La Velle E. Neal III has covered baseball for the Star Tribune since 1998 (the post-Knoblauch era). Born and raised in Chicago, he grew up following the White Sox and hating the Cubs. He attended both the University of Illinois and Illinois-Chicago and began his baseball writing career at the Kansas City Star. He can be heard occasionally on KFAN radio, lending his great baseball mind to Paul Allen and other hosts. Mark Rosen borrows him occasionally for WCCO-TV.

Phil Miller covered three seasons of Twins baseball, but that was at a different ballpark for a different newspaper. Now Miller returns to the baseball beat after joining the Star Tribune as the Gopher football writer in 2010, and he won't miss the dingy dome for a minute. In addition to the Twins and Gophers, Miller covered the Utah Jazz and the NBA for six years at The Salt Lake Tribune.

All-Star Game: Workout Day, Home Run Challenge

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: July 15, 2013 - 4:04 PM

Greetings from The Big Apple, where All-Star workout day and the annual Home Run Derby will take place. It also is Twins Alumni week, as Grant Balfour has been added to the roster. That makes seven former Twins in the All-Star Game....or is it eight....or 15. Anyway, there are many here - and that's not counting Joe Mauer and Glen Perkins.


The Futures Game on Sunday drew 39,000 to CitiField - well, the ticket now is part of the bundle for the week. They were treated to some good baseball. A lot of power arms, as one kid hit 99 miles an hour. I sat next to Twins GM Terry Ryan for one inning and watched high-priced signee Michael Ynoa hit 96 without any signs of command.

I thought I could shoot the breeze about his team during the game, but Ryan had all his charts and a stopwatch out, breaking down every player. Ryan whispered, ``Uh-oh,'' as soon as Matt Davidson connected with his two-run home run in the fourth. When Christian Yelich dug in at the plate, Ryan commented, ``This kid is a pretty good hitter.'' I try to remember these moments after the year I went to the Arizona Fall League and Ryan uttered seven kind words about Curtis Granderson before he became a star.

I was impressed with how Miguel Sano and Byron Buxton handled the media throng after the Futures Games. Both didn't do much at the plate but they showed good plate discipline and got into hitters counts on a day in which the first 96 mile an hour fastball thrown had most hitters hacking at the first thing they saw.

I shouldn't be surprised about Sano. He's had movie cameras following him around for years, once for the filming of Pelotero. Now, `The Miguel Sano story,' is in the making. But Sano's English continues to improve, and you can begin to see some of his personality. He's a good kid who likes to laugh.

Buxton was very quiet when we met him in spring training but he seemed to be at ease Sunday when he talked about his first visit to the The Big Apple.

``I walked for 30 minutes, then went to FanFest,'' he said. ``We went to the hotel and then walked for like three more hours. I know I walked at least 10 pounds off.''

He got near the Empire State Building but didn't go in: ``Oh no, I'm scared of heights,'' he said while shaking his head. ``I don't do heights.''

Who knows? It's not out of the question that both players will be in Twins uniforms as some point next years. It's not a rebuilding program until Sano and Buxton show up.


There are around 30 members of the Twins organization here, following Mets officials around to get an idea of what will be in store for them next year when the event will be held at Target Field. I looked up a few times on Sunday and saw John Avenson, Twins vice president in charge of technology, getting a feel for internet demands and other challenges.

Look for the Twins to begin making announcements about the 2014 game in the coming weeks.


The annual All-Star Gala took place Sunday night - which I didn't attend. It used to be a bunch of, media, team and league officials and a few of the All-Stars. It has exploded in recent years as rightsholders show up with entitled kids, buddies and business partners. Scribes used to get an invitation in their media packet. Not this year. You had to be near someone who was handing them out. They ran out, and a bunch of scribes were left out.

That's not the issue, however. This year's Gala was held on an AIRCRAFT CARRIER with food stations touting the best New York has to offer. Was told the food was...O.K.

At breakfast this morning, I sat with a handful of writers and said, ``I have no idea where Minneapolis will hold next year's Gala.''

One of my west-coast based writing buddies said: ``We were talking about that last night. We're worried that we will be taken to the Mall of America.''

Ugh. I hope we can come up with something better than that.....



Team Irvin 7:15 PM
Team Carter
Miami 96 FINAL
Chicago 84
Oklahoma City 98 FINAL
Cleveland 108
Dallas 8 1st Qtr 5:54
New Orleans 18
Indiana 19 1st Qtr 3:39
Orlando 16
LA Clippers 15 1st Qtr 4:04
Phoenix 10
Minnesota 14 1st Qtr 4:20
Atlanta 15
Detroit 6:00 PM
Milwaukee 6:00 PM
San Antonio
Boston 7:00 PM
Golden State
Washington 7:00 PM
Houston 8:30 PM
LA Lakers
Team Toews 5 2nd Prd 19:28
Team Foligno 5
South Florida 53 FINAL
Connecticut 66
Boston College 64 FINAL
Georgia Tech 62
Virginia 50 FINAL
Virginia Tech 47
Indiana 70 FINAL
Ohio State 82
Stony Brook 61 FINAL
Binghamton 54
Cincinnati 56 FINAL
UCF 46
Maine 70 FINAL
Hartford 61
Monmouth 64 FINAL
Manhattan 71
Fairfield 67 FINAL
Marist 73
Rowan 48 FINAL
Princeton 96
St Bonaventure 48 FINAL
Rhode Island 53
Duke 77 FINAL
St Johns 68
Saint Peters 69 FINAL
Siena 55
Drake 40 FINAL
Wichita State 74
Vermont 61 FINAL
UMass Lowell 50
Seton Hall 57 FINAL
Butler 77
South Alabama 55
Northern Iowa 54 FINAL
Illinois State 53
Louisville 80 FINAL
Pittsburgh 68
UMBC 47 2nd Half 5:09
Albany 65
Niagara 43 2nd Half 11:35
Iona 57
Notre Dame 5:30 PM
NC State
Belmont 5:30 PM
Tennessee St
Creighton 6:00 PM
Northwestern 6:30 PM
Washington 7:30 PM
Senior-North 34 FINAL
Senior-South 13
Seton Hall 99 FINAL
Georgetown 85
St Johns 69 FINAL
Villanova 81
Arkansas 58 FINAL
Florida 72
Maine 56 FINAL
Vanderbilt 55 FINAL
Alabama 52
Lafayette 60 FINAL
Lehigh 65
SMU 57
Utah 51 FINAL
Washington 63
James Madison 73 FINAL
Coll of Charleston 53
Delaware 56 FINAL
Drexel 61
Hofstra 56 FINAL
William & Mary 57
Hartford 58 FINAL
Albany 82
Binghamton 54 FINAL
Stony Brook 67
Towson 63 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 71
Wake Forest 80 FINAL
(17) Florida State 110
Georgia Tech 68 FINAL
Virginia 62
(22) Georgia 51 FINAL
(5) Tennessee 59
Drake 79 FINAL
Evansville 62
Iona 80 FINAL
Canisius 62
Fairfield 33 FINAL
Monmouth 59
Northwestern 75 FINAL
Penn State 76
Wisconsin 71 FINAL
Michigan State 77
Ohio State 79 FINAL
Purdue 71
Northern Iowa 57 FINAL
Indiana State 55
Butler 58 FINAL
Xavier 54
Creighton 93 FINAL
Marquette 75
Providence 42 FINAL
DePaul 90
Northeastern 77 FINAL
Elon 80
(2) Connecticut 96 FINAL
Cincinnati 31
Oregon 78 FINAL
Arizona 81
Bradley 46 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 45
NC State 49 FINAL
(23) Syracuse 66
(7) Maryland 84 FINAL
Indiana 74
Illinois State 35 FINAL
Missouri State 58
Colorado 68 FINAL
Washington St 73
Tulane 45 FINAL
South Florida 64
(14) Kentucky 83 FINAL
Missouri 69
(9) Oregon State 68 FINAL
(13) Arizona State 57
Vermont 63 FINAL
UMass Lowell 72
Iowa State 53 2nd Half 6:38
(8) Texas 57
Southern Ill 56 2nd Half 3:30
Wichita State 73
(15) Duke 28 2nd Half
(12) North Carolina 38
Miami-Florida 34 2nd Half 14:02
(4) Louisville 40
(21) Minnesota 31 2nd Half
(25) Rutgers 37
California 5:00 PM
(11) Stanford 7:00 PM
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