SPORTS FEEVER – June 25, 2020

Welcome to another edition of the world-famous Sports Feever column.

Outdoor youth sports games are allowed as of Wednesday and indoor games will be allowed on July 1.  That is a positive step forward.  But, it isn’t all good news. Here are some “rumors” that I have been hearing from people in the know.

  • Football is the most unlikely to play in the fall.
  • Tennis could possibly be singles only (this is the dumbest thing I have heard and Crookston Activities Director Greg Garmen said he hasn’t heard anything about that!)

What else do you need to know?   In all seriousness, the Minnesota State High School League might have some tough decisions to make in late July/early August if a sport or sports aren’t allowed to play, will they have to cancel all sports?
Let’s say football can’t be played.  Most schools in northwest Minnesota wouldn’t have another boys sports offered.  Crookston would have soccer and that would be it.

Let’s hope that isn’t something they have to worry about.

On to the positives –
COVID-19 deaths have been in single-digits for four straight days now.  The best it has been in several months.  Positive tests are the lowest they have been with more testing being done.  The Minnesota Department of Health is opening more things each week and allowing youth/high school sports to do more.

Here is my gut feeling and it is basically common sense.   IF the Department of Health and Department of Education gives approval for students to go back to school in the fall the sports will be played (football is still a huge question mark).  If school is distance learning in the fall, there will be no high school sports.
On the college side of athletics, I think it is going to be hard for the NSIC to allow sports if any of the states (Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa) have a breakout/increased COVID-19 cases in the next two months. The fall sports season is already shortened so we don’t need any more bad news.

Many “experts” like Michael Osterholm at the U of M and Anthony Fauci say they think football is unlikely this fall.  Let’s hope they are wrong!!

We know one thing, and one thing only……We have no idea what is going to happen this fall!

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I am extremely excited that Major League Baseball will be back for a 60-game schedule that will start July 23 or 24.  The American League Central Champion Minnesota Twins will try to defend the title.  The Twins will play 60 games in the regular season while they celebrate their 60th season.  Is this a good omen?  I think so!

I received an email from the Twins Wednesday afternoon telling us they will get a schedule as soon as they have it.  This is what we know at this time –
Each team will play 10 games against each of its four division rivals (for the Twins that means they will play the Chicago White Sox, Cleveland Indians, Kansas City Royals, and Detroit Tigers) and four games against each of the five clubs in the National League Central (St. Louis Cardinals, Chicago Cubs, Milwaukee Brewers, Cincinnati Reds, and Pittsburgh Pirates).

The sides expanded the designated hitter to games involving National League teams and will start extra innings with a runner on second base.
Camps will open July 1, with the “vast majority” of teams staging camps at their home ballparks.
The trade deadline will be August 31 and teams will have 30-man rosters for the first two weeks, and optional taxi squads for road games.
Teams must designate 60 eligible players to be part of a “player pool” for the 2020 season.

The normal 10-day injured list will remain, but the long-term 60-day IL will now change to 45 days. An additional IL for players dealing with COVID-19 will also be implemented according to MLB sources.

KROX Radio, a Minnesota Twins Radio Network affiliate since day one (in 1961), will have all the Twins games on the radio again this year.

We will have Twins President, Dave St. Peter, on KROX’s Valley Talk program at 10:40 a.m. on Friday.

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Crookston Pirate Baseball Coach Mitch Bakken is getting a baseball team together of people that would be 16 to 19 years olds to play a few games this summer.  I asked Mitch to tell us what is happening –

It started out as a way to start getting kids out of the house. I had heard some parents started a 15U team, so I just decided to focus on 16 to 19-year-olds, kind of like a Legion team to see what interest we would have. We have had about 13 kids at each practice. So that has been great to see.

We discussed if they would like some games and if they would all commit. They all wanted to, so I started messaging contacts to see what the plans were for games. Every community is doing something different, so it’s a little confusing. Some have been practicing and playing for weeks so we are way behind but I would rather error with some caution.

Anyway, we’ve had some locations respond and want to play ASAP and we aren’t ready for that yet. I am focusing more into July to make sure we are in better shape and game ready. We have some options to play. What I’m finding out now is that a lot of teams play at 5:30 and 7:30. All of the kids I’ve talked to work, so we’ve been practicing at 8 pm.

I know parents are driving the 15U kids. I have looked into options and I don’t know if we can afford to all ride together in a bus or anything like that. So, I would like to have a meeting with the kids and parents that are available to see what some options are. I wouldn’t be so worried about EGF, Ada, maybe DGF, but I don’t want kids driving to Jamestown if we were to go out there, or even other communities in Minnesota that are longer than an hour away.

So that’s kind of where we are at now. If we can get 10-12 games, that’s great but it all has to work out safely. So, if any parents or other members of the community have any ideas or thoughts, we are ready to listen.

Also, I still plan to do something for the Pirate Baseball Seniors. I’m not sure yet, but as we get a little further into summer something will be planned to recognize all 11 of them for their dedication to Crookston Pirate Baseball.

Let me know if you need anything else. This really has just kind of snowballed from a batting practice here and there.

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The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) issued new guidance on youth sports participation during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The guidance recommends that youth sports games and scrimmages resume June 24 or later for outdoor sports, and July 1 or later for indoor sports.

The new guidance seeks to balance the goals of minimizing disease transmission and allowing young people to engage in sports activities that have important physical, emotional and social benefits.

As of last week, teams can start returning to competition by following MDH’s guidance. The guidance also outlines preferred timelines for games, and is described in detail in the COVID-19 Sports Guidance for Youth and Adults (PDF) document. More information is available on the MDH website at Community Settings: COVID-19.

Continued dial turns toward more openness and activity across the state depend in large part on the willingness and ability of Minnesotans to practice the important everyday steps that help slow the spread of COVID-19. This includes practicing social distancing, wearing masks when in public, getting tested if you have symptoms and staying home when sick. With that in mind, the new guidance asks coaches, staff and spectators to practice social distancing and to wear a face covering at all times. Players are asked to wear a face covering when possible. All adults and children involved in the activities should wash or sanitize hands often, and keep hands away from their faces. Organizations are required to have a COVID-19 preparedness plan that integrates MDH guidance as well as current social distancing and social gathering requirements.

Additional precautions in the new guidance include:

  • Avoid sharing individual water bottles, community snacks or towels.
  • Encourage use of dedicated personal equipment such as bats, mitts, rackets, etc.
  • Find new ways to show sportsmanship – tip your hats instead of handshakes.
  • Ensure policies are considerate of staff, volunteers and participants at highest risk of complications from COVID-19.
  • Adhere to social distancing recommendations when participants are not playing (on the bench, in the dugout, etc.).
  • Practice social distancing of 6 feet from other households during player drop off/pick up.
  • Friends and family should not attend practices to avoid crowding.
  • Maintain health checks and screening of participants and staff/volunteers.
  • Organizations should require participants and family members to stay home when sick.

State officials acknowledge that many will be eager to return to activities, but there will also be some who may not wish to return to group activities this summer. It is important for organizations and other participants to give people space to make decisions that work best for them and their families.

In addition, the Minnesota Department of Education is partnering with the Minnesota State High School League to develop activities and sports guidance for schools following MDH recommendations. Fall guidance will be available soon.

The new guidance also provides additional clarifications and recommendations for adult sports competitions this summer.

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The University of Minnesota Crookston volleyball program announced the signing of Maria Garcia Bustos (MH, 6-2, Cartagena, Colombia/Cloud County C.C.).

Garcia Bustos is the first player from Colombia to sign with the Minnesota Crookston volleyball program in recent history. She is the first player from South America to join the program. Garcia Bustos adds length and athleticism to the middle hitter position for the Golden Eagles.
Garcia Bustos played two seasons at Cloud County Community College in Concordia, Kan. Garcia Bustos appeared in 17 matches as a sophomore at Cloud County C.C. She had 33 kills during sophomore season. Garcia Bustos had four solo blocks and 18 block assists. She helped the T Birds to a 23-9 mark on the 2019 season.
As a freshman, Garcia Bustos appeared in 27 matches for the T Birds. She tallied 53 kills with 60 blocks assists and seven solo blocks.
Garcia Bustos played at a high level in the Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference. She helped lead the T Birds to a sixth-place finish as a sophomore. Coffeyville Community College, who won the KJCCC, won the NJCAA Third Place Match at Nationals in 2019.

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We are sad to report that Bemidji State Men’s basketball player, Kaden Hart, died unexpectedly on June 16.  He was 21 years old and a redshirt Junior on the team.
Hart is from Faribault where he was a 1,000 point scorer and played in 11 games apiece in his Freshman and Junior seasons at Bemidji State.

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My wife said last night: “You treat our marriage like it’s some sort of game.”
Unfortunately, this cost her 12 points and a bonus chance.

— —

The manager of a large office noticed a new man one day and told him to come into his office. “What’s your name?” he asked the new guy.
“John,” the new guy replied.
The manager scowled, “Look… I don’t know what kind of a namby-pamby place you worked before, but I don’t call anyone by their first name. It breeds familiarity and that leads to a breakdown in authority. I refer to my employees by their last name only … Smith, Jones, Baker … That’s all. I am to be referred to only as Mr. Robertson. Now that we got that straight, what is your last name?”
The new guy sighed, “Darling. My name is John Darling.”

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The strong young man at the construction site was bragging that he could outdo anyone in a feat of strength. He made a special case of making fun of one of the older workmen. After several minutes, the older worker had had enough. “Why don’t you put your money where your mouth is,” he said. “I will bet a week’s wages that I can haul something in a wheelbarrow over to that outbuilding that you won’t be able to wheel back.” “You’re on, old man,” the braggart replied. “Let’s see what you got.” The old man reached out and grabbed the wheelbarrow by the handles. Then, nodding to the young man, he said, “All right. Get in.”

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At the bar last night, a woman got her nipple pierced right in front of me.

On a related note… I suck at darts.

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How are former Crookston Pirates athletes doing in college or elsewhere?

Paul Bittner is playing for the Cleveland Monsters, the AHL affiliate of the Columbus Bluejacket.

Brady Heppner, is playing hockey for the Roanoke Raildogs in the SPHL.

Aleece Durbin, is a Sophomore on the University of North Dakota Women’s Track and Field team.

Brita Fagerlund, is a Junior on the University of Jamestown Jimmy Women’s Track team.

Ben Trostad is a sophomore member of the University of Minnesota Crookston golf team.

Isaac Westlake, is a Senior on the Winona State Warrior Men’s Golf team.

Elise Tangquist, is a Junior golfer for the University of Northwestern in St. Paul.

Mason LaPlante, a freshman, is playing soccer at the University of Jamestown.

Rachel Hefta, a freshman, is playing volleyball at Hastings College in Nebraska.

Cade Salentine is a redshirt Freshman playing football at the University of North Dakota

Nick Garmen, is a freshman playing basketball and tennis at the University of Minnesota Morris.

Thea Oman, a freshman, is swimming at St. Ben’s.

Crookston School District Coaches –
Jeremy Lubinski
 is a Pirate 8th Grade Football coach.
Amy Boll 
is the head Pirate Girls Track head coach and assistant volleyball coach
Sarah Reese 
is the Pirate Head Girls Soccer coach
Cody Brekken
 is the Head Pirate Girls and Boys Tennis coach and Crookston Community Pool Supervisor
Marley Melbye is the Head Girls Swimming coach
Mitch Bakken is the head Pirate Baseball coach.
Brock Hanson
 is the Pirate Baseball volunteer assistant coach.
Jeff Perreault 
is the Pirate Girls Golf head coach
Wes Hanson is the Pirate Wrestling Head Coach and assistant boys golf coach
Kevin Weber is a Pirate Boys Basketball volunteer assistant coach
Connor Morgan is the Pirate Boys Hockey assistant coach
Sam Melbye is the Pirate Boys J.V. Hockey coach
Chris Dufault is a youth wrestling Coach
Blake Fee is an assistant wrestling coach
Colton Weiland is an assistant wrestling coach

Non-Crookston High School coaching –

Cody Weiland is an assistant wrestling coach at Proctor/Hermantown

Kaylee Desrosier is a softball coach for Fargo Davies Middle School.

Justin Johnson is an assistant softball coach at the University of Minnesota Crookston.

Josh Edlund  is an assistant football coach and phy ed teacher at Flandreau, South Dakota.

Allison Lindsey Axness is Assistant Varsity Volleyball Coach in Champlin Park

Jeff Olson is Head Wrestling coach and Head Baseball coach at Delano.

Jake Olson is an Assistant Football Coach and Head Boys Tennis coach at Delano.

Carmen (Kreibich) Johnson, is Head Volleyball coach at Little Falls High School.

Katy Westrom, is Head Girls Tennis Coach and Head Boys Tennis coach at Monticello High School.

Matt Harris, is a Director of Athletics at the British International School of Houston.

Marty Bratrud is the Superintendent and High School Principal at Westhope High School.

Gordie Haug is an assistant football coach at the University of Wyoming

Mike Hastings is the Minnesota State Mankato Men’s head Hockey coach

Mike Biermaier is the Athletic Director at Thief River Falls High School

Stephanie (Lindsay) Perreault works with the North Dakota State stats crew for Bison football and volleyball and basketball in the winter. Stephanie’s husband, Ryan, is the assistant director for the Bison media relations

Jason Bushie is the hockey athletic trainer at Colorado College

Chris Myrold is a Tennis Pro on Nevis Island in the West Indies

Kyle Buchmeier
 is a Tennis Pro at the Reed-Sweatt Family Tennis Center in Minneapolis

Jarrett Butenhoff is serving our country with the U.S. Navy

Joshua Butenhoff is serving our country on a Submarine with the Pacific Fleet with the US Navy.

Peter Cournia is a 2002 Crookston High School Graduate and also a grad of West Point and is currently is serving in the U.S. Army.

Erik Ellingson is serving our country with the U.S. Air Force at Minot.

Philip Kujawa class of 2004 from Crookston High School.  He is an Army recruiter in Rochester.

Scott Riopelle is head of Crookston Parks and Recreation

Rob Sobolik is the General Manager of the Fargodome

That’s it for this week.  Thanks for the comments and if you have anything to add or share, please e-mail or call.  Thanks for reading and listening to KROX RADIO and