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Looking for Twins TV Return in July

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May 5, 2020

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Word is Major League Baseball will start the 2020 season in July. Sports Headliners was told by an authoritative source his understanding is an abbreviated schedule will be played with initially no fans in ballparks. If more control of the COVID-19 epidemic happens, fans could slowly be allowed into stadiums as the season develops.

To deal most effectively with the virus, it’s predicted MLB will be reorganized into three 10-team divisions representing the east, central and west regions of the country. Travel would be minimized with teams playing games only within their division. To start with, and perhaps continuing indefinitely, games could be played only at sites in Florida, Texas and Arizona.

MLB owners and players have yet to agree with a 2020 schedule plan. With the necessity to get a plan in place soon, the pressure is on for an agreement this month. Presuming agreement is reached, that would allow enough time for three or four weeks of training prior to an early July start of the schedule.

It makes sense that one of the details the two sides could agree on is an unprecedented expanded roster size. If illness or injury hit a team particularly hard, where does management source players without a deep roster? Usually when there is a roster need, MLB teams turn to their farm systems for help but at this time it’s uncertain what the status of minor league baseball is for 2020.

With so much pent up enthusiasm for baseball from the fans, TV viewership could be record setting in July both regionally and nationally. In a reorganized geographical central division, Twins fans wouldn’t see baseball’s best player, Mike Trout of the Angels. Nor would they watch the Twins against the Yankees and Red Sox, two blueblood clubs that have been coming to Minneapolis since 1961. But a division home in the midwest would have Minnesota playing American League traditional rivals in the Indians, Royals, Tigers and White Sox. Intriguing opponents from the National League in the Twins’ new division could include the Brewers, Cardinals and Cubs.

The Twins are expected to have one of baseball’s better teams and could be in some sort of revised playoff system that leads to a World Series winner in November. In these weird times, how strange would it be to play the Fall Classic in an empty stadium?

Worth Noting

MLB players are usually paid over a 162-game season, but would earn prorated amounts during the course of an abbreviated 2020 year.

Look for the NFL to announce its 2020 schedule within days. Each team will play the usual 16 regular season games, with no games outside the United States. Four games in London and one in Mexico City had previously been planned.

Mike Grant

Among the familiar events of spring in recent years is Bud Grant’s garage sale from his Bloomington home. Well, the legendary former Vikings coach, who turns 93 later this month, is secluded at his Wisconsin cabin, and there won’t be a sale this year. In the past the sales have been promoted as the final one, but son Mike Grant has a wait and see approach. “Never say never on these garage sales,” Mike said.

As head coach of the Eden Prairie football team, Mike will have Justice Sullivan as one of his captains this fall. Sullivan, who projects as a college linebacker, lived in Iowa until a couple of years ago and has verbally committed to the University of Iowa as a four-star recruit. Grant said Sullivan could play inside or outside linebacker like Carter Coughlin, the former Eagle who was one of the Gophers’ best defenders at the end position last season.

“Outstanding young man, and good student, great kid,” Grant said of Sullivan, whose dad Jake Sullivan played collegiate basketball at Iowa State.

During this period of public health uncertainty, NBA owners, including the Timberwolves Glen Taylor, have been told to refer media requests to the league office.

Despite the coronavirus epidemic, metro golf courses are busy. An avid player told Sports Headliners public courses are only taking reservations about a week out.

More outdoor activity starts Saturday with the fishing season opening for a number of popular species including northern pike and trout. To many Minnesotans, though, it’s the “Walleye Opener.” Media reports say license sales are brisk.

It just might be that two of the finalists for commissioner of the new Central Collegiate Hockey Association are names with ties to the University of Minnesota. The new leader of the CCHA is expected to be announced soon and be in place by July 1.

The 2020 Minnesota Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame honorees in the High School Division are Walter Hunting, Duluth Denfeld; Jeff Mumm, Thief River Falls; Mike Quist, Gaylord; and Karl Urbaniak, Mabel-Canton. Also joining the Hall of Fame from the Citation Division is Mike Turner of Varsity Photos.

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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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