For many years I've bragged to friends around the country what a good city Minneapolis was. I would bring up the lakes, the parks, the general cleanliness of a city that size, the offerings of sports and the arts, and it being part of a state that has gotten great marks throughout the years in various rankings from around the country.
Admittedly, that reputation has taken a hit in the last year. And part of the problem is what some of the leaders in the City of Lakes have been doing. And maybe someone who doesn't live there shouldn't be concerned with what's going on there. But I've made hundreds — no, make that thousands — of trips there over the years for various things. And now I haven't been in downtown Minneapolis for 14 months.
First you had a City Council that went off on a tangent, saying the majority of members wanted to defund the police department after the murder of George Floyd in 2020. What a crazy idea, fostered by some who were supposed to be leaders for the city.
And then a week ago the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board voted 5-4 to expel the State Patrol from Park Board headquarters, a place where troopers could take breaks and eat lunch, an agreement made in 2012 that allowed them to do that. The agreement was renewed in 2018 through 2022.
The misguided board member who wrote the resolution that was passed to kick the State Patrol out did it because, he said, of the role of the State Patrol in helping law enforcement agencies take care of protests in Brooklyn Center after a police officer shot and killed a man there a few days earlier. The protests took place in Brooklyn Center and in Minneapolis.
Luckily, a couple days later, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, a person I am glad is not the mayor of Princeton, made a good decision this time and vetoed the decision by the board to kick the State Patrol out of its headquarters, Frey calling it "grandstanding."
After Frey's veto the Star Tribune published an editorial titled "A voice of reason on Park Board silliness. "Seemingly lost on the five commissioners who voted for the resolution," the editorial said," was the fact that State Patrol and Park Police work together on traffic safety training and on the state's Toward Zero Deaths initiative to eliminate traffic fatalities. The patrol also helps with the Park Board's annual Safety Camp for kids and provides traffic control for the Minneapolis Bike Tour."
You may remember that the Park Board had a hand in allowing homeless encampments in the city's parks, another questionable move. A letter writer on the Tribune's editorial page, who lives there and knows a lot more about the board than me, called the board's meetings "exercises in chaos, with frivolous options, repeated obstruction and cowardly abstentions instead of yes/no votes on the part of several commissioners." I don't know if that writer has a particular bone to pick with the board but there's no doubt she's dissatisfied with the board.
The killing of George Floyd last year and the recent shooting of Daunte Wright in Brooklyn Center were horrible events. But they are not good reasons to defund the Minneapolis Police Department, nor to keep State Patrol members from making use of Park Board headquarters under an agreement that has been in place for nine years. The overreactions by City Council and Park Board members are the kind of happenings that might make some of us in the outstate consider not making our way to Minneapolis.
And then there's the New York governor Welcome news for Minnesotans came this week when it was announced that the state, after the 2020 census numbers were tallied, would not lose one of its seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, a loss that was predicted by those who know about such things. If New York, which gained 800,000 people in 10 years to go over the 20 million mark, had counted 89 more people Minnesota would have gone from 8 to 7 seats in the House, and New York wouldn't now have to slip from 27 to 26.
Well, along comes Andrew Cuomo, the New York governor who, by any account, has had a bad 14 months or so, saying that New York might sue to determine if there was a mistake in the census count that would keep his state from losing a House seat. (It should be noted that fellow Democrats in the state have since criticized Cuomo for not pouring enough money into the census.)
My reaction was that a New Yorker, after the New York Yankees have absolutely decimated the Minnesota Twins in baseball playoffs since 2004, just can't take it when his state finally lost something to Minnesota, a state with a growth rate the last decade of 7.4% that pushed Minnesota's population to 5,709,752, more than 14 million behind Cuomo's state. The difference of 89 people is the lowest for a runner-up state since 1940 and Cuomo has instructed his attorney general to work on possibly getting the numbers recounted.
The Twins have a 2-13 playoff record against the Yankees since 2004 and have lost all five series between the two teams. Joe Mauer was a rookie in October 2004 and the Twins were still stuck in the Metrodome the last time the Twins beat the hated Bronx Bombers in a playoff game.
So, Mr. Cuomo, let Minnesotans have their way without a fight. There will be enough fighting between Minnesota Republicans and Democrats when redistricting takes place before the 2022 election for those eight seats in the U.S. House.
Hooray, Twins (barely) escape Central Division cellar
Before last Wednesday's 10-2 win in Cleveland, the Minnesota Twins had managed — at 7-15 — to have the worst record among the 30 major league teams and were in last place in the AL Central Division. The win in Cleveland, including six home runs, pulled them a half game ahead of the Detroit Tigers, both teams posting a 2-8 mark in their last 10 games.
The new hero for the team is veteran lefty A.J. Happ who has pitched those two wins and, in an almost unheard of performance for a Minnesota pitcher with Mr. Careful (Rocco Baldelli) as the manager, Happ has pitched 7 1/3 innings and 7 innings in those two games. No Twins pitcher had gone past 6 innings so far this year and even that was a rarity. His ERA, albeit very early in the season, is 1.96.
Stealing Happ's thunder on Wednesday was Byron Buxton who boosted his batting average to .438, although he's not listed among league leaders because he's missed too many games. He led off the game with his league-leading (at that time) eighth homer and then got four more hits. All you need to know about his talent is that he reportedly hit a grounder at 109 mph and beat it out for an infield hit, a day after he hit a two-hopper to the shortstop and beat the throw for an infield hit. His upside is extremely high and right now he's doing everything right. He's teased us before and I'm sure the team, along with its fans, is hoping this is the real deal.
To show you where the team was before the 10-2 win, in the previous five games (only one win, Happ's 2-0 victory over Pittsburgh, a team the Twins scored two runs against in each of three games), the team hit only .191 and the leading hitter in the three games against the Pirates and the first two against the Indians was Jake Cave (season average .182) as he was 6-for-17 (.353) with three doubles and a homer. Josh Donaldson was 1-for-17, Luis Arraez 4-for-19, Alex Kirilloff 2-for-19, Mitch Garver 0-for-9 and Jorge Polanco 1-for-12.
A team meeting was held after Tuesday's 7-4 loss to the Indians in which new reliever Alex Colome hit a batter, walked three, and saw his ERA balloon to 8.31. Whether the meeting had anything to do with it is arguable but the Twins responded with those six home runs, Garver hitting two and snapping an 0-for-17 streak that included 11 strikeouts, four of them in one game.
The last day of a forgettable month saw the start Friday of a three-game series with Kansas City, the surprise leader of the Central Division with a record of 18-8, seven games ahead of the Twins. (Breaking news: Kirilloff hit the first two homers of his career in a 9-1 win.) True, it's early, but the Twins need to win at least two of those three games, otherwise they'll be eight or nine games in back of the upstart Royals who have a group of good young pitchers.
Will Max Kepler (.234, 0 homers) and Miguel Sano (.111, 4 RBIs) actually help the team when they come off the injured list? Will Kenta Maeda (6.58 ERA) return to the form that saw him finish second in the Cy Young voting last season? There are countless other ifs, one being the question about whether or not those great seasons by many players in 2019 were the norm or the exception.
It's early, we keep hearing from the team, and it is, one of the higher-ups for the team noting recently that if it was the middle of the season the 7-15 record wouldn't be so alarming. But 15 percent of the season is history and if the team doesn't get to .500 by the end of May, with 18 home games on the schedule that month, it could be a long, long season.
PRINCETON SPORTS MEMORIES
May 10, 1956 - Five schools were to play in the first-ever District 16 tournament at the Rum River Golf Club. PHS team members were Randy Erickson, Richard Southard, Loren Weisbrod, Roger Wahlquist, Phillip Keen and Jerry Patten.
May 11, 1961 - Emerick Johnson got top honors for the year in the Tuesday League at Kenby Lanes with a 267 game and 703 series.
May 5. 1966 - Santiago beat Princeton 7-1 in the town team opener as Chuck Skarohlid pitched four innings of one-hit ball for Princeton. Luther Dorr pitched a 3-hitter and struck out 12 for Santiago.
May 12 1971 - Mike Barg and Howie Solheim pitched wins over Milaca and Foley as Princeton began the season 6-0 in conference play . . . Princeton beat Cambridge and Foley in track as Art Carter won the 100, 220 and 440, and Bruce Nick won both hurdle events.
May 12, 1976 - Curt Jenson threw a 1-hitter in an 11-0 win over Milaca as Al Olson drove in three runs . . . Jim Bowden won the high jump and mile in a triangular track win over Elk River and Cambridge.
May 14, 1981 - Freshman Greg Braford shot a 35, seniors Steve Lodien and Todd Dery each had a 37, and sophomore David Sanborn a 38 in a win over Pine City with a score of 147 thought to be the best ever at PHS . . . Doug Burns ran a 4:24 1,600 meters at a triangular, the fastest ever by a Rum River Conference runner.
May 8, 1986 - Cambridge beat Princeton 11-1 in baseball, its first win over Princeton in four years, but the Tigers beat Pine City 8-7 as Chris Klinghagen drove in two runs . . . Princeton was second in the Chisago Lakes Invitational as Judy Bornholdt was medalist with a 99.
May 9, 1991 - Kris Bottema set a school record with a throw of 38'1" in the shot put . . . Mark Freitag won the 400-meter dash and long jump in a triangular meet with Cambridge and Milaca.
May 9, 1996 - .Jami Sternquist was medalist with an 89 at the Chisago Lakes Invitational. Princeton won the nine-team meet . . . PHS placed second in a softball tournament at Sauk Rapids, losing to Esko after Mandee Young beat Faribault and Erin Gunderson beat St. Cloud Tech.
May 3, 2001 -Brent Julson pitched a 3-hitter and drove in three runs with two hits in a 4-1 win for PHS (3-4, 2-3 in the RRC) over Sauk Rapids as Joel Jensen and Corey Erickson also had two hits apiece . . . Princeton won the local Hurni Invitational for the fourth year in a row as Joe Thiel won the 100, 200 and pole vault, and ran the anchor leg of the winning 4x100 relay team . . . Pitcher Shannon Miller ran her string of shutout innings to 32 in a 1-0 win over Sauk Rapids and a win over Mora.
May 4, 2006 - Brittaney Thorsett cleared 9'7" in the pole vault, breaking her school record from 2005 by an inch, and Katie Loberg won three events and ran on a winning relay team in a quadrangular at Princeton . . . Kris Macko and Zach Neubauer each hit a three-run homer in a 10-2 baseball win over Becker . . . Taylor Murphy and Chad Winkelman each recorded a hole in one three days apart at Princeton Golf Club
May 3, 2011 - PHS senior Mariah Clarin, headed to play basketball at South Dakota State, played in the girls state all-star girls basketball event and a scored 38 points in the two games, grabbed 16 rebounds and was named to the all-tournament first team among 40 players . . . Dylan Hass won both hurdle events and the high jump at the Big Lake Invitational.
May 5, 2016 - The PHS baseball team (5-5, 3-3 in the M8) beat section opponent Hibbing 4-3 as Sam Larson (3-0) got the win and Jake Oakes drove in two runs . . . Jack Southard placed 19th in a 10-team golf tournament at Staples and Kelsey Dorr was 21st in a 14-team tournament at Cambridge.
(Dorr is the former editor of the Princeton Eagle (2 years) and Princeton Union-Eagle (31 years), and has written about sports in the area for the past 54 years.)