|Tuesday, July 30, 2002|
|Craigs Corner 7/29/02 - 8/04/02|
|Saturday, August 3rd, 2002|
BIG FRIDAY has come and gone once again. I still love the way the Fergus Falls Park and Recreation Department plays out their league championship games.
It was somewhere between 1986 and 1988 when BIG FRIDAY came into existence. I was working with Lake Region Community Television at the time and we wanted to present coverage of the championship games for youth baseball and softball. The only problem was, several of them were played at the same time at various fields around the city. We got together with Butch Benson and asked if they would consider moving all of the games to one field on one day so we could cover the games on Channel 2. Butch gave it some thought and decided that it sounded like a good idea and that we'd give it a try. Well, people loved it and it's still going on the same way. Eight games in one day, all recorded for playback on Peg Access Channel 8. In fact, this coming Friday, August 9th, you can see games throughout the day, starting at nine o'clock Friday morning with the tee-ball game.
Here's how the games came out on Friday:
The Orioles beat the A's 24-18 to claim the tee-ball championship.
In Toss League,it was the Mets 22 and the Giants 18.
Division I Girls Softball was won by the Cubs 19-18 over the Orioles.
In Division II Girls Softball, the Cubs beat the Tigers 22-17.
The Division III title went to the Rockies who beat the A's, 6-5.
In DIvision IV Girls Softball, the Angels won 15-4 over the Astros.
The Dwarf League game saw the Reds beat the Pirates, 13-3.
The Pony League title went to the Orioles, 7-2 over the Twins.
I still hear from parents and kids (now grown), who tell me that they have recently pulled out an old championship game tape and watched it. What a keepsake!! Happy viewing and thanks to Trevor Johnson and all his helpers for making the day such a success. Gary Schuler had his Otter boys basketball team selling concessions at the day long event but I don't think they raised too much money for the program. This was the first year concessions were available on site and people weren't aware of it. Hopefully they'll be back next year and everyone will come ready to enjoy the brats and hot dogs that they cook up and all the candy and pop and other refreshments. I know several people mentioned they wouldn't have eaten before the came to the games if they had known they could've grabbed a hot dog at the game. Next year!
Tuesday, July 30th, 2002
Fergus Falls American Legion Post 30 enters the District 9 Division I American Legion Baseball Tournament as the number two seed out of the South and with a 14-10 record. Tyler Gagner and Ryan Hendrickson give coach Scott Bjerke a good one-two pitching punch.
Gagner, a righthander, gets the nod in the opener against Thief River Falls. The Fergus Falls High School senior-to-be has a 5-2 record on the mound and is a competitor. Tyler has experienced state high school tournament play in both hockey and baseball and started at quarterback for the Otter football team his junior year. He also swings a good bat, hitting .405, tops on the team, with 30 hits in 74 at bats.
Hendrickson, a lefty, brings a 5-1 record into post season play. He has become a pitcher who is capable of dominating a lineup with his stuff. He throws the ball hard and goes right after the opposing hitters. He, like Gagner, is a fierce competitor. Ryan is hitting .309 with 17 hits in 55 at bats. He is headed to Valley City State University to play both football and baseball. Before he turns his attention to that, he has some unfinished business for Post 30. Ryan's first taste of state tournament competition at the high school level came this spring when he helped the Otter baseball team win the Section 8 3A title.
Other top performers for Post 30 this summer include Ben Aakre, who is hitting .388 with a team high 33 hits in 85 at bats, Kirby Carr, who is carrying a .391 batting average, Matt Price at .306 and Mike Gaustad, who has recovered nicely from an eye injury he sustained at the state tournament and is hitting .292. He is also 2-1 on the mound. Mick Hanan has a 3-2 record and is batting .284. Landon Link helps solidify a suberb defense with his play at second base and is capable of hitting much higher than his current .221 average. Landon had a great post season for the Otters this spring and could be a key player in the District Tourney.
East Grand Forks is the top seed out of the North and is considered the pre-tournament favorite. Moorhead, the top seed from the South is also up there, along with the Otters and Roseau.
Fergus Falls opens up against Thief River Falls at 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday. If they win they will play at 5:30 p.m. Thursday against the winner of the Perham versus East Grand Forks game. A loss puts them in the 12:30 p.m. game on Thursday against the loser of that game. This is a double elimination tournament with all games being played at Al Krueger Field in Perham.
Lakes Radio Sports Director Jeff Swedberg and I are headed to Mankato State University at 5:00 a.m. for a day at the Vikings training camp. Five other Viking fans, some of the broadcast sponsors of Vikings Football, will be joining us. I've never attended a practice session for the Vikes, so it should be interesting. I'll let you know how it goes!
|Monday, July 22, 2002|
|Craigs Corner 07/22/02 - 07/28/02|
|Thursday, July 23rd, 2002|
Aaron Olson is done playing baseball for the summer ... not by choice. Olson was injured while in the on deck circle in Rochester last Friday night.
The injury happened when Olson was preparing for his first inning at bat. The batter for the Mankato Moon Dogs slashed a foul ball that hit Olson on the right side of his face, fracturing the orbital socket and sending him to the Mayo Clinic. Fortunately his vision checks out fine, but the injury will require surgery on Monday at Methodist Hospital in Rochester.
Aaron was really enjoying being a part of the Northwoods League team in Mankato and it's too bad that his season had to end the way it did. He had been named to the league all-star game earlier this month and the Moon Dogs have enjoyed a good season. We wish Aaron a speedy recovery.
Aaron's brother Ryan Olson is involved with the Moorhead Brewers amateur team which will be hosting the Region 12C Tournament at Matson Field in Moorhead beginning August 3rd at 10:00 a.m. There are still league tournaments in progress that will determine the teams that will be involved. The Brewers are in for sure as they won the West Central League title over the Moorhead Minors last week. They won the first game on a walk-off homer by Chris Clemenson and Ryan threw a three-hitter in their 4-1 win in game two. In their third game, Casey Garman tossed a six-hitter in seven innings to earn the win. Garman is a former Casselton, North Dakota standout and he pitched for a couple of years at Iowa State.
It's great to see Ryan still playing competitive baseball. He was an outstanding high school and college player at Fergus Falls High School and Valley City State University. A lefty with a sweet swing! Ryan is hitting .358 for the Brewers with a .413 on base percentage. He has eight doubles, a homer, 14 runs batted in and 16 runs scored. He has pitched in 8 games, has a record of 3-3 with a 5.02 ERA and opponents are hitting .251 against him. He has 29 striekouts and 18 walks in 43 innings. The Brewers are 19-10 heading into the Region 12C Tournament.
Monday, July 22nd, 2002
Sports fans in our region enjoyed the excellent coverage provided by Ralph Anderson of the Detroit Lakes Newspapers for a half century. Ralph passed away on Monday morning after a short battle with cancer.
Ralph came on the regional sports scene fresh out of college around 1950 and stayed in the employ of the Detroit Lakes Newspapers his entire career. Ralph Anderson was a professional. He was also one of the nicest people I ever met.
My dad, Vernon Olson, was a three-sport MVP at Detroit Lakes High School in 1952. He was a member of the first Laker sports teams that Ralph covered and Ralph took a liking to him. Everytime I saw Ralph, which wasn't enough in recent years, he would ask about my dad. In fact, when my dad retired and my folks moved out west, Ralph wrote about him being one of the most intense high school athletes he had seen in his years covering the team. Ralph was always looking for the positives in student-athletes. He was quite a historian of Laker sports.
I got my start in radio at KDLM in Detroit Lakes when I was 15, working part time as a deejay while in high school. After I graduated, I became sports director at the age of 18. Ralph was so helpful in the two years I spent in that position. He was always available when I needed to talk to him and he always treated me like a peer, even though I was very young and inexperienced. Although he was in the print media and I was in the electronic media, I always considered Ralph a mentor and a friend.
Ralph was never real excited about going on the radio, but there were several times through my years in Fergus Falls and the early days in DL that he joined me for a halftime interview. He was a quiet, intelligent man who knew his stuff! It was always a joy to spend a few minutes visiting with Ralph about regional sports.
Ralph Anderson was a man who loved his job. He loved the kids and teams he followed, he loved attending the games and reporting on them, and he loved recalling student-athletes of years ago, updating his faithful readers on what was happening with them today in his "Standing By" column. It was always the first part of the paper I would turn to, and I'm not alone in that.
The Pine-to-Palm will miss Ralph. As recently as last year, Anderson was writing his Pine-to-Palm updates. For years he was writing daily updates for tournament spectators. He knowledge of the tournament and the players who participated in it, was endless. He must of had quite a filing system because he always seemed to come up with facts and figures from the past, bringing his stories to life! He lived it, and his readers lived it through his writing.
His family, friends, admirers will all say goodbye to Ralph Anderson this week. However, through his 50-plus years of writing, Ralph Anderson will remain alive. He has been a large part of sports history in our region. The Detroit Lakes Senior High School Gymnasium was named after Ralph in a special ceremony a few years back. It's a very deserving honor for a man who was loved and respected by many. Thanks Ralph. I'll miss you.
|Monday, July 15, 2002|
|Craigs Corner 7/15/02 - 7/21/02|
|Tuesday, July 16th, 2002|
There's a new girls soccer coach at Fergus Falls High School. Eric Van Sickle will replace Shelly Kangas, who resigned following the 2001 season.
Van Sickle graduated from Fargo North High School in 1985 and earned a degree in Special Education from the University of Minnesota. He is currently teaching all academics in a locked, self-contained classroom for students who are residents in the treatment unit at the Catholic Charities Intensive Treatment Unit School in Fergus Falls.
The coach will be holding a meeting for prospective girls soccer players from ninth through twelfth grades, on Monday, July 22nd at 5:00 p.m. in the Middle School Commons.
The Otter girls qualified for their first state tournament last season.
This is a big week for I-94 BMXer's! The local group is hosting a Redline Cup Qualifier and State Championship race this weekend. Racing will be held on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Thursday and Friday are single points races with registration from 6 to 7 p.m. Saturday is a Redline Cup Qualifier with registration 10 to noon. This is a triple points race which entitles qualified riders to compete in the Redline Cup Final event in their region. Sunday is a State Championship race with registration once again from 10 to noon. The State Championship is a double points race, leading up to the State Championship Finals in September. For more information you can call 739-5525.
Monday, July 15th, 2002
The Fergus Falls U-14 girls fastpitch softball team has qualified for the State Tournament by winning their District title in Hawley.
The Fergus Falls girls beat Breckenridge 13-1, Norman County West 11-5 and Barnesville 19-18 for the championship. Kathleen Rittenour is the coach of the team. Congratulations girls.
Justin Arneson has really started off well for the Gulf Coast League Twins in Florida. Through Friday's games, Arneson is 8-for-19 for a .421 batting average. He has a double, a triple, three runs batted in and has scored three runs. His on-base percentage is .522 and his slugging average is .579. He has struck out three times and walked four times. He has appeared in nine games, four of them as the center fielder, the others as a pinch-hitter.
|Monday, July 8, 2002|
|Craigs Corner 07/08/02 - 07/14/02|
|Friday, July 12th, 2002|
I'm looking forward to the opportunity to act as co-host with John Gordon Saturday, during the Minnesota Twins pregame show on the Twins Radio Network.
I've been listening to Twins baseball since they moved to Minnesota in 1961. My earliest memory of a specific game is Jack Kralick's no-hitter in 1962. I sat with my grandfather in his living room and listed to the game on his old radio. He was very excited as the game reached the latter innings and I became very excited too as he explained what a no-hitter was. Since then, I've been a die hard Twins fan and just can't imagine a summer without Twins baseball.
I remember telling my Little League manager, Bud Schmidt, that when Herb Carneal retired, I wanted to replace him on the radio. Well, Herb is still going!!!! John Gordon joined Carneal for the 1987 season (good timing) and has taken over the lead broadcaster position as Carneal has curtailed his schedule to include just the home games. Gordon does a great job coordinating the broadcasts. He's energetic, informative, knowledgeable and quite excitable when something good is happening for the Twins. I've had the opportunity to get to know Gordon throughout the last several years and he is a genuine good guy. He joins me every Wednesday morning on AM 1250, KBRF, at 7:20 a.m. to Talk Twins Baseball for McDonald's of Fergus Falls. I've had numerous comments on that show over the last three years.
I'm not sure what I'll be doing on Saturday, but I do get to spend the afternoon with Gordon, preparing for the pregame show which will be live from the Plaza in front of the Metrodome starting at 5:35 p.m. It should be fun.
One of the perks for me is that Rod Carew is doing the TV commentary with Dick Bremer this weekend because one of Bert Blyleven's sons in getting married. Any of you who know me at all know that I'm a big Carew fan, so I'm hoping to just have a brief conversation with the Hall-of-Famer on Saturday! I feel like a kid again!
Thanks to Jeff Swedberg (who said he'd rather I did this than him), and John Gordon, who suggested having a representative from an affiliate station on the network join him for Saturday home games as a cohost of the pregame show. This has been going on for about three years now. I was on with John and two other affiliate representatives at a Network affiliate day at the dome a few years ago, but that was for just the Baseball Today segment. This is for the whole half hour!! Hope we can find enough to talk about!!
Wednesday, July 10th, 2002
A tie? That should not happen in the All-Star game, and what is the deal with no MVP? Even if there wasn't a winner determined they should have named an MVP.
This was nothing short of a travesty. Baseball fans deserve better than what they were given on Tuesday night. What started out so wonderfully with a tremendous pregame show highlighting some of the most memorable moments and stars in the games history, ended in total disgust and humiliation for a game that has more than its share of problems.
The Major League Baseball All-Star game has always been the best All-Star game of any of the professional sports leagues. It used to be the one All-Star game that players played to WIN. It was played with the regular rules of the game and managers used to manage it like it was an important game to WIN. Now, in this sickening, politically-correct, we can't hurt anybody's feelings mentality that has invaded this world, the goal of the All-Star team managers is to get everyone into the game. Forget about deciding the outcome. We can't have anyone upset about not getting to play. Why not? Isn't it a big enough honor to be selected as a member of the team? Are these spoiled millionaire's beyond accepting the possibility that they may not get to play?
There have been five all-star games that have gone longer than Tuesday night's 11 innings. In each of those games, both teams still had players, and pitchers available for use when the game ended (GASP). You mean, some players didn't get to play?!?!?!?! YES, but the fans did get to see the game played to its expected conclusion. A winner was decided and that is what should happen when you pay $150.00 for a ticket.
Start managing the game to win and expand the rosters from 30 to 35 players if you think it's necessary. Something like this should never happen in the first place, but it surely had better not happen ever again. It is inexcusable and unconscienable to treat the fans of the game the way they were treated on Tuesday night. Baseball has a lot of work to do in the coming weeks and months to get their house in order. They had better do it right, or this national pastime may never recover.
I like Curt Schilling's idea. He said this after the debacle, "I've got two solutions. One, increase the rosters and just tell guys that some of them won't play unless the game goes extra innings. Or two, play nine innings no matter what. Tell everybody from the start. And then, if it's tied, each team picks one guy, and you decide it with a Home Run Derby. How great would THAT be?"
The other part of Tuesday night's game that really bothers me is the fact that no MVP was named. Why not? Just because they left the game a 7-7 tie doesn't mean that there should not be an MVP, especially this year. The All-Star MVP Award has been named for Ted Williams, starting with this years winner. What a slap in the face to the memory of "Teddy Ballgame". Name an MVP! There were several candidates. It was a great game, while it lasted. Jimmy Rollins, Paul Konerko, Damian Miller and Omar Vizquel could all have been considered as MVP's.
I remember the 1967 game, I believe it was played in Houston. They played 15 innings in that one, the longest in all-star game history. The NL beat the AL 2-1 on a homer by Tony Perez in the bottom of the 15th. I did some checking on that game. Perez homered off Catfish Hunter, who was in his fifth inning of work. The American League had 3 unused pitchers at the time. Also, ten position players played every inning of the game. Not one position player played more than five innings on Tuesday night. What made baseball's all-star game such a classic for years was the fact that it was played like a meaningful game. Managers managed it that way, players played it that way. Not anymore. Baseball delivered the message on Tuesday night that the outcome of the game doesn't matter. The resulting boos and chants from the fans, showed them that it does. Let's hope we never see anything like it again.
Monday, July 8th, 2002
Justin Arneson is off to a good start for the Gulf Coast League Twins in the Florida Rookie League. Arneson has appeared in four games for the Twins, as of Saturday.
Arne has started two games in center field and come off the bench as a pinch-hitter in the other two games. He has three hits in seven at bats, all singles, for a batting average of .429. He also has a walk, giving him an on-base percentage of .500. Arne has struck out twice, hasn't driven in any runs or scored a run.
We'll try to keep you posted on how he's doing with periodic updates.
Aaron Olson has raised his batting average to .258 for the Mankato Moondogs in the Northwoods League. After 26 games Olson has collected 23 hits in 89 at bats, including five doubles and a homer. He has one of the three home runs hit by the team so far in this wood bat league. Olson is second on the team with 16 runs batted in and has scored ten times. He has struck out fourteen times and walked ten times. His on-base percentage is .347 and his slugging percentage is .348. Olson is playing second base and the Moondogs are 16-13, tied with the Brainerd Mighty Gulls for first place in their division.
Matt Price, who homered for American Legion Post 30 on Sunday, is planning on attending UND and will attempt to play baseball for the Sioux. Price played center field for the Otters on their state tournament team this spring and is patrolling that area for the Legion team as well. Troy Wasiloski, a former Otter, and Underwood graduate and former Spartan Kellen Shebeck, are members of the UND squad.
|Monday, July 1, 2002|
|Craigs Corner 07/01/02 - 07/07/02|
|Saturday, July 6th, 2002|
Jess Holicky has decided on UND-Lake Region in Devils Lake, North Dakota. She will play basketball for a program that has had much success in the past.
I talked with Jess at the American Legion baseball tournament on Saturday. Many of the Fergus Falls High School basketball fans were really hoping she would play for Ann Williams at FFCC, but she decided on Lake Region. She's going to go into the medical field and feels that they have a very good program for that field. Selfishly, I too would have loved to have seen her wear the blue and gold of the Lady Spartans, but I'm sure she'll be a vital part of their basketball program.
I saw Justin Stock recently. The former Fergus Falls Otter hockey defenseman is attending the University of Illinois in Champaign, Illinois. He played on their club hockey team which took second in the nation to Penn State this past year. Justin said he enjoyed it immensely and is looking forward to his team challenging for the title this next year.
I haven't talked to Otter basketball coach Gary Schuler lately, but word has it that Gary and Shawna have another wedding in their future. Their daughter, Kison, was just married in June and now I hear that son Trek is engaged! Trek was the athletic trainer in Fergus Falls in the early to mid 90's and is currently working in the Baltimore Orioles organization as the athletic trainer for their Class A affiliate, the Delmarva Shorebirds. Congratulations to the Schulers!
Wednesday, July 3rd, 2002
Fergus Falls Sports Hall-of-Famer Wes Windmiller passed away last weekend at the age of 78. Windmiller was just recently inducted into the St. Croix Valley Athletic Hall of Fame.
Wes was a standout athlete at Fergus Falls High School where he was all-conference in football and basketball. He made all-state in football back in the days when only eleven players were chosen for the honor. In 1942, he enrolled at the U of M and played basketball, football and baseball. His college career was interrupted by a three year stint in the Marine Corps during World War II. He finished up his collegiate athletic career in 1947 and coached football and basketball for one year at Beloit High School in Wisconsin, leading both teams to conference titles. He became head basketball coach, assistant football and track coach at Stillwater in 1948 and spent 39 years as a coach, teacher and administrator in that school district.
Wes was a charter member of the Fergus Falls Sports Hall of Fame in 1986. He was inducted into the St. Croix Valley Athletic Hall of Fame on May 2nd.
Fergus Falls girls basketball players Jess Holicky and Tanya Hensch traveled to Hawaii with a group of girls, primarily from North Dakota, to participate in the Maui Basketball Classic. Their team made it to the title game where they lost to a Mississippi team, 47-30. Their team was 4-1 in the tournament.
The Outstate All-Stars defeated the Metro All-Stars 26-6 Saturday in the All-Star Football Classic at Macalester College in St. Paul. Hillcrest standout Luke Hansen was a member of the winning team.
Monday, July 1st, 2002
Half way through the year! Can you believe it? We are also at the midway point in the major league baseball season and the All-Star teams have been selected. The game will be played in Milwaukee on Tuesday, July 9th and three Twins will be there.
Torii Hunter was selected in balloting by fans throughout the country, to start in the American League outfield. He is very deserving of that honor.
AJ Pierzynski was selected by Yankees manager Joe Torre to backup Jorge Posada at catcher. AJ has been as consistent as anyone at the plate for the Twins and you have to love the way he stands in and blocks the plate. He has become one of the top catchers in the league. Another very deserving pick.
The other player from Minnesota to be chosen by Torre is lefthanded closer Eddie Guardado. What a magnificent job he has done after being named by Ron Gardenhire as the team's closer shortly after "Gardy" got the managerial job. He is the American League leader in saves and has been a main reason for the Twins great success so far this season.
Minnesota is currently six games up on the Chicago White Sox but they are heading west for a critical stretch of games against the two hottest AL teams, Oakland and Seattle. We'll get a good indication of how strong the Twins are this next week.
In our poll of what Twins were most deserving to join Hunter on the team, 34% voted for Guardado, 23% for Jacque Jones and 21% for AJ Pierzynski. JC Romero finished with 13% of the votes. Seems like visitors to my website are in line with Torre on his selections! Be sure to take the current poll on the voting process!