After 23 years of covering the Minnesota Twins and Major League Baseball for the Star Tribune, La Velle E. Neal III is taking on a new challenge. Neal will become a sports columnist for Star Tribune, beginning next month.

The 55-year-old Chicago native has built credibility in Minnesota and beyond as an authority on not only the Twins but on all corners of baseball. Before joining the Star Tribune in 1997, he covered many sports at the Kansas City Star, including basketball, soccer, high schools and even an annual local rodeo.

Neal will soon use all these experiences and blend in his own personal views and observations to write daily and weekly columns for the paper and its website; he'll also contribute to podcasts and other Star Tribune platforms.

"I am beyond thrilled to have this opportunity to communicate with readers in a different way," Neal said. "I'm joining an awesome team of columnists on the Strib sports staff, and I hope I can just keep up!"

He joins Patrick Reusse, Jim Souhan, Chip Scoggins and outdoors writer Dennis Anderson as Star Tribune sports columnists. Neal's columns will begin appearing in the sports section in late February.

The Star Tribune will replace Neal on the Twins beat and find a new reporter to pair with Phil Miller, who has covered the team since 2013.

Neal became in 2013 the first Black president in the long history of the Baseball Writers Association of America. He'll make history again with this move, becoming the first journalist of color to write a regular sports column for the Star Tribune in its 153-year history.