Clean up Park Point before Rolling Stone returns

Chunks Of tree branches and all manner of debris have befouled the miles of sandy beach that makes Park Point a tourist attraction. Photo credits: John Gilbert
Chunks Of tree branches and all manner of debris have befouled the miles of sandy beach that makes Park Point a tourist attraction. Photo credits: John Gilbert

It was not amusing when we learned how Rolling Stone had ripped Duluth unceremoniously while allegedly covering President Donald Trump’s visit and ego-bolstering campaign session at AMSOIL Arena last week, and it was more impressive the way Mayor Emily Larson defended our fair city in an open letter response.

She made a sly reference to Bob Dylan being born here, and, by the way, he wrote the song that is the name of your once-proud tabloid. I think a reference to Trample by Turtles also might have been appropriate, not only because they all met while attending UMD, but because they have a concert in Dulluth Saturday night at Bayfront Park which — based on my younger son Jeff’s scouting report from attending last Saturday night’s TbT show in Vancouver — might be their best ever.

Since the exchange, it’s been interesting to read comments and letters to editors about it all. Some people suggest that Duluth must be backward to be so Trumpish, not realizing that of course the arena was filled with Trump boosters, because his staff had to approve every ticket. At least as many Trump critics were in an assortment of protest groups outside the arena, but were less noticed.

At any rate, as a purveyor of sports in the area, i also have been a longtime observer of all things Duluth, and I submit we should be a little cautious blowing our own horn about how wonderful our city is. And that might give us time to bolster the city a bit, like fixing the streets and avenuss so that visitors needn’t worry about fracturing an axle by driving across town. Off-road driving, which resembles our city’s on-road driving, is a sport, so I’m OK, here.

I also appreciate how wonderful our Park Point area is, for swimming and just appreciating our long-awaited summer. My wife, Joan, and I like to go down there and simply walk along the shoreline. Walking on sand is good for a lot of things with your body. Of course, you have to deal with sand sticking to your feet and so forth, but this year, you also have to be careful where you’re stepping on the sand.

Ragged pieces of scrap wood and branches and all sorts of debris has washed up from our recent storms, and left all of Park Point’s fantastic sand a complete mess. When we go about boasting about that wonderful stretch of open beach, we should first take a look at how it is and maybe consider cleaning it up. I could see the city buying a half-dozen 4-wheelers and maybe hiring some high school kids for a summer job of driving up and down Park Point with rakes affixed to them as a simple means of gathering up all the scattered debris. Maybe they also could pile it up in locations about every block, and then supervise city-run bonfires every Saturday night at sundown. Would that work?

One play results in Oregon State NCAA

If you were able to catch any of the College World Series final in Omaha last week, you saw a classic example of how one play can change an entire championship series around.
Arkansas looked simply too strong for Oregon State in their best-of-three final series by winning the first game 3-1, and taking a 3-1 lead in the second game as well, which would have given the Razorbacks a sweep. But Oregon State got a run in the eighth to cut it to 3-2, and had one last shot in the top of the ninth. They had a runner on, but two out when Cadyn Grenier hit a high pop foul down the right-field line. Both the first baseman and second baseman ran for it, and while it appeared the second baseman had a better angle for the catch, he appeared more worried about a collision, and wound up overrunning the ball, which landed harmlessly behind him, in foul territory.

Grenier got back in the batter’s box and, given a new chance down to the Beavers last strike, smacked a single to left, driving home the tying run. That brought up Trevor Larnach, a left-handed slugger who had 18 home runs for the season, at the time. Bang! Call it 19. Larnach lines a shot over the right-field fence, a 2-run homer that boosted Oregon State to a 5-3 lead. 

Freshman Kevin Abel had come on in relief, and appeared to be doing well in the last of the ninth, but when Arkansas got a leadoff single, Abel was pulled for closer Jake Mulholland. I thought it was a mistake, but he got a called third strike for one out. Then Arkansas’s Casey Martin hit a low, hard shot up the middle, that Mulholland speared, and turned into a 1-6-3 double play to end the game.

Game three promised to be dramatic, but it really wasn’t. Kevin Abel, the freshman who had appeared in three earlier World Series games, including the night before, started and put on a record-setting display, stifling Arkansas on a 2-hit shutout for a 5-0 Oregon State victory. He threw 129 pitches, and retired the last 20 batters he faced, to win his record fourth game at the College World Series.

And all because a pop fly in foul territory in Game 2 landed harmlessly. Had it been caught, Arkansas would have been NCAA champions instead.

Wild add J.T. Brown, Hendricks, lose Cullen

Matt Cullen was capable of a lot more than the Minnesota Wild extracted from him this past season. That wasn’t his fault. He is still a great skater, and a strong two-way defensive center who wins faceoffs. He was a free agent, and the Wild passed on him, but he will play next season after signing a one-year deal to return to the Pittsburgh Penguins, where he helped win a Stanley Cup.

But in a flurry of free agent acquisitions, the Wild grabbed J.T. Brown, the former UMD speedster who played on the 2011 NCAA championship Bulldog team. After playing impressively with Tampa Bay, he was allowed to leave for Anaheim a year ago. Still young, he can skate, he will go to combat areas, and he can score goals. He has the competitive fire of his dad, former Vikings fullback Ted Brown, which probably gives him hereditary rights to crash the net.

The Wild also claimed Matt Hendricks from the Winnipeg Jets. He didn’t play against the Wild coming off an injury in the first playoff round, but he can still bring it. A great skater, he was a star on the Blaine team that hammered Duluth East for a state title, then went on to star at St. Cloud State before turning pro.

Tigers Coach Bosio challenges firing

It sounds messy, when Detroit Tigers assistant coach Chris Bosio was fired for making a comment considered racist that was reported by a clubhouse aide and led to a quick evaluation and his dismissal.
Former Twins manager Ron Gardenhire is a friend of Bosio, and it had to be a difficult dismissal. The story unwound to describe a scene in the clubhouse when Bosio said something about a player, and Bosio said something like he was a monkey, comparing him to the clubhouse aide. The aide, who is black, reported the slight.

Bosio’s side is that he and another team member were discussing a lanky Tigers player named Daniel Stumpf, and Bosio said, “You mean Spider Monkey.” Bosio said players call Stumpf, who is white, by that nickname and that’s all he was referring to, without any racial implications. Bosio is considerating legal action to clear his name.