Thursday morning of this week the plan was to drive a few miles to the new stadium of the Atlanta Braves in Venice, Fla., and purchase tickets for next Tuesday's game between the Braves and the Minnesota Twins. A call was made to the ticket office before leaving and the person on the other end of the line advised waiting until the afternoon.

That person evidently knew something because a couple hours later we were advised that Major League Baseball had decided to shut down spring training games, as well as delaying the start of the 2020 season.

And so it went the rest of the day, my prediction of the day before coming to fruition as the NCAA shut down winter sports as well as spring sports, putting an end to March Madness for 2020. The NBA suspended its season, as did the NHL, and states and school districts across the country, and in Minnesota, began shutting down their operations. Even Disney World is being shut down, a friend on vacation in Florida texting me to ask, "No baseball and no Disney World — is the world coming to an end?"

This column was planned to be about the expected roster of the Minnesota Twins for the season opener in a few days but instead it's about where we are in a world that is dealing with the coronavirus that has changed the way we go about our lives.

(And now, just a couple minutes ago this Friday morning, the PGA has canceled this week's golf tournament, as well as following tournaments, even though they are in outdoor venues, and even though the PGA commissioner said yesterday that things would be safe in an outdoor venue.)

Everything has snowballed in the last 24 hours and it's likely to continue for awhile, although there isn't much left to be called off, an exception being that NASCAR and IndyCar events will go on without fans. There are conflicting opinions about whether or not it's an overreaction. A check at a Winn Dixie store this morning showed toilet paper, cleaning fluids and bottled water flying off the shelves as they did yesterday. People were getting rain checks for water they hoped would be shipped in this afternoon. There were three more cash registers open than has been the norm for a morning. At least three states have closed their schools. In Minnesota it's been recommended that public schools not be closed but one has and it's likely others will follow suit.

Some say the media is part of the problem by running story after story about new cases, etc. I disagree with that. The media would be blasted if newspapers, radio stations and television stations weren't keeping people up to date. Can you imagine the hue and cry if the media didn't keep people informed about what was happening?

Word just came that Gov. Tim Walz is planning to announce later today that he wants to set aside aside $1.2 billion of the state's projected surplus of $1.5 billion to help deal with uncertainties caused by the coronavirus. That's probably a good move. This whole problem should not become a political football, although some will try to make it one. It would have been nice if the president of the country hadn't tweeted on Feb. 24 that "the Coronavirus is very much under control in the U.S." That said, it's nearly impossible to prepare for an outbreak like the one the country is experiencing.

There are so many questions and not enough answers at this point. I read a column in a Florida newspaper yesterday that supports Joe Biden, if he gets the Democratic nomination, selecting Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota as his vice presidential candidate, the writer saying she's popular in Midwestern states that might decide the election. Fine, but who cares about that stuff right now? Finding the solution, if there is one, to the coronavirus problem is a lot more important at this point than politics. And, truth be told, the deteriorating condition of 401s and IRAs is important, especially for those of us who are older and don't have a regular income.

While writing it's been nearly impossible to keep up with more cancellations. Just found out a couple minutes ago that the Minnesota high school basketball tournaments have been canceled.  A friend noted today that it's Friday the 13th Should we laugh or cry?

SPORTS SHORTS

Former Princeton High School athletes were in the limelight recently on a couple of stages. Earlier this week the North Dakota University men's basketball team, coached by PHS alum Paul Sather in his first year as a Division I coach, made it to the  title game of the Summit League  tournament . Sather's team, only 15-18 for the season and the No. 6 seed, was beaten by No. 1 seed North Dakota State who qualified for the NCAA tournament, a tournament since called off by the NCAA. Sather no doubt will be praised for taking a No. 6 seed to the championship game. Making the night even better on ESPN2 was that Clay Matvick, also a {PHS grad who has been a play-by-play man in four sports - hockey, baseball, football and basketball - was the guy doing the telecast, with his former schoolmate as the head coach. I'll bet that hasn't happened too many times, if at all, in an NCAA tournament. Not many guys are capable, as Matvick is, of doing four different sports, his Minnesota background helping with hockey, a sport that other good play-by-play announcers don't normally do . . . Closer to home, three PHS grads — senior Bri Dorr, sophomore Reilee Schepper and freshman Kelsey Dorr — are on the  roster of the St. Catherine's University tennis team that beat St. Thomas 7-2 the weekend before last (first time in seven years) and then upset defending MIAC champion Carleton 5-4 last weekend on the way to a 5-0 start for the season. Bri Dorr is a senior who has been in the starting lineup for four years. She is a captain and  was once named MIAC player of the week, as well as making all-conference. Schepper is a two-sport athlete, combining track and tennis for the second year at St. Kate's. Kelsey Dorr is a freshman who last week was named MIAC athlete of the week for rallying from down a set to win a third-set tiebreaker that was the deciding point in the win over Carleton, with the score at 4-4. Earlier in the match sister Bri had won a third-set tiebreaker to help St. Kate's rally from a 4-1 deficit. The sisters have the distinction of both being named MIAC athletes of the week. Carleton was ranked No. 26 in the country, and St. Kate's got ranked No. 40 this week after the upset.The team was scheduled to go to Florida later this month to play four matches. But yesterday (Thursday) that trip was called off, with the rest of the season's schedule now in doubt because of the coronavirus problem that has affected all schools in the country Late note: The season has been canceled.  . . .Last night (Thursday) the PHS boys basketball team beat Hermantown 67-64 to win the section championship for the second straight year despite losing most of last year's starters. Princeton had a 57-47 lead but Hermantown went on a 13-4 run to close to 61-60 with three minutes remaining. Princeton held a 6-4 advantage the rest of the way, Kody Alickson and Manny Flicek each making two free throws down the stretch. Cody Miller led the scoring with 25 points. Coach Brett Cloutier told me Friday morning they were proceeding with the assumption that there would be a state tournament but the fact that Wisconsin canceled its tournament might be a factor.  An hour later: Word just reached me in Florida that the boys tournament, as well as the rest of the girls tournament, has been canceled. 

PRINCETON SPORTS MEMORIES

March 18, 1965 - Gordy Meyer was named all-conference in basketball. He averaged 15.7 points a game, fifth-best in the Rum River for the 10-10 Tigers . . . Dennis Kettelhodt rolled a 277 at Kenby Lanes.

  

March 18, 1970 - Mark Jacobs and Jerry Bergeron were all-conference in basketball . . . All-conference in wrestling were Kurt Homstad, Dennis Alickson, Henry Errebo and Ron  Winkelman

March 19, 1975 - Mike Arnold scored 152 points in five city basketball league playoff games and led United Farm to the title over Security Federal. United beat Security twice on a Saturday afternoon. Arnold had 24 in the final game and Dave Mingo led Security with 14. 

March 20, 1980 - Jud Erickson didn't place but broke his school record in the 200 IM at the state meet . . . Bruce Provo, Jerry Betzler and Jeff Winkelman were all-conference in wrestling. 

March 21, 1985 - Ann Minks, Kim Bottema and Brenda Blomberg were all-conference in basketball . . .  Junior Dan Voce scored 52 points to break his school record of 32 in a season for the boys hockey team that he set the previous year. The team finished 19-2. .

March 22, 1990 -  Rachel Brown was all-conference in basketball . . . Curt Wilson and Dan Olson were all-conference in hockey . . .  Jim Linder was all-conference in wrestling. 

March 23, 1995 - High series for the week at Kenby Lanes went to Dennis Snow with 686. Snow and Kevin Carl tied for high game with 246.. 

March 16, 2000 - Ian McVey led with 11 points and 10 rebounds in a 47-37 loss to Cambridge in section quarterfinals. The team, with an interim coach, finished 11-12 for the season, 9-5 and in third place in the conference.

March 17, 2005 - Princeton lost 50-45 to Monticello in the section title game for boys basketball. Scott Roehl, double-teamed throughout the game, had 17 points and a season-high 22 rebounds, and Zach Neubauer had 4 three-pointers and 16 points.

March 18, 2010 - The boys basketball team lost 73-62 to Delano in section quarterfinals and finished with a 9-17 record. Josh Hanus had 21 points and 11 rebounds, Kevin Kleinmeyer 17 points and Taylor Murphy 13.

March 26, 2015 - PHS grad Amanda Groebner, competing for Minnesota State-Moorhead, qualified for the NCAA Division II diving championships with a lifetime best score at the conference meet.

(Dorr is the former editor of the Princeton Eagle (2 years) and Princeton Union-Eagle (31 years) and has covered sports in the area for they past 53 years.)

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