Down on the Farm: The Other Mayo Facility in Rochester

Mayo Field 6

A recent visit to southeast Minnesota wrapped up six days and 3,000 miles on the road during a pleasantly mild late July.

Mayo Field is the fourth and likely final Northwoods League I’ll visit and review this summer, marking six total going back to 2013.

2014 Milwaukee Brewers: Top 10 Wins of the First Half

Brewers Walk Off

The first half of the 2014 season has been quite eventful for the Milwaukee Brewers, as they’ve done everything from scoring three runs on a wild pitch to literally hitting the cover off of a baseball. Through it all, they’ve been one of the biggest surprises in the MLB, boasting a 53-43 record and a one-game lead in the NL Central entering the All-Star break.

Down on the Farm: A Visit to “MoonDog Country”

Franklin Rogers Park 1

As the baseball world observes Minnesota’s love affair with the sport this week, I continued my trip to amateur yards around the North Star State.

Down on the Farm: Fargo Lives up to Expectations

Newman Outdoor Field

When the Indianapolis Indians marked 15 years of baseball at beautiful Victory Field in 2011, the running local commentary was that few believed the ballpark was that old due to its magnificent condition. While perhaps not as grandiose at the Triple-A stadium in downtown Circle City, Newman Outdoor Field, also in existence since 1996, could boast similar claims.

Let the Crowd, and Not a Hired Performer, Sing the National Anthem

Clint Dempsey and DaMarcus Beasley, on the other hand, are content to listen respectfully while someone else sings the national anthem.  (Photo by KEVIN COX/GETTY IMAGES)

Yesterday, while Americans celebrated the 238th anniversary of our independence, hundreds of millions of people elsewhere in the world (and here too) celebrated the beginning of quarterfinal play at the FIFA World Cup. After a three-day break the world’s biggest sporting event resumed at Noon Eastern with the national anthems of France and Germany.

Final 2014 NBA Draft prospect rankings with scouting reports

Andrew Wiggins

The 2014 NBA Draft will be upon us Thursday night and this year’s class is easily the deepest in a decade. While speculation has run wild over the past few days about who will go where, there is absolutely no question that any number of guys could be worthy of being the top pick this year.

With that in mind here are our final prospect rankings for this year’s draft. What follows is the top 30 players in this year’s draft class with a scouting report for each. Remember this isn’t the order I necessarily believe these guys will be drafted in, it’s just my ranking of their overall ability.

The 10 best position groups in the NFL

Richard Sherman Earl Thomas Kam Chancellor

As OTAs are winding down for NFL teams we’re starting to get a better picture of what each roster will look like this fall. With that in mind, here our ranking of the 10 best position groups in the league. Some of them have been helped out by free agency and the draft, while others have been dominant for several years.

What I’ve learned watching the Spurs “pound the rock”

AP Photo

“I think the Spurs are gonna win it all,” my dad told me a few weeks ago. This was before San Antonio fully morphed into the fully operational Death Star of offensive efficiency that we watched eviscerate Miami in five games. Hell, this was before we knew if they would be able to shake the demons of 2012’s conference finals loss to Oklahoma City, much less the heartbreak in South Beach 12 months ago.

Down on Farm: St. Paul Puts on a Show

Midway Stadium 3

The St. Paul Saints predate their big-time friends across America’s chief river by nearly a century. This is actually the fourth incarnation of the franchise, beginning briefly during the Benjamin Harrison administration, then returning a decade later through 1899, followed by a 1915-60 run, ending just before the Washington Senators became the Minnesota Twins.

Down on the Farm: Anchors Away

Knute Nelson Memorial Park 2

The fourth season of Down on the Farm continues with a trip to Knute Nelson Memorial Park in Alexandria, Minnesota.

Down on the Farm: Stingers Reward Supporters

Taunton Stadium

As a resident for nearly a year now, I realize Minnesota is a hockey state. However, baseball is surprisingly well-funded across the Land of 10,000 Lakes too. This is particularly validated when traveling back roads through small Minnesota communities that seem to encompass one hidden gem of a ballpark after another. Considering the harsh winters, the immaculate conditions of fields by May is also rather impressive.

Pat Foley will finally be inducted into Hockey Hall of Fame

Pat-Foley

Announcers are like soundtracks to movies. If they are great, they become more than just background noise – they become an integral part of the larger whole. Pat Foley, longtime announcer for the Chicago Blackhawks, is they kind of announcer that adds a whole other level the game with his play-by-play and personality.

25 Years Ago Michael Chang Ushered in a Golden Age of American Men’s Tennis at the French Open

Michael Chang holding the 1989 French Open trophy. (Photo from Sports Illustrated)

Twenty-five years ago a 17-year-old named Michael Chang won the French Open and changed tennis forever.

2014 MLB Draft: Ranking the top 25 prospects

2014 MLB Draft

The 2014 MLB Draft kicks off Thursday night at 7 p.m. Eastern on MLB Network. While baseball’s draft doesn’t get the kind of publicity of the NBA or NFL drafts, it is just as important to the future of the league.

With that in mind, here is a look at the top 25 prospects available in this year’s draft, with detailed scouting reports for each player.

2014 NBA Finals: Is Heat-Spurs redux good for NBA fans?

LeBron James Tim Duncan

I’ve watched precious little of the 2014 NBA playoffs, and I ignored the long regular season, but I’ll likely watch most of the NBA Finals — whenever it finally begins after yet another long lay off — because the two best teams will again do battle. Knowing this type of clash occurs most years though, why should fans watch an often formulaic and endless six weeks of playoffs when most can predict the championship participants by mid-April or earlier?