Former Twins pitcher Andrew Albers has signed a contract and will pitch in South Korea's top baseball league in 2014. The Korean Baseball Organization said Albers has signed a deal with the Hanwha Eagles that will pay $800,000, including a signing bonus.
Albers, 28, had several strong starts for the Twins last season but faded a bit -- finishing with a 2-5 record and 4.05 ERA in 10 starts. He was seen as a long shot to make the Twins staff this season.
According to the Global Post, Albers is the first non-Korean player to sign with the KBO since the league abolished a $300,000 salary cap for foreign players earlier this month.
You can read the full report here.
You'll remember that Albers is kind of a big deal in Canada, being the first player from Saskatchewan to make it to the majors in 21 years when he was promoted last summer. Here's a story about him from the CBC, which uses the phrase "baseball star" a bit loosely, don't you think?
In the shadow of Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium (whose expansion will eat into the old ballpark) and unused by pro baseball since 1999, Tinker Field hasn't been associated with the Twins since 1990, or one year after that photo of Kirby Puckett at spring training. However, the history is hard to escape, and not just because it was built in 1914 and is on the National Register of Historic Places.
A video with the Sentinel's Mark Schlueb explains the plan for the demolition and the future:
@StribSports, which you should follow, used Twitter to ask fans how they felt about having TwinsFest at Target Field. Team president Dave St. Peter (@TwinsPrez) retweeted our query and here are some of the responses that we've received so far.
Sounds like it was a pretty good thing -- unless you were trying to sell baseball cards and other sports memorabilia in the lowest level of the ballpark.
Feel free to add your thoughts in the comments section below.
@StribSports I liked it once we figured out where everything was. Miss the free autographs. Well done— Allie (@hutsy81) January 27, 2014
@StribSports great idea but limited autograph station space resulted in long lines— Jeremy Etzler (@JEtzler8) January 27, 2014
@StribSports it was great! Loved it. Wish there was still the free autograph lines tho.— ¡Andrew! (@A_Thurston10) January 27, 2014
@StribSports Why has no one mention the convention center as an alternative for Twinsfest? Everything on one level.Easy parking with skyway.— David Gohl (@DavidGohl) January 27, 2014
Jim Hastings, the longtime Duluth Central boys' basketball coach who led his team to three state titles, died on Saturday at age 90.
In a Duluth News Tribune obituary, former players and others remembered him, including the legendary Chilsholm coach Bob McDonald, who is retiring this season after 59 years of coaching. “Deep down, I thought I would like to be like him,” he said. “I don’t know if I could have copied him exactly, but he was always dressed well and had a discipline about him that commanded attention from his players, the fans and the other teams. I always appreciated that about Jim. If there were an icon that I would like to pattern myself after, it was Jim.”
Hastings' teams won one-class titles in 1961 and 1971, and won the Class AA title in 1979. His teams won 541 games in 31 seasons and were part of the era when many coaches had high profiles in their communities, even in Minnesota's larger cities.
Duluth Denfeld activities director, Tom Pearson, who played for Central and coach the team from 1994-2007, told Rick Weegman of the News Tribune: “He was Central basketball. As a kid growing up, you wanted to play for coach Hastings and that was the bottom line. You wanted to play for him because he represented what Central basketball was.”
Hastings graduated from Two Harbors High School and played college basketball for Minnesota Duluth. A memorial service is planned for May in Hermantown.
“I’ve been asked to name my best moments in coaching, or my best players, but there are just too many good things that happened to me,” Hastings told the News Tribune a few years ago. “I’d have to have at least 25 fingers and toes to list everything.”
You can read the entire obituary here.
There was no mincing Thomas Vanek's feelings about his disallowed overtime goal Saturday afternoon against St. Louis.
"I thought it was a terrible call," Vanek said. "I think we all know what a kicking motion is. My skate never elevated, it was on the ice the whole time. I don't know if it's because who we are. I think if that's Pittsburgh or some of those top teams, it's maybe a goal. For that to be overturned is just too bad."
The announcers are pretty clear in their feelings that it was a goal. "No argument at all," one said even before it went to review. Afterwards? "You're kidding? Are you kidding me?" But the NHL saw a distinct kicking motion. But I don't think the replay officials in Toronto were using this GIF.
Of course, it could be easy to see this as good news for the Wild's interest in Vanek, a former University of Minnesota standout. But, the tea leaves earlier this week were pointing to Vanek's being open to staying on Long Island. according to Newsday:
There haven't been any substantive contract talks between the two sides, which just adds to the limbo of the situation. But even though Vanek hasn't indicated via his agent or directly to Snow whether he'd be willing to sign before July 1, saying that the Islanders "would definitely be on my list" when free agency begins could be seen as a sign he's not crossing them off to force a trade.
"Even if they traded me, sure," Vanek said. "I like it here, it's a good group of guys. This would be a place I'd consider if it gets to July 1."
In a Newsday profile a day earlier, Islanders GM Garth Snow said that talks with Steve Bartlett, Vanek's agent, would be starting soon. Bartlett's view of the situation? Here's Pierre LeBrun from ESPN.com:
"There’s no question he has liked his teammates, he has liked his coaches, has been impressed with [Isles GM] Garth Snow and management; two weeks into it he realized there was tons of positives that he liked," Vanek’s agent, the veteran Stephen Bartlett, told ESPN.com on Tuesday. "Does that mean that we’re ready to sign on the dotted line? No that’s still being discussed in a number of ways. They have to make a decision where he fits into their team structure ... and Thomas has to decide whether at this stage of his career if that’s the best spot for him. But his decision in the end won’t reflect at all in the fact that he’s found way more positives than negatives about his experience on the Island. He’s had nothing but positives to say to me about the way he’s been treated."
Maybe the disallowed goal will fire him to stay with the Islanders and prove something? One date to watch, according to Newsday, is March 5, the trade deadline. ESPN.com says something has to happen before that.
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