With rain dampening local sports, pros heat up in spotlightPublished 10:32am Friday, April 25, 2014 Updated 10:34am Friday, April 25, 2014
As rain drizzles and dampens the field of play in the spring, professional sports has been heating up with controversy, playoff play, returns and an overall sense of hope.
To start off, New York Yankees pitcher Michael Pineda was suspended 10 games for using pine tar in his start against the Boston Red Sox. I am only going to briefly touch on the topic, but it looks like Pineda went to the well one too many times.
After nearly getting caught for the same exact thing in his previous start against the Red Sox, Pineda moved his “enhancement” from the ball of his non-throwing hand to the back of his neck. Cheating never should be condoned, but I think the guy could have at least waited until later in the season to try using the illegal substance again.
Moving on to the Minnesota Wild, Charlie Coyle helped tie the series 2-2 with a goal that slipped past Colorado’s goalie Semyon Varlamov.
I am extremely excited to see the Wild dig themselves out of a 2-0 hole, but Wild fans need to relax. We understand that we should have won game one of the series, but it didn’t happen. Look to the future, don’t live in the past.
It also was a nice sight to see the Wild continue its aggressive play from game three. Without Matt Cooke, I was afraid the Wild would regress and give the Avalanche the advantage, but coach Yeo had his boys ready to skate and, hopefully, continue its push into the Western Conference playoffs.
Also, congrats to the NHL for beating the NBA in playoff viewership.
Of the two leagues that I pay merely a glance during the regular season, the NHL has brought more excitement this season to its grand stage. A few hockey fans have stated that the new alignment may be the reason, but I believe that having two of your major markets (Los Angeles and New York) not in the playoffs hurts television ratings. And no, the Brooklyn Nets are not New York enough for fans to care and L.A. Clippers and Golden State Warriors are still second fiddle teams on the Golden Coast.
As I have predicted, the Minnesota Twins have shown that they can compete this season for a wild card spot. I will admit that I didn’t think it was going to be because of their bats, but it is a nice change for the Twins to win games because of clutch hitting.
Chris Collabello, Brian Dozier, Jason Kubel and Sam Fuld have made me forget about Josh Willingham, Byron Buxton (who by the way is still in Class AA. It will still be another year Twins fans), Scott Diamond and the poor pitching.
If the Twins happen to make the playoffs, Gardy should be given Coach of the Year and a medal.
Speaking of medals, Michael Phelps returned to the pool this week and claimed runner-up to teammate and rival Ryan Lochte in the 100 butterfly.
U.S. Swimming needs Michael Phelps or someone like him. A sport that is a blip on the radar for the majority of sports fans has enjoyed a rise in popularity due to the 28-year-old 18 time gold medalist. The best way to compare his importance is to reference what happened to U.S. tennis after Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras retired or how golf is when Tiger Woods does not play. When their is no one from the red, white and blue to watch, we change the channel.
As someone who routinely checks mock drafts and message boards about the NFL, I will admit, I am getting tired of the quarterback debate on the major sports networks.
As a Viking fan, I realize that this position is vital to us and every team, but the constant prognostication of Johnny Manziel, Teddy Bridgewater and Blakey Bortles (I just had to add the “y”) and what spots they will go at is getting excessive.
The last time ESPN and its fellow competitors talked about something this much was during the Tim Tebow hype period in New York.
I don’t think the networks are totally to blame (the draft has been pushed into May this year), but I would like to know more about the defensive players, not named Jadeveon Clowney, that will be in this year’s draft. Khalil Mack, Justin Gilbert and Anthony Barr would be of interest to this Vikings’ fan.
Lastly, it was good to see Rick Adelman step down as coach of the Timberwolves. Not to say that negatively, but I had wondered if he was the right choice moving forward.
I know that he has improved the Timberwolves in his time here, but how much of that was him and not healthy players?
With Kevin Love most likely looking for greener pastures after next season, the T-Wolves need to find a coach that’s system works, more than someone who is past or not in their prime.
Many want Iowa State’s Fred Hoiberg, but I would like to see what happens to the Chicago Bulls Tom Thibodeau. Thibodeau has been an assistant in Minnesota under Bill Musselman back in the team’s first few years of existence. It might be the time to return him to the Land of 10,000 Lakes.