Lynx face Connecticut, Twins v. Cleveland: What's ahead in Minnesota sports

Donovan Solano
Minnesota Twins' Donovan Solano hits a two-run single against the Houston Astros during the third inning of a baseball game May 31.
David J. Phillip | AP Photo

The Lynx are still looking for the first win of their season. The Minnesota Aurora pre-professional women’s soccer team has had a dazzling start to theirs. The Twins? They’re doing okay.

Wally Langfellow and Eric Nelson joined MPR News Host Cathy Wurzer with their take on what’s happening on the Minnesota sports scene.

Langfellow is the creator of Minnesota Score Magazine and the host of the Ten Thousand Takes sports talk show. Nelson is his co-host and also also the Minnesota Vikings reporter for CBS Sports’ Eye on Football show.

Use the audio player above to listen to the full conversation. 

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Audio transcript

[MUSIC PLAYING] CATHY WURZER: The Lynx are still looking for the first win of their season. The Minnesota Aurora pre-professional women's soccer team has had a dazzling start to theirs. The Twins, eh. They're OK. With their take on what's happening on the Minnesota sports scene, here's Wally Langfellow and Eric Nelson.

Wally is the creator of Minnesota Score magazine and the host of the 10,000 Takes sports talk show. His co-host is Eric Nelson, who's also the Minnesota Vikings reporter for CBS Sports Eye on Football Show. Guys, how are you?

WALLY LANGFELLOW: Hi, Cathy. How are you?


ERIC NELSON: Hey, Cathy.

CATHY WURZER: How are you doing, Eric? Hi, Eric.

ERIC NELSON: I'm good.

CATHY WURZER: Good. I'm glad you guys are both doing well. Say, let us begin with the Twins here. Did I get that right? They're OK, kind of. I mean, they don't seem like they're just burning things up, Wally.

WALLY LANGFELLOW: No, but they're in first place. I mean, they're two games over 500. They've got a two-game lead over the Detroit Tigers. Cleveland is now in town for a four-game set beginning tonight.

The good news is they took 2 out of 3 from the World Series champion Houston Astros, including a win last night, Louie Varland looking good again on the mound. So we'll see how they do against Cleveland this week, and Cleveland is 3 and 1/2 games behind the Twins. And it's a critical series, probably more so for Cleveland than it is for the Twins.

Good news for the Twins, Jorge Polanco activated. And he was on the injured list. He will play tonight against Cleveland and hopefully stay healthy because that has already been a bugaboo for the Twins is keeping guys healthy.

Along with Polanco, his second trip to the injured list we missed Max Kepler for a while and a number of others, Kenta Maeda. It's been-- trying to get through all the injuries is something that they've dealt with last year ad nauseum, actually. But this year with the division is really the worst division in all of baseball. They've been able to make it through and stay in first place despite the fact.

One other important note regarding Twins baseball is later today or sometime today, a judge, a bankruptcy court judge in Texas is going to rule on whether or not the Twins will take the rights away, the television rights away from Bally Sports North, which is the parent company of Sinclair Broadcasting because Sinclair hasn't been paying their bills. And so there was hours of testimony yesterday. And we'll find out more sometime today whether those games are going to be broadcast elsewhere beginning probably as soon as this weekend.

CATHY WURZER: Wow. I mean, that's a big story. Hey, Eric, the other big story is I'm feeling bad for the Lynx here. What's going on?

ERIC NELSON: Yeah, the dynasty is definitely in the rearview mirror. I mean, this is a four-time WNBA championship franchise. But the last couple of seasons not so good including this year. I mean, the Minnesota Lynx are sputtering. They're out of the gate with an 0 and 5 record.

Now, the Lynx will host the Connecticut Sun tonight at Target Center. So if you're going to downtown Minneapolis, keep in mind the Twins will play the Guardians at Target Field. And right next door at Target Center, it's the Sun and the Lynx. And the Sun are very good. They have the second best record in the WNBA at 4 and 1.

More bad news for Minnesota, the rookie phenom out of Maryland, Diamond Miller, has an ankle injury. She missed most of Tuesday's game against the Dallas Wings, not expected to play tonight. The skeptics out there, Cathy, though, the conspiracy folks are saying, hey, the Lynx want to lose. They want to crater so they get a high draft choice. I'm not sure I believe it.

But it's out there because the 2024 WNBA draft includes Iowa's Caitlin Clark, LSU's Angel Reese, the one who went mano-a-mano with the First Lady, Jill Biden, and Uconn's Paige Bueckers by way of Hopkins High School. This is going to be a draft that will yield a bumper crop. And if Minnesota has a really bad season, the Lynx could end up with a Clark, or a Reese, or a Bueckers. And all of them, I believe, would sell tickets and put butts in seats at Target Center. So maybe Minnesota thinking big picture, who knows.

CATHY WURZER: Who knows. So from the Lynx here, Wally, to the NBA Finals-- the final is tipping off tonight, right?

WALLY LANGFELLOW: Correct, tonight in Denver. It's the Nuggets first ever trip to the finals. They've been very good for a long time. But they have never made it to the NBA Finals. They're there now. They'll take on the Miami Heat led by former Timberwolf, Jimmy Butler. The Heat also have former Timberwolf, Kevin Love, on the roster.

But Jimmy Butler is the story. He is the driving force. And here's a guy that Minnesota had, but could not come to terms with because he wanted a max deal on his contract, the same max deal that they gave to Karl-Anthony Towns.

And Jimmy Butler, as you will remember a few years ago, whined his way out of town. And unfortunately for the Timberwolves, Karl-Anthony Towns thing has not really worked. They have not gotten this far, obviously. They haven't been to the NBA's Western Conference Finals since 2004.

But that said, the Nuggets are led by Nikola Jokic. And he is the Joker, as they call him, probably the best player in the NBA. It'll be fun to watch this series as it matches up. By the way, the cheapest ticket on the secondary market for tonight's game, game one, $539.

CATHY WURZER: What? Come on.

WALLY LANGFELLOW: Watch it on television. It's on over here, free TVs. So that might be the way to go.

CATHY WURZER: Well, that's-- OK. Speaking of tickets that are a little expensive, NHL Stanley, the Stanley Cup Finals, of course, that's my game. I love hockey. Eric, aren't they going for some pretty hefty prices at the T-Mobile Arena?

ERIC NELSON: You're right, Cathy. And there still is time for you to hop on a flight, go to Vegas for game one Saturday at T-Mobile Arena on the Las Vegas strip. Cheapest ticket right now on the secondary market for that one, that would be the Florida Panthers Vegas Golden Knights Stanley Cup Finals, $262. And who knows? That may go up because the Golden Knights have really carved a niche out there in the Nevada desert.

This is an interesting series. It's two sunbelt franchises. Vegas has only been around for six years. And when they came into the NHL, their owner, Bill Foley, at the logo unveiling said, we're going to win the Stanley Cup in season number six. Well, they're in the finals. They have a chance.

They've already been to the Cup Finals. That was a few years ago. So they're very spoiled out there in Vegas.

And I think the success out of the gate has allowed that franchise to become very popular and in an area where hockey is just not on the radar. But it is now. I want to emphasize it is now.

Now, the Florida Panthers, again, they play in what I call So Flo, or South Florida, which is typically a soft market for pro sports. There's so much else to do in the Miami, Fort Lauderdale area. But think about it. Their NBA team, Cathy, the Miami Heat is-- Wally just told you-- in the finals. Though they play in Miami, and the Panthers play in suburban sunrise Florida. I think it's North of Miami.

They're in the Stanley Cup Finals. Here in Minnesota, sports fans are happy if the Wild or Timberwolves can win a playoff game in round one. It's ridiculous. It's an abundance of sports wealth in South Florida.

So you have the Panthers and Matthew Tkachuk. And one thing I do want to point out, when they swept Carolina in the Eastern Conference Finals four games to 0, every win was by one goal. Two games went to overtime. Tkachuk had three game winning goals for Florida. So pick your sunbelt team, Florida or Vegas. But somebody's going to win it all in hockey from an area where there's not a lot of ice unless it's in your drink.

CATHY WURZER: With the Minnesota Wild with their nose pressed up the window pane looking in.

ERIC NELSON: The plexiglass. Yeah.

CATHY WURZER: Right. Good point. Good point. All right, guys, I've got to run. Thank you. I hope you have a good weekend.


ERIC NELSON: Thanks, Cathy.

CATHY WURZER: Wally Langfellow, Eric Nelson, Wally is the creator of Minnesota Score magazine, the host of the 10,000 Takes sports talk show. His co-host is Eric Nelson, who's the Vikings reporter for CBS Sports Eye on Football Show.

That's going to do it for Minnesota Now this week. Our senior producer is Emily Bright. Our producers are Alanna Elder, Ellen Finn, Gretchen Brown, Britt Emmett. Our technical director today, Derek Ramirez. Thank you, Derek. Theme music was composed by Minnesota-based musicians Abby Wolfe and Joe Horton. We thank them, too.

And of course, we thank you for listening to Minnesota Now. We appreciate you. Hope you have a good rest of the day. I'm Cathy Wurzer.

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