My lifetime buddy and legendary YMCA noontime basketball hall-of-famer Fred Friedman on the 2023 Twins and Vikings: On the Twins: The Twins cannot make contact, let alone hit. They lead MLB in strikeouts and have a shot at setting the all-time strikeout record. Meanwhile, Twins cast offs and trade mistakes Rooker, Steer, and Cano are tearing it up elsewhere. That gets us to blundering away perennial all-star Luis Arraez who 25 years from now will be inducted into Cooperstown as the greatest National League hitter for average since Tony Gwynn.
Fred's way-too-early Vikings quote: The Vikings cannot advance in the playoffs with untested cornerbacks, no interior rush, a center and a guard that regularly get overrun and a quarterback who has no escapability skills. They will score with superstar Justin Jefferson and two outstanding offensive tackles but they will never stop the balanced teams in January.
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Denfeld baseball coach Joe Wicklund, an ace pitcher for the former Duluth-Superior Dukes of the Northern League, on the Hunters losing to Cloquet 2-1 in a Section 7AAA elimination bracket quarterfinal at Wade Stadium last Saturday, and finishing the 2023 season 9-14 overall: “I believe this was a very positive year for our baseball team, as we took some big good strides forward in execution on the field, dedication to collective goals, and team chemistry. I am as excited as I’ve ever been as a coach for next year, which feels like the best possible way to wrap up a season regardless how your last game turns out.”
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Northland County Club golf legend Duke Skorich on the condition of the award-winning private course located in East Duluth: "Despite the prolonged winter and extended snowfall that saw many courses experience severe snow mold, our professional maintenance and grounds crew have given us playing conditions that rival any of the best early seasons I've seen in my 25 years at Northland. While we got off to a somewhat later opening than we might have hoped for, we started playing summer rules in the fairways weeks ago and our approaches and greens are absolutely spectacular. Of course, we all look forward to the day the northeast winds off the lake stop blowing so we can play in shorts and short-sleeve shirts."
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Pine Knot News ace sports columnist Steve Korby's list of top-10 Cloquet athletes all-time (not in any particular order): Mike Forrest, Debbie Hunter, Tim Batagglia, Brent Smith, Butch Newby, Tom Marciniak, Jamie Langenbrunner, Corey Millen, Dave Meisner, Gary “Moose” Pastika (Korby's golf partner).
Korb's honorable mention list (also in no particular order): George Lange, Denny Carlson, Denny Breitbarth, Wendy Hudler, Sam Baker, Dave Boyer, Jess Vork, Patrice Jankowski, Charlie Jensen, Frank Yetka.
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Twin Ports championship golfer Steve Stojevich on the possibility of Enger Park Golf Course being shut down next summer while undergoing construction, with Lester Park Golf Course being reopened for 2024 only before being permanently being closed: "Our mayor and city council have a problem with truth. We all know their agenda has no room for golf. Find a city with a population of over 80,000 that doesn’t have at least two public golf courses. They ignore those that make it all work, and focus on the non-contributors. They’re driving residents and businesses elsewhere. Common sense has left the building!"
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Nancy Anderson's public email to Duluth city councilors:
I have been member of two women’s golf leagues for over 30 years at Enger Golf Course. I have also been an employee of Enger when my husband Steve Anderson was the General Manager. The consensus of many of the golfers is they will NOT travel to Lester for one season. The city is short sighted on the estimate as it will be pushing closer to $850,000 – one million to make it playable. The majority of the women golfers feel the best financial option is to use the money at Enger. The revenues loss that will be experienced with golfers not buying season tickets next season will add to the loss of season revenue.
Has anyone inquired with the golf leagues if they will travel to Lester? Enger has the potential to be an outstanding golf facility. During my husband’s tenure, Enger made money every year. I would hope you inquire with superintendents in the area and get the most accurate assessment of what to true cost would be for one season.
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I seldom publish opinions, until now:
Best Duluth Area High School Hockey Moms: Denfeld
Best Duluth Area Athlete, All-Time: the late Terry Egerdahl of Proctor
Best Duluth Area Hockey Players, All-Time: Phil Hoene and Pokey Trachsel (both Duluth Cathedral), Robb Stauber (Denfeld)
Best Duluth Area Basketball Players, All-Time: Greg Downing and Larry Potter (both Duluth Central)
Best Duluth Area Baseball Players, All-Time: Jerry Udjur (Hermantown), Terry Egerdahl (Proctor), Cal Barr (Duluth East), Patrick Bergquist and Jim Rogers (both Denfeld), Dan Morgan (Superior)
Ultra-Elite Duluth Area High School Player to Watch: Chloe Johnson (Duluth Marshall basketball, 8th-grader next fall)
Best Baseball Ump: Steve Olson
Best Duluth Area Golf Course General Manager: Craig Smith (Enger Park)
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