Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Margenthaler hoping for some one-year magic

Minnesota State men's basketball coach Matt Margenthaler announced his latest signing this week, adding 6-foot-7 guard Andre Gilbert to the roster.
Gilbert certainly brings some baggage (or interesting story, depending on your perspective), with an acquittal of sexual assault charges during his freshman season at South Dakota State, a transfer to a junior college in California, one season at Kansas State playing alongside Michael Beasley and Bill Walker and two years of working and living in California, looking for another chance.
It will be interesting to see how Gilbert, who payed high-school ball at Park Center, is received by the university and the program's fans.
Gilbert is the second transfer who will have just one season with the Mavericks, joining 6-7 A.J. Wilson, who came here from Murray State. Both are obviously talented athletes or they wouldn't have been playing at Division I universities.
But successful programs rarely are built on one-year players. Margenthaler said he's always trying to recruit the best players, and he looks for transfers to fill in holes on the team. Wilson will likely be the starting center/power forward, with Gilbert at shooting guard/small forward.
Margenthaler's desire to win is never in doubt. He puts more pressure on himself than the university puts on him, and having watched the Winona State men and Minnesota State women win national championship, that only fuels his passion for a title.
If it works next season, and the Mavericks have a prolonged run through the postseason, nobody will care where these players came from or why. If it falls apart as it did this season, more scrutiny will follow.

Friday, June 18, 2010

A few minutes with coach Childress

Was able to get a few minutes Friday with Minnesota Vikings coach Brad Childress, who was in his office reflecting on the recent minicamp and planning the upcoming training camp. In between, he's headed to Afghanistan as part of an NFL coaches tour to meet and greet the U.S. troops.
Most of what we talked about will appear in our training camp guide late next month, but he shared a few things that might be of interest to local Vikings fans.
The Vikings will report to Minnesota State for training camp on July 29 and leave Aug. 13, meaning this will be the shortest training camp period ever.
The team will practice once on July 30, twice on July 31 and once on Aug. 1 before settling into the two-a-day routine. The last practice open to the public will be held Aug. 12, then the team will have a short practice on Aug. 13 before leaving for the first preseaosn game at St. Louis.
Childress said that he still thinks about how last season ended, and the frustration remains evident.
He has high hopes that his team can reach the Super Bowl this season, having made a two-victory improvement in each season as head coach.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

First trip to Target Field

Spent Thursday afternoon at Target Field, and I have a few impressions of the Twins and their new ballpark.
People have been so concerned about the cold weather for April and possibly October games, but Thursday, the sentiment was that it was TOO HOT. Really?
Have we become so soft that we can't handle cold or heat? If only there was an alternative venue, with a roof and air-conditioning ...
The day got off to a disappointing start when I found out that Joe Mauer was not in the lineup. I'm not a Joe Mauer pompom waver, but you'd like to see the Twins' best players face Rockies pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez, who has been nearly unhittable.
A competitor does not stay out of the lineup in a matchup like this. Will Mauer sit out the All-Star game, which will likely feature Jimenez as the National League starter?
The Twins hit into so many doubles plays that they might be making too much contact.
Target Field has a lot of room to roam, with several places in the concourse from which you have a good view of the action. Never sat down for eight innings.
I'd like to get back for a night game. I like the atmosphere of outdoor events at night better than day.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Rain keeps the baseball away

A few baseball games were played Saturday, but the rain eventually caused postponements until Monday.
At Franklin Rogers Park, Minnesota Valley Lutheran continued its impressive postseason roll, defeating Lake Crystal Wellcome Memorial 10-0 in six innings in the Section 2A winners' bracket finals.
Nathan Miller pitched another gem, winning his third game in the playoffs. In three outings, he's allowed only one run with 18 strikeouts. Despite being the higher-seeded team in each game, the Chargers have outscored playoff opponents 33-5, knocking off the top seed from each subsection.
The elimination games have been pushed back to Monday, with Sleepy Eye St. Mary's resuming its game, leading 2-1 after one inning, with United South Central at 5 p.m. The winner gets LCWM at 7:30 p.m.
In Section 2AA at St. Peter's Veterans Park, Holy Family Catholic defeated Kasson-Mantorville 6-2 in the winners' bracket. Mankato East's elimination game against Hutchinson was postponed until 5 p.m. Monday, with the winner getting Kasson-Mantorville at 7:30 p.m.
The championship games in both sections will be played at 5 p.m. Tuesday at their respective sites.
In Section 2AAA, Mankato West was eliminated 4-2 by Chaska on Saturday. West pitcher Matt Anderson had six perfect innings (1 through 4, 6 and 7) but gave up four hits and three walks in the fifth for Chaska's four runs.
The Section 3AA tournament also was affected by weather, and New Ulm's game elimination game against Marshall will start at 7:30 p.m. Monday at Marshall.