Welcome to the Wednesday edition of The Cooler, where all we do is give. Let’s get to it:
*Eduardo Nunez has a long way to go to catch a certain other ex-Twins player in Red Sox World Series lore, but he did his best to carve out his spot in Game 1 Tuesday.
Nunez, a Twins All-Star during the lost season of 2016 before being traded after the break to the Giants and eventually landing in Boston the following season, slugged a crucial three-run, pinch hit home run in the 8-4 Red Sox victory over the Dodgers.
Boston never trailed in the game, but its lead throughout appeared tenuous and had been narrowed to just one run before Nunez lined a 1-0 pitch over the inviting Green Monster with two outs and two on in the seventh inning. Those proved to be the final runs of the game, allowing the Red Sox breathing room as they closed out the victory.
And since it was his only at bat of the series so far, Nunez has an absurd 4.000 slugging percentage and 5.000 OPS for now.
That’s, um, not a sustainable pace. But even with a few more hits this series, Nunez could put himself into David Ortiz territory. Ortiz, the more famous ex-Twin turned Red Sox postseason star, had a 1.372 OPS in three World Series (all wins) with Boston.
*The Timberwolves are showing some evidence of a struggle to sell tickets early on this season.
Though they sold out the home opening win over Cleveland on Friday, but their crowd of just 10,371 at Target Center for Monday’s win over Indiana was smaller than any crowd last year and attendance was about 4,000 fewer than a similar game against the Pacers last season.
And Wednesday morning the Wolves announced a one-day sale offering 30 percent off tickets to their three remaining October home games — Friday against Milwaukee, Monday against the Lakers and Halloween night against the Jazz.
Those games aren’t duds. Milwaukee is a strong team, and Friday is a prime night. The Lakers have LeBron. And the Jazz are a playoff team featuring old friend Ricky Rubio.
Ryan Tanke, the Wolves’ chief revenue officer, said in February that early projections were that the Wolves would see an increase of about 1,000 full season ticket holder equivalents from last year’s base of 8,500 to this year. But in a recent interview Wolves CEO Ethan Casson said the team was instead down 500 season tickets from last year to this year.
While teams usually get a boost the year after a winning season, perhaps a jump in season ticket prices and the uncertainty surrounding Jimmy Butler and the overall direction of the franchise are having a negative impact.
Some early success (and perhaps a resolution of the Butler trade situation) could help boost crowds. The Wolves sold out 16 regular-season home games last season, many of them in the second half of the season as fans latched on to their first run to the playoffs since 2004.
*Things are unraveling for the Oakland Raiders. Fast. Just nine more years after this for Jon Gruden!