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.

Postgame: Span's good day ends with a BAM!

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: July 30, 2012 - 11:25 PM

Good defense can lift a team.

Denard Span provided such a lift when he jumped at the fence to take a hit away from Alex Rios in the fifth inning. Span raced about 40 yards back and to his right and timed his jump perfectly. As the fans cheered, Span pounded his chest twice and then tipped his cap as fan continued to applaud.

Righthander Cole De Vries, who threw the pitch, bent over at the waist and smiled at his good fortune. In the dugout, Samuel Deduno and Alexi Casilla applauded. Later, Ryan Doumit told manager Ron Gardenhire, "I had the best view."

"That pumped up the whole dugout," Gardenhire said.

Span came back in the seventh to make a falling catch of A.J. Pierzynski's sinking liner.

Span was 2-for-3 at the plate but was thrown out in the seventh when he tried to stretch a single into a double. Alex Rios has a great arm in right, and he got a nice carom off the wall before throwing a perfect strike to second to get Span by a hair.

There was some debate about if Span should have went for it. I had no problem with it. It took a perfect throw.

"He had to go there," Gardenhire said. "I would have been disappointed if he didn't."

Don't know if you noticed the smiles at second at the end of the play. As Span was tagged out, second base umpire Fieldin Culbreth yelled, "Bam!" as he signaled Span out.

Span got up, leaned toward Culbreth and smiled as he replied, "You didn't have to BAM me."

That's when Culbreth laughed.


  • Twins are batting .351 on this homestand
  • Ben Revere has a 13-game hitting streak, tying a career high.
  • In 23 games, Justin Morneau has raised his batting average from .229 to .263.
  • Brian Dozier leads all AL shortstops with 15 errors.
  • Paul Konerko is batting .485 against the Twins this season.
  • Chicago has drawn one walk in the last two games.


more twins blogs


Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters