Welcome to the Tuesday edition of The Cooler, where you can have a full week to evaluate me before deciding how to use me. Let’s get to it:
*When last year’s NBA schedule came out around this time in 2018, expectations for the Timberwolves were made clear: they were slated to appear nationally on ESPN, ABC or TNT a combined 13 times.
While that’s not even close to the number for the likes of Golden State, it reflected that the Wolves were coming off a 47-win season and playoff berth — and had every reason to believe Jimmy Butler, Karl-Anthony Towns and co. would continue to contend and be good for ratings.
We know what happened next, of course: Butler drama, Butler trade, Tom Thibodeau fired and a 36-win season.
The Wolves are now in another reboot under the direction of Gersson Rosas and Ryan Saunders. Expectations? Well, if national TV is any indication they are far from sky-high.
Minnesota has just ONE game on ESPN, ABC and TNT combined this year — a Jan. 24 game against Houston on ESPN. They will be on NBA TV five other times, but that channel reaches a smaller national audience.
*Want more evidence that baseballs are juiced this year? Batting stats are off the charts at Triple-A this season — notable because in 2019 Triple-A teams started using the same baseballs that are used in MLB.
A full 45 players in the Pacific Coast League have slugging percentages of .500 or better, while four have already hit 30 home runs. Last year in the PCL, only 16 players finished with slugging percentages of .500 or better, and nobody hit 30 home runs all season.
*Former Timberwolves guard Sebastian Telfair was sentenced to more than three years in prison stemming from a gun possession conviction.
*I started watching the Vikings on a regular basis in the late 1980s. Here is a brief ranking of the Vikings kickers from those 30 years: