Charley Walters: Twins fans left waiting for Bally bankruptcy court (2024)

It looks like it could be at least another six weeks before Minnesota Twins fans might be able to watch their team on Comcast TV.
Carrier Bally Sports North is scheduled to share its future business plan in bankruptcy court on July 29, and it’s highly questionable whether it will deliver a viable way to emerge from bankruptcy. The result of the July 29 hearing could impact the Twins for the final two months of the season.
Meanwhile, the White Sox, Blackhawks and Bulls are working on a joint Chicago TV network. Insiders say the Twins are exploring a similar arrangement with the Wild and Timberwolves, but that could get tricky because those teams remain under contract with the Diamond Sports Group that oversees Bally.

>> Twins manager Rocco Baldelli, asked if he gets questions from fans about the TV issue: “Fans don’t talk to me about TV, they talk to me about who’s pitching in the seventh inning, bullpen usage, things like that.”

>> In the first 10 games Royce Lewis had played in this season, the 25-year-old who possesses all the qualities necessary to become the Twins’ first captain in franchise history, is hitting .382 with five home runs, two doubles and eight runs batted in.

>> It would be hard to imagine any quarterback with better tutelage than Vikings rookie J.J. McCarthy, who had former NFL QB Jim Harbaugh as his coach at Michigan, former NFL QB Kevin O’Connell now as his head coach with the Vikings and also former NFL QB Josh McCown as his Vikings QB coach.

>> Justin Jefferson, who the other day agreed to a $140 million contract with the Vikings, in a Netflix film, “Receiver,” for a July 10 release: “I never played to be the richest. I played because I love the game. It’s not about me.”

>> Congratulations to former Twin Kent Hrbek on his engagement to Kristen Thoen. An Oct. 19 wedding is planned in Casper, Wyoming, which is Kristen’s hometown. The pair met at a Zac Brown concert at Target Field. Kristen had no idea that the large, circular No. 14 among the retired Twins’ numbers inside Target Field belonged to Kent, who thought that was “kind of cool.”

>> Woodbury grad Adam Mazur, 23, in his major league debut the other day for the San Diego Padres, allowed just one run and two hits in six innings in a no-decision against the Los Angeles Angels. Mazur lost his second start to Arizona, allowing eight earned runs in three innings.

>> East Ridge, Forest Lake and Mounds View from the mega-talented Suburban East Conference each qualified for the Class 4A state baseball tournament. Stillwater won the conference championship but was eliminated by East Ridge in semifinals.
East Ridge has three players committed to the Southeastern Conference — senior lefty pitcher Max Arlich to Texas A&M, senior righty pitcher Jake Reigert to Mississippi and junior righty pitcher Luke Ryerse, who also rates among the nation’s top punters and intends to play football as well as baseball, to Alabama.

>> It looks like ex-Gophers shooting guard Cam Christie, 18, is destined for an early second-round pick in the June 26-27 NBA draft.

>> That was Vikings safety Josh Metellus giving youngsters a $40 tip at their neighborhood lemonade stand the other day.

>> North Oaks native Frankie Capan III, who made this weekend’s cut in the U.S. Open at arduous Pinehurst No. 2 with scores of 70-71 his first two rounds, has done a deal with the NFL Vikings to have their logo on his golf bag.
Speaking of Pinehurst No. 2, a 15-handicapper playing the course under U.S. Open conditions probably would shoot 110, an alternate for the tournament, Josh Radcliff, told

>> Caddying for Minnetonka grad Gunnar Broin, who made the US. Open cut as an amateur by shooting 75-68, is Hazeltine National assistant pro Chris Baisch.

>> The guy in the upper deck of the Minneapolis Armory throwing a perfect spiral football 25 yards down on stage to country singer Riley Green at his recent concert was Vikings coach Kevin O’Connell, who was attending because he’s a good friend of Green. O’Connell was asked to throw the pass to Green, a former QB at Jacksonville State. Green caught the pass, but then threw a wobbler into the audience.

>> St. Paul native Sean Sweeney, the top Dallas Mavericks assistant, has a 5-2 won-loss record when subbing for head coach Jason Kidd.

>> While lobbying to have South St. Paul’s football stadium named after alumnus Jim Carter continues, it was revealed last week at a classy memorial for the former star and benefactor at 7 Vines Vineyard that a road leading to the stadium will be named Jim Carter Way.

>> Former Viking and future Hall of Famer Jared Allen will be the Morrie Miller Athletic Foundation banquet honoree in Winona on Sept. 14. Look for Allen to finally be elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame early next year.

>> Despite being a six-time Pro Bowl center, it’s uncertain whether the Pro Football Hall of Fame is in the future for ex-Viking Matt Birk from St. Paul. What is certain, though, is the Vikings Ring of Honor.

>> Jeff Loots, the former St. Paul Central and Southwest State quarterback who for two seasons led the nation in passing and total offense and set NAIA records for career TD passes (102) and passing yards (362 per game), is on the 2025 College Football Hall of Fame ballot.
Meanwhile Loots and former Gophers QB Rickey Foggie plan to seek another Arena Football League franchise after the folding this spring of the Minnesota Myth AFL team.

>> Stillwater’s Matt Vandelac, the noted teaching professional at University of Minnesota golf course, won the recent Minnesota Senior Open at Keller at age 64 despite a full left shoulder replacement five months earlier. He also had a hip replacement three years ago.
Golfers are eligible for senior competition at age 50.
“I never quit practicing, even in wintertime — I’m always trying to get better, and I tap into some really good golf pros,” said the 5-10, 190-pound Vandelac, who still carries drives 260 yards.

>> Simley grad Michael Busch, 26, who in April hit home runs in five consecutive games, now has eight homers in 65 games and is batting .254 for the Chicago Cubs.

>> Jeff Sorenson, 45, the teaching pro at the Minikahda Club recently elected to the Minnesota Golf Hall of Fame, has received an exemption to play in the 3M Open PGA Tour tournament next month at the TPC by way of being the Minnesota PGA Player of the Year. He figures he can make the cut if he plays his “B-plus or better” game. A-minus game? “Maybe top 50 or so,” he said. A-game? “Maybe top 25.”

>> That was St. Paul’s Ryan Walther knocking in a 190-yard second shot for an albatross on the par-five, 490-yard fourth hole en route to a 70 at Town and Country on Wednesday. Estimated odds of making an albatross: six million to one.

>> Andrew Israelson, 26, the Minneapolis Golf Club assistant pro who last weekend earned a check of $5,000 for winning the Minnesota PGA Foundation tournament at Southview Country Club, came within a foot of acing the 363-yard eighth hole during his final round 68. The 6-foot-1, 170-pound Israelson, son of Minnesota golf hall of famer Bill Israelson, can carry drives 340 yards, and that’s no exaggeration.
His power secret? “I generate a lot of lag,” he said.

>> Hall of Fame former St. Thomas Academy basketball coach Tom Ihnot, 76, is recovering well after recent heart value surgery.

>> Former Twins catcher Tim Laudner, 66, played at 215 pounds on his 6-foot-3 frame. After recently losing 41 pounds, Laudner, a Twins TV analyst, is down to 216.

>> While in Minneapolis the day before the Game 5 playoff between the Timberwolves and Mavericks, a representative for Charles Barkley called Mancini’s Char House in St. Paul scouting for a dinner venue for the popular TNT analyst.

>> Family and friends of former Cretin basketball standout Bill Madden, who remains sharp as ever, celebrated his 99th birthday the other day at Pool & Yacht Club.

>> Nearly 200 admirers of Jim Smith recently attended the former St. John’s men’s basketball coach’s 90th birthday gathering at Wayzata Country Club, including hall of famer Steve Fritz, who at St. Thomas coached against Smith in nearly 100 games.

>> Wishing the best for former KSTP-TV and KARE-TV sports anchor Tom Ryther, 86, who recently suffered an acute stroke.

>> Former Gophers football assistant Bishop Harris died the other day at age 82.

>> Want to become a major league umpire? Baseball’s umpire supervisory staff will hold a camp on Aug. 24 at CHS field in St. Paul. Among listed requirements: 20/20 vision.

>> Gary Peterson, Jim Keefe, Dave Smolik, John Fischbach, Pat Darwitz and Herb Gustafson will be inducted into the Monroe High Hall of Fame on June 23 at DeGidio’s Restaurant.

Don’t print that

>> Even after agreeing to a $140 million contract for Justin Jefferson, including a bonus check for $16 million due this month, the Vikings still rank 23rd in the NFL in payroll. Among seven still-unsigned first-round draft picks, the Vikings have two of them: J.J. McCarthy and Dallas Turner.

>> The Vikings’ next veteran mega-signing, if he remains healthy, will be offensive tackle Christian Darrisaw a year from now.

>> McCarthy has the same agent, Brian Ayrault, as Jefferson, and rumors persist that the rookie QB wants all of his signing bonus upfront with no deferrals. McCarthy’s deal is expected to be $22 million over four years, with a signing bonus of nearly $13 million.

>> Look for Twins shortstop Carlos Correa, 29, to end a wonderful 14-year major league career after his $200 million contract expires following the 2028 season.

>> Luis Gil, who the Twins traded to the Yankees six years ago for Jake Cave, is 9-1 with a 2.03 ERA and on his way to the All-Star game in Texas on July 16. Meanwhile, Cave has ended up as a platoon outfielder with the Rockies and is hitting .238.

>> The pitcher-needy Twins probably could have former Woodbury-Gophers ace Max Meyer, 25, from the Marlins, who are desperate for hitters, if they were to give up Brooks Lee and either of Trevor Larnach or Edouard Julien.

>> A well-positioned NBA source is confident that Glen Taylor will prevail in the Timberwolves’ ownership dispute against out-of-towners Alex Rodriguez, Mark Lore and recent addition, Michael Bloomberg, the former New York City mayor.

Even if the trio were to win an arbitration case against Taylor, it still would need sale approval from the NBA. By the way, Bloomberg, 82, is also an investor in the Baltimore Orioles.

>> People who know said the Timberwolves in 2021-22 and 2022-23 tried to trade Karl-Anthony Towns, but to no avail.

>> It’s not inconceivable that Paige Bueckers from UConn via Hopkins could end up selected by Caitlin Clark’s struggling Indiana Fever in next April’s WNBA draft.

>> Look for Xcel Energy Center, home of the Wild, to have a new naming rights sponsor after the next NHL season. The arena has had Xcel Energy, worth about $3 million per year over 25 years for the Wild, as its title sponsor. One company is said to already have made an offer to the Wild, which operates the arena, and a handful of other firms are seriously interested.

>> Really: The Lindenwood University football team that Minnesota last week scheduled for 2027 in Minneapolis is the same team that no-scholarship University of St. Thomas will play this September. Last season, Lindenwood lost 77-9 at home to Wisconsin-Stevens Point.

>> Don’t be surprised if St. Paul’s iconic downtown Mickey’s Diner is soon purchased by a local sports family and relocated several blocks closer to Kellogg Ave.

>> Several returning Gophers baseball players are being recruited with name, image and likeness (NIL) offers in the $40,000 range that Minnesota is unable to match. Many of the players in the College World Series are getting nearly $1 million in NIL.

>> A little birdie says the Gophers men’s basketball program’s NIL budget from last year has nearly doubled to $1 million this year.

>> Women golfers nationally can thank two-time Somerset Country Club champion Jeanne Rancone for the U.S. Golf Association’s decision to send, not only 2025 U.S. Open men’s Oakmont Country Club caps for renewing USGA memberships, but also 2025 U.S. Women’s Open Erin Hills caps for women renewals. Rancone had contacted the USGA wondering why only men’s U.S. Open location caps were mailed and not U.S. Women’s Open location caps. The USGA has responded positively.

By the way, between 2020-2022, more than 800,000 American women took up golf, an increase of nearly 15 percent with a total of 6.4 million, per the National Golf Association. Men’s golf participants increased by two percent during the same period.

>> Look for the University of St. Thomas men’s basketball team to play at Arizona State next Nov. 17.

>> Former Timberwolf Mark Madsen, after one season coaching men’s basketball at Cal-Berkeley, has received a two-year contract extension.

>> Some 45,000 golfers are attempting to qualify for the U.S. Amateur for Aug. 12-18 at Hazeltine National in Chaska. Among those, just 312 will qualify. The two top amateur will receive invitations to the Masters in April.

>> Ex-Gopher Kyle Okposo from Woodbury plays for the Florida Panthers, meaning the storied Stanley Cup could be returning to Minnesota for a day, per hockey tradition.

>> Tickets for the Gophers-North Carolina football season opener in Minneapolis on Aug. 29 start at $43; for the USC game Oct. 5, $79.


>> Former Twin Joe Mauer, 40, who’ll be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., on July 21, in his recent induction speech into the Mancini’s St. Paul Sports Hall of Fame: “One of the lessons our parents instilled in us is that it’s OK to compete. Competition is a good thing. Don’t shy away from it.”

Charley Walters: Twins fans left waiting for Bally bankruptcy court (2024)


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