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Each week sports reporters Matthew Lambert and Eric Schroeder will face off on a hot topic in sports. The world of sports is changing quickly and constantly, but we want to slow it down and take a better look at the juiciest gossip, scandal, rumor or issue that is making headlines this week. Lambert and Schroeder will take different sides and battle it out, telling you why you they are right.
This week’s topic: Who should be the next Minnesota Twins manager?
After the Twins had another forgettable season filled with injuries and disappointment, they decided to let 13-year manager Ron Gardenhire go. With the search for the new manager underway, Eric and Matthew will debate who they think is the best man for the job. Let’s talk about it… (Preview by Matthew Lambert)
FROM ERIC SCHROEDER
The Reverse Piranha
One interesting candidate out there is Ozzie Guillen. The former White Sox player and manager has been out of a job the past couple years but would be an excellent choice for the Twins.
Guillen had excellent playing experience on the south side and was a solid manager for the White Sox during his seven-year tenure. During that time, the team went 678-617 and won the 2005 World Series. In addition, Guillen was named AL manager of the year during the World Series.
The defining feature about Guillen as a manager is not in his stats or awards, but rather in his fire and passion for the game. It is part of what sets him above and beyond most other managers in the league. Guillen has no fear of getting tossed out of a game for fighting for a call. His players and his team are the priority. A team like the Twins, who are in a rebuilding mode, need this kind of dedication and passion. His fire will help push this team to want to be at the next level.
Sure there are plenty of candidates who would be great to fill the void left by Gardenhire, but Guillen is the clear choice in my mind. His fire, passion and determination to win sets him above. The Twins need that right now if they want to get back to contending with Detroit and now Kansas City for the AL Central Pennant.
FROM MATTHEW LAMBERT
The Twins Need “The Ignitor”
As you can tell from the title, igniter is spelled wrong.
For most people who don’t know baseball, this would be strange to see, but for anyone who watched the Milwaukee Brewers from the late 1970s to the early 1990s, you know the relevance of this nickname.
Paul Molitor, “The Ignitor,” was an incredible baseball player in his time. He is in the Baseball Hall of Fame with a career .306 batting average as well as 3,319 hits and 234 home runs. Other than his impressive stats over his 21-year playing career, in which he played the last three years for the Twins, Molitor is a hometown boy. Molitor actually graduated from Cretin-Derham Hall in St. Paul and played baseball at the University of Minnesota, before playing for the Brewers in 1978.
Why is this information relevant to becoming the next manager of the Twins?
It proves that Molitor has not just played the game, but did it at a very high level. Mix Molitor’s playing experience and the fact that he grew up in Minnesota and you have a great guy for the job.
Molitor also has coaching experience with the Twins—two times in fact. After retirement, he became a bench coach for the Twins for three seasons and was rumored to take over as the manager in 2001 for Tom Kelly. Molitor later went on to become the hitting coach for the Mariners in 2004 and was hired by the Twins this season as a bench coach. Molitor has been around all of these players for an entire season. He knows what they are capable of and can put them in the best position to win. Besides, after the Twins hit .254 as a team this season, they could use a little igniting.
Allison Mueller/ Winonan
Winona State University women’s rugby team, the Black Katts, posted its fourth 100-plus point game of the season on Saturday against North Dakota State University.
Head coach Joshua Krzewinski said the Black Katts have increased fitness and speed work in practice leading up to the game against North Dakota State University and have added a Monday training session in addition to normal training sessions.
The girls will continue this vigorous practice routine through playoffs to defend their ranking as they face higher levels of competition.
Krzewinski said, “Every team we play wants to take away our number one ranking, so we have to come out strong every match.”
Traveling to North Dakota, coach Nick Pronold and Krzewinski expected Black Katts to play 80 minutes of smart, quality rugby.
“It’s about our discipline, our focus and our execution,” Krzewinski said. “Last week’s 112-0 win was great, but we didn’t play overly well.”
Pronold added there are small aspects of the game that can go overlooked when the team scores over 100 points a game. To avoid this, he said the Black Katts focus on setting a few goals to accomplish each game.
Senior flanker Victoria Langhans said she sets the same three goals for herself before each game. These are to tackle low, to have good communication on the field and to be at as many breakdowns as she can.
“I went into the game with an overall positive mind-set taking my goals with me every step of the way,” Langhans said.
The final score of Saturday’s game was 112-10, a lopsided win for Winona State, one Krzewinski was expecting because he believes “we have some of the best athletes in the country on our team.”
The Black Katts were on the board within four minutes of the first half with a try from Lanoira Duhart and the conversion by Katie Dries.
From there, Winona State controlled the entire first half, leading 62-0 at halftime.
Duhart again scored the first try of the half, opening the floodgates to more scoring from multiple Black Katt players throughout the second half. North Dakota State managed to get on the board at the end of the half to make it a 112-10 win for Winona State.
Langhans said one thing she has noticed over the years with the Black Katts is that they never quit, no matter how far ahead or behind they are in the game.
“If we’re up 100 to zero we’re still anxious and pushing ourselves to score another try,” Langhans said. “Even if we’re up by 100 points I tell myself throughout the entire 80 minutes that the score is still zero to zero because each and every minute of the game is important.”
Pronold said this game was a chance for younger and new players to step up, show their skills and earn playing time.
Freshman Megan Wolff said she has never been apart of such a great team before, and “the camaraderie between us is phenomenal.”
Wolff, who grew up playing soccer, knew she could not quit playing sports all together. She decided to try playing rugby after hearing about how good Winona State’s team was.
Wolff said freshmen do not see a lot of playing time, but since the Black Katts have been performing very well against other teams she has gotten to play every game.
“I’m not a starter for the team, so when opponents need players I offer to play for them the first half,” Wolff said. “This helps me work on my skills as a rugby player.”
Pronold said the Black Katts need to perform with younger players mixed with veterans in order to continue to win.
“The deeper we get into playoffs the more precise we need to be with substitutions,” Pronold said.
The Black Katts have two final league matches, both at home, to conclude conference play. These games are against University of North Dakota and University of Minnesota Duluth on Oct. 18 and Oct. 25, respectively.