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Continued: Twins' power surge lights up the Dome

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN , Star Tribune
  • Last update: June 5, 2009 - 1:10 AM

Jason Kubel, who hit two home runs Thursday in the Twins' 11-3 victory over Cleveland, is one reason the club has 62 home runs in 55 games this year compared with 33 in the same number of games last season.

Kubel's previous multi-homer game was April 25 in Cleveland, when he hit two. His other five home runs have all come at home against righthanded pitchers. This was also the third time in which he has collected at least six RBI. The other two times came against the White Sox in 2007 and 2008.

Justin Morneau is the team leader in home runs with 15 in 55 games, compared with only 10 in the same number of games last season.

While Joe Mauer continues to have a hot bat, so does Morneau, who has hit safely in 12 of his past 13 games and is batting .417 with three home runs and 17 RBI during that period. He scored three runs Thursday, giving him a team lead of 43.

Morneau has hit nine home runs at the Metrodome and six on the road while Mauer has eight at home and four on the road.

My friend George Stein- brenner of the Yankees used to call the Metrodome the Homerdome. It's lived up to that nickname this year.

Michigan game nixed

The Gophers are looking for two football games on the 2010 schedule, and with Michigan not on the slate the next two years, the Wolverines suggested that the Gophers play one of those games at Ann Arbor next year in their remodeled stadium and consider it a nonconference game. With the Big House seating more than 100,000 fans, the Gophers would have received $1 million or more. But Gophers athletic director Joel Maturi turned down the idea.

"We've already scheduled Southern California next year [2010], and it wouldn't be fair to our players to add a road Michigan game to our schedule," Maturi said in the MVictors blog Thursday. "I'm not a real brilliant guy, but I am not sure it is in our best interest ... to play Michigan and Southern California in back-to-back weeks. ... Had we not scheduled Southern California, we would have been very interested."

Target Center ignored

A Star Tribune reader wrote in Thursday's editorial page that Minneapolis' gift to the Shubert Arts project is irresponsible. And this person has my vote, too.

Yes, the City Council on Tuesday voted to spend the majority of its $3.6 million bonus under the federal stimulus act, some $2 million, on the long-delayed and costly Shubert Theater.

Credit Gov. Tim Pawlenty for his veto of a $2 million appropriation that was approved by the State Legislature.

The city originally spent $5 million to move the theater, which has been dormant for 10 years, sitting on 5th and Hennepin downtown. The total cost will be $38 million to open the theater that will seat 521. True, most of that money was privately raised.

Meanwhile, the Target Center is suffering, losing one show after another to the Xcel Energy Center, and in need of being remodeled to be able to compete with the St. Paul arena. But nobody worries about how much business is going to St. Paul because of that.

And besides blaming the Minneapolis City Council, you can include the Minneapolis delegation to the Legislature. While their counterparts in St. Paul were trying to build a hockey rink downtown and do other such things, those who represent the Mill City have done nothing.

And one more fact: Thanks to Hennepin County, the Legislature and the Pohlad family, owners of the Twins, we will have a ballpark that will provide comfort for a couple of million fans, plus a great television and radio audience.

And you know what the great City Council contributed to that great structure that will bring million of fans to the city -- a paltry $1.5 million.

Jottings

This noon, the entire Vikings organization and Toro Co. will combine, as they do each year, to construct a playground, this time for the students at Crest View Elementary School in Brooklyn Park. If you go to the playground, you will see the players digging the holes and doing other things to construct a fantastic number of playground things.

Gophers wrestler Dustin Schlatter is a member of the U.S. World team after defeating Travis Paulson in the 74kg/163-pound class. The former NCAA champion now advances to the World Team meet in September in Denmark. He has earned All-America honors in each of three years with the Gophers.

The Gophers wrestling team will have an outstanding home schedule this year with Iowa, Iowa State and Nebraska here. They will have a tough test at Oklahoma State.

The Williams Arena basketball court is being replaced for the first time since 1928. Parts of the old floor will be available for sale from $45 to $99, with details on how to buy them to be released in the near future.

Cecil Doe and Fritz Rock, the starting receivers on Wayzata's Class 5A championship football team, are planning to both play junior college ball next season. Doe, who led Wayzata in receiving with 639 yards and scored eight touchdowns, will play at North Dakota State School of Science. Rock, who got a lot of attention on the Internet during the high school season and whose 35 receptions led Wayzata, has not yet committed to a junior college.

Former Gopher Mike Mee, who was with the Diamondbacks organization, has retired from baseball. ... The Gophers baseball team will graduate five seniors: pitchers Tyler Oakes, Tom Buske and Chauncy Handran; designated hitter Matt Nohelty; and outfielder Jon Hummel. Nohelty finished a stellar career, being in the top 10 in career batting average and at-bats, third in hits, and second in stolen bases. Buske and Handran combined for 18 victories in 2009.

The Gophers will return the entire infield, starting catcher and two starting outfielders. Starter Seth Rosin and All-Big Ten closer Scott Matyas (16 saves) return. Five position players who redshirted this season will be available in 2010. ... Gophers second baseman Derek McCallum is projected by Baseball America to be a fifth-round draft selection. LSU coach Paul Maineri told coach John Anderson that McCallum was the best position player they had played against all season. After batting .409 with 18 home runs and 86 RBI, he could be a first-team All-America.

Sid Hartman can be heard weekdays on WCCO AM-830 at 6:40, 7:40 and 8:40 a.m. and on his Podcast once a week at www.startribune.com/sidcast. shartman@startribune.com

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