Alexandria Beetles fans will have a unique opportunity this season when it comes to staying up to date on the hometown team. The Northwoods League announced the launching of NorthwoodsLeague.tv. It’s a website that will broadcast every Northwoods League game live on the internet with streaming video. To watch, just go to the website and follow the steps.
The best part about it is that it’s free for the viewers. There is no cost to view the nearly 500 games that will be played by season’s end. The games will also be kept in archives so fans can watch them any time they want. The home team’s radio broadcaster will provide the commentary for most broadcasts.
Fans will also see player interviews and video ballpark tours. There will also be interviews with former Northwoods League players. NWL Director of Operations Curt Carstensen said that the league has talked to about a dozen former Northwoods League players who went on to play in the MLB. Those will be available for fans, along with the NWL blog that will allow Beetles fans to keep a close eye on what is going on around the league.
Baseball fans won’t have to watch Alexandria on the web to start the season. The Beetles open up play tomorrow night with the first of two games at home against Thunder Bay. They then welcome Eau Claire and Rochester in for two each before heading on the road to St. Cloud for a game with the River Bats next Wednesday.
There is a new start time for all home games this season. The first pitch is scheduled to be thrown an hour early, at 6:05 p.m. this season.
The Minnesota Timberwolves probably have the toughest pick in the NBA draft this summer when it comes time for them to pick at No. 3 on June 26. It’s Rose and Beasley and then everyone else. Not that there are not a lot of good players to choose from after those two. What the Wolves need, though, is a guy who has the potential of being a superstar with the No. 3 pick.
My choice for that pick is O.J. Mayo. I say that only because I feel Mayo has the most potential of becoming that superstar. That is what you hope to get with a No. 3 pick. He will be the most athletic of the remaining players on the board and at 6’5", he would fill the role of a big strong shooting guard for Minnesota. I say take him and find out if Randy Foye can be a solid point guard by playing healthy for a full year. Kevin McHale has already said he won’t let the ESPN report about Mayo accepting cash and gifts deter him from taking the USC guard.
The one person that everyone thinks Minnesota will take is the 7’0" Brook Lopez out of Standford. If they did that, they would be drafting for need and that would be a huge mistake. There is nothing more risky than drafting big men who have not proven themselves as a sure thing in college. Lopez is far from a sure thing. Maybe he turns into a solid big man next to Al Jefferson. Maybe he turns out to be another Paul Grant. I just think it’s too risky to take him with the No. 3 pick. If they do that, they should trade down to get him.
I think Eric Gordon is also intriguing, but he slumped so bad last year that you wonder which player he really is. In the first half of the year, he was almost unstoppable for Indiana. He hurt his wrist, though, and after that he was never able to regain his shooting touch. He could turn out to be a great pro, but I think Mayo has the bigger superstar potential, which should make him the pick at No. 3.
The softball doubleheader between Alexandria and Brainerd earlier this season was called in a 9-9 game after seven innings because the teams were running out of light and rain was coming in.
That set up an interesting situation because the Warriors had beaten the Cardinals in game one, giving Alexandria its only loss in the Central Lakes Conference up to that point. Brainerd lost to Sauk Rapids-Rice on May 5, so both teams had only one loss in conference play after the game was called as a tie on May 6.
Earlier this week, Alexandria softball coach Bob Cunniff told me that both he and Brainerd coach Mike Zauhar had agreed that, if the teams won out and both ended with only one loss, they were both fine with sharing the conference title.
Things changed yesterday when Willmar beat the Warriors 5-0 for their second CLC loss of the year. Alexandria swept Rocori yesterday in a doubleheader. That means that the outcome of the 9-9 game from May 6 becomes really important for both conference standings and sections seedings. Because of that, the Cardinals and Brainerd will finish the game that ended in a tie this Friday. A time has not been set yet for play because the two teams are still trying to line up umpires for the game.
If Alexandria beats Little Falls tomorrow, Thursday, the Cardinals can finish no worse than in a tie for the Conference title when they finish their game against the Warriors. Cunniff said the real reason for finishing the game is because playoff seeding is on the line between these two teams. A win by Alex would likely wrap up the No. 1 seed for them in their subsection of the Section 8AAA Tournament. That begins next Tuesday. The No. 1 seed would guarantee them home-field advantage next Tuesday in the first round.
The game on Friday will continue right where it left off. Alexandria will be up to bat in the top of the eighth inning. If they are going to beat the Warriors and finish as the outright champs of the CLC they will have to do it without their head coach. Cunniff will not be able to attend the game because his daughter is graduating from college that night.
It seems like spring has not even come yet but there is already a local subsection for area softball.
Osakis earned the No. 2 seed in the Section 5A West subsection. They will face off against the winner of No. 7 Kimball and No. 10 Eden Valley-Watkins. The game will be played on Friday, May 16.
It is almost disheartening to see that tournament time is already upon all these teams around the state. The weather this spring has taken so many games off the schedules. Teams are forced to play four or five games a week just to try and get in some action.
A prep sports writer for the StarTribune wrote a column a few weeks back that suggested that the Minnesota State High School League move the spring seasons into the summer to help prevent things like this from happening because of the unpredictability of Minnesota springs. It is an interesting idea. I had never really thought of it before but it makes some sense. It seems to be the only thing that could be done to make sure that spring sport athletes get to take full advantage of their sport like fall and winter athletes.
The Osakis baseball team is proving that they are legitimate contenders in the Prairie Conference this season after their win over No. 3 ranked Royalton yesterday.
Trevor Laine gave the Silverstreaks five good innings yesterday, and Matt Laven and Devin Waldvogel each threw pretty well to make sure the Royals would not come back in the game. Osakis led 5-0 after a four-run fourth inning. Things got interesting in the final innings but the Silverstreaks held on for a 7-5 win.
Both Laven and Waldvogel are weapons on the mound for the Silverstreaks, not only because they throw well, but because they both are left handed. Both struggled throwing strikes a little bit yesterday, but they have been solid for the team so far this season.
The pitching has been a huge plus for the Silverstreaks as of late. They gave up 23 runs in the first two games of the season but have rebounded nicely. In the last three games, all wins, Osakis’ pitchers have given up only five runs.
The Silverstreaks are 3-0 now in the Prairie Conference and the win over a very good Royalton team should give the team a big boost of confidence.