wrestling and St. Croix Casino, Turtle Lake, are promoting a pro wrestling card at the casino August 23 with nostalgic names like Hacksaw Jim Duggan and Sgt. Slaughter.

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David Shama

David Shama is a former sports editor and columnist with local publications. His writing and reporting experiences include covering the Minnesota Vikings, Minnesota Twins, Minnesota Timberwolves and Minnesota Gophers. Shama’s career experiences also include sports marketing. He is the former Marketing Director of the Minnesota North Stars of the NHL. He is also the former Marketing Director of the United States Tennis Association’s Northern Section. A native of Minneapolis, Shama has been part of the community his entire life. He is a graduate of the University of Minnesota where he majored in journalism. He also has a Master’s degree in education from the University of St. Thomas. He was a member of the Governor’s NBA’s Task Force to help create interest in bringing pro basketball to town in the 1980s.

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