This week in sports news with Wally and Eric

Wild Flames Hockey
Minnesota Wild defenseman Jake Middleton, left, steals the puck from Calgary Flames forward Adam Ruzicka during the third period of an NHL hockey game in Calgary, Alberta, Tuesday.
Jeff McIntosh | The Canadian Press via AP

Watching the Twins and Timberwolves could get easier soon, as Axios Twin Cities reported earlier this week. Both teams are ending contracts with the parent company behind Bally Sports, which streaming services have dropped.

Of course, when you miss a game, Wally Langfellow and Eric Nelson can help you get caught up. Wally is the founder of Minnesota Score Sports Magazine and co-host of the sports talk show Ten Thousand Takes. Eric is the other host of that show and Vikings reporter for CBS Sports radio's Eye on the NFL.

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Audio transcript

[MUSIC PLAYING] CATHY WURZER: We're going to stick with sports for the next few minutes. Watching the Twins and Timberwolves could get easier soon, actually. As Axios Twin Cities reported earlier this week, both teams are ending contracts with the parent company behind Bally Sports, which streaming services have dropped.

Of course, when you miss a game, Wally Langfellow and Eric Nelson can help you get caught up. Wally is the founder of Minnesota Score Sports Magazine and the co-host of the sports talk show Ten Thousand Takes. Eric is the other host of that show and a Vikings reporter for CBS Sports radio's Eye on the NFL. Both are on the line. Hey, guys.

WALLY LANGFELLOW: Cathy, how are you today?

ERIC NELSON: How are you doing, Cathy?

CATHY WURZER: Good. So far, so good. Say, by the way, how big of a deal is this that the T-Wolves and the Twins are ending their contracts with Bally? Pretty big?

WALLY LANGFELLOW: Well, yeah. Being the fact that Bally owes them millions of dollars-- particularly the Twins at this juncture-- no surprise at all. Now, it's a matter of where the Twins are going to land. I know that the Timberwolves will continue through this season, from what I understand. So if you have Bally's and you're watching them via that route right now, you'll be OK.

But the Twins have yet to announce where they're going to go. You know what? There's a lot of folks who couldn't see Twins games and Timberwolves games, for that matter, for the past year or two as a result of all these streaming services dropping it.

So this is a big deal, and we'll see where they land. Hopefully-- I'm one of those who hopes that they get on over-the-air television along with streaming services because I think that they miss a lot of their audience by going streaming only.

CATHY WURZER: Do you agree with that, Eric? Are you with me, Eric?

ERIC NELSON: Yes.

[LAUGHTER]

Oh, you want my opinion on it?

CATHY WURZER: Yes, I do.

[LAUGHTER]

Yes. Tell me.

ERIC NELSON: I'll give you my thoughts. I think for teams like the Timberwolves and the Twins, it's all about trying to get revenue from these TV sources, and that's what you find in professional sports. You take Major League Baseball, for an example. New York Yankees, New York Mets, they have multi-million dollar TV deals, and these teams reap the benefits.

Teams like the Twins or the San Diego Padres or the Kansas City Royals in the smaller to medium sized markets-- they don't get this revenue. And the difference between the Major League Baseball teams, NBA, NHL, is they don't have these monster television contracts that the NFL does. And the NFL splits up its pie evenly.

So a team in Green Bay, which is the smallest market, gets the same amount of TV money as do the New York Giants or the New York Jets, who play in the number one market. So that's one reason why the NFL has all the parity it does and why it's on a solid financial footing because they've got multi-billion dollar TV deals with Fox, CBS, NBC, ABC, ESPN, and now Amazon.

CATHY WURZER: Right. Say, as we're talking about the Twins and T-Wolves, let's actually focus on the Timberwolves for just a moment here, Wally. The Timberwolves have, gosh, the top record in the entire NBA. Is that right?

WALLY LANGFELLOW: You haven't been paying attention, obviously. Yes.

[INTERPOSING VOICES]

WALLY LANGFELLOW: There is a shock.

CATHY WURZER: Shock yeah, I know.

WALLY LANGFELLOW: Yes. 16 and 4 now. Best record in the NBA. Last night, they beat San Antonio. Now, not a huge feat to beat San Antonio. San Antonio has now lost-- get this-- 15 in a row. But they did win the basketball game. Rudy Gobert has been outstanding. It's way different than it was a year ago with Rudy Gobert. I think he has found his footing. He has found his niche with this team.

I think Chris Finch, the head coach-- who, oh, by the way, was named coach of the month in the NBA for the month of November-- has figured out ways to use both him and Karl-Anthony Towns at the same time. Rudy, last night, 16 points and 20 rebounds. The Timberwolves did struggle a little bit last night.

They finally pulled away in the fourth quarter, and they have, as I said, now the best record in the National Basketball Association. Oh, by the way, Anthony Edwards, who was hurt about a week, week and a half ago with a hip injury, played last night. He was not himself quite yet.

He did play, though. He likes to play, even though he's a little bit banged up. He had 17 points in the game last night. Next up for the T-Wolves, they will play tomorrow night, Friday night, in Memphis. And if you want to take a trip down the Mississippi River, you can get in for as cheap as $2 not including fees.

CATHY WURZER: Wow. For goodness sakes. Jeez. Wow. As we're talking about basketball, Gopher basketball, Eric Nelson. What's happening there?

ERIC NELSON: Yeah. How about this, Cathy? A double dose of good news if you're a U of M basketball fan last night. We'll start with the men. Minnesota 76, Nebraska 65. That game played at The Barn in Dinkytown, and the Gophers were without their top scorer, Dawson Garcia. He missed most of the game with an ankle injury, but Elijah Hawkins stepped up.

12 points, 11 assists for Minnesota. And the Gophers were down by 15 at the half, but they caught fire. Joshua Ola-Joseph scored 15 for Minnesota. Braden Carrington, the kid out of Park Center High School in Brooklyn Center, chipped in 13. And the Gophers get a feel good win. They're now 6 in 3 overall, 1 and 1 in the Big Ten.

Meanwhile, in Lexington, Kentucky, the Minnesota women knocked off the Kentucky Wildcats 76 to 57. And how about this? The Gophers are 8 and 1 now in the debut season of their new head coach Dawn Plitzuweit. So she's got this team out of the blocks, and they look very good early on. Maura Braun, who is from the Twin Cities, scored 25 points for the U of M. So really, Timberwolves, Gopher men, Gopher women. If you're a basketball fan, it couldn't go much better for you last night if you root for those teams.

CATHY WURZER: While we have on the line here, Eric, Vikings, of course, at Vegas Sunday. Josh Dobbs is going to get the nod, evidently, even though some people were thinking his performance against Chicago was pretty lackluster.

ERIC NELSON: Yeah. He played poorly against the Bears four interceptions, but two of those were deflected. And remember, they lost the game by 2. The other loss to Denver was by one. I never understood the debate about pivoting from Joshua Dobbs. It's not like they have Patrick Mahomes on the bench. I mean, I think he's clearly their best option.

So he's coming back, and he's going to get a guy by the name of Justin Jefferson back in the lineup. Remember him? He's been on a milk carton, but he's going to return after a seven game absence with the hamstring injury. So the Vikings will play their first ever regular season game in Las Vegas, and I think you're going to see a lot of purple fans going down to the desert to support their team.

And the Vikings right now, Cathy, they're in the middle of the NFC Wild Card scrum with Tampa Bay, New Orleans, the LA Rams, and-- brace yourself, they're back-- the Green Bay Packers, who are playing some very good football right now.

CATHY WURZER: I thought they looked very good in their last game, by the way. So before we go, Mr. Langfellow, how about the Wild?

WALLY LANGFELLOW: Wild going for win number five in a row. They play tonight in Vancouver. All four games thus far under new head coach John Hynes have been victories. They are playing much better since the dismissal of head coach Dean Evason. But they're going to be challenged tonight. They'll play a Vancouver team that has 33 points.

That's the third best record in the Western Conference. They've been getting some great play out of goaltenders Philipp Gustavsson and Marc-Andre Fleury. And then lo and behold, Matt Boldy has returned. He has been actually putting the puck in the net of late, as has Kirill Kaprizov, so they need those two to play well.

They need their goaltenders to play well. This, by the way, is part of a long road trip. Game two of a road trip that has the Wild-- kind of a geography lesson. They go Calgary, Vancouver, Edmonton, Seattle, so back and forth from British Columbia out to the West Coast, and tonight is the Vancouver part of that leg of the journey.

CATHY WURZER: All right. Guys, thank you so much. Always great talking to you. Have a good weekend.

WALLY LANGFELLOW: You, too. See you, Cathy.

CATHY WURZER: Thanks. Wally Langfellow is the founder of Minnesota Score Sports Magazine. Eric Nelson is the Vikings reporter for CBS Sports radio's Eye on the NFL and together, they host the sports talk show Ten Thousand Takes. That's going to do it for us on Minnesota Now this week. Our senior producer is Elisa Kuznetsov.

Our producers are Alanna Elder, Ellen Finn, and Gretchen Brown. Our technical director today, Mr. Josh Savageau. Thank you so much, Josh. And our theme music was composed by Minnesota-based musicians-- of course they're Minnesota-based musicians. It's Minnesota Now-- Abby Wolfe and Joe Horton. And thanks to you for listening to Minnesota Now here on MPR News.

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