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Royals’ Offense Shut Down In 2-1 Loss To Twins

July 29th, 2014 by ConsumerBob


KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — James Shields acknowledged that he didn’t have his best stuff Tuesday night.

He has the bruise on his rump to prove it.

The Royals’ ace struggled to find the strike zone against the Minnesota Twins, and was hit hard when he finally did. And while he managed to wiggle out of a series of jams, Shields still allowed both of the runs that doomed Kansas City to a frustrating 2-1 defeat.

“We just got out-pitched and out-played. I didn’t have my best stuff out there,” Shields said. “I tried to keep the team in the game as long as I could. It just wasn’t enough.”

As if the loss wasn’t bad enough, Shields was left hobbling around behind the mound in the third inning, when Sam Fuld ripped a liner at him. It hit Shields squarely in the left butt cheek and ricocheted toward third base, where it was retrieved for a rather painful groundout.

Shields (9-6) ultimately threw 124 pitches — two shy of his career high — while walking four in six innings. The runs came on Josh Willingham’s sacrifice fly and Brian Dozier’s RBI single.

“A bit erratic. He got his pitch count up early,” Royals manager Ned Yost explained. “At the end of five, he’s at 100, which is uncharacteristic for him.”

His counterpart, Kyle Gibson, was having no such trouble for Minnesota.

He allowed a single by Alcides Escobar in the third inning and another by Nori Aoki in the sixth over seven dazzling innings. Gibson (9-8) was at his best at the end, too, setting Kansas City down in order in the seventh on four seemingly effortless pitches.

“I don’t know what it was tonight,” he said. “I just had a lot of confidence.”

Casey Fien worked the eighth before Glen Perkins ran into trouble in the ninth, giving up a leadoff double to Omar Infante and an RBI single to Eric Hosmer. Perkins bounced back to get three straight pop outs and record his 26th save of the season.

“The loss is frustrating in general. It doesn’t matter how it is,” the Royals’ Billy Butler said. “It’s not fun to lose, especially in a 2-1 game like that. We should have put up more runs.”

That’s been a common refrain for Kansas City, which has scored three runs or fewer in seven of its past 10 games. Two of those games have been shutouts.

“It’s just one of those days where we had a tough day offensively,” Butler said.

REVIEW THE REPLAY: Twins manager Ron Gardenhire wanted a review of a replay in the third inning, when he thought Royals left fielder Alex Gordon trapped the ball in robbing Chris Parmelee of a hit — and likely saving a run. After challenging the call, Gardenhire was incensed that it stood, taking out his frustration on plate umpire Ted Barrett. Gardenhire was tossed after a nose-to-nose confrontation. “I just wanted to find out what happened,” he said. “I was just looking for an explanation. He threw me out really quick. He was really hot.”

ONE-RUN WOES: The Royals dropped to 12-21 in one-run games this season, a mark that would be even worse if not for 2-1 victories over Chicago and Cleveland in the last week.

BIG WORKLOAD: Shields threw his most pitches as a member of the Royals, and the 124 tied for the third-most of his career. It was the most by a Royals pitcher since May 8, 2010, when Gil Meche threw 128 pitches in a 3-2 loss at Texas. “They were sitting on some really good pitches,” Shields said. “Their plate discipline was phenomenal tonight.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Twins: Catcher Joe Mauer (strained right oblique) swung in the batting cage and plans to hit live batting practice Wednesday. Right-hander Ricky Nolasco (sore elbow) also felt good after a bullpen session. He plans to throw another one Thursday.

Royals: Hosmer was back in the lineup after missing six of the past seven starts with a bruised right hand, while LHP Jason Vargas (appendectomy) also reported no problems after throwing about 60 pitches during a four-inning simulated game. “Today went well,” he said.

ON DECK

Twins: Right-hander Phil Hughes makes his first start since leaving a game July 24 against the White Sox with a bruised right shin. Hughes (10-7) won his previous start in Kansas city April 20.

Royals: Left-hander Danny Duffy (5-10) threw seven shutout innings his last time out, only to get stuck with a no-decision when the Indians’ Corey Kluber matched him pitch for pitch.

(© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Amazing Adaptive Softball Player Gets Look At Dream Job

July 29th, 2014 by ConsumerBob


MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A few weeks ago we brought you the story of Charlie Schultz, an adaptive softball player from Eagan who dreamed of becoming an audiologist.

We received tremendous feedback on that story from viewers who were inspired by Charlie’s positive attitude and perspective on life.

But part of that story that caught the attention of Jason Galster, an audiologist with Starkey Hearing Technologies.

He asked to meet Charlie, and he did.

Watch the video above to see what Galster showed Charlie.

Good Question: When Does A Bill Go Into Collection?

July 29th, 2014 by ConsumerBob


MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A new study out Tuesday showed that more than 35 percent of Americans owe money to collections agencies.

In most cases, it’s from falling behind on credit cards, medical bills, or student loans.

But even past due gym membership fees can lead to collections.

If you get behind, you’ll eventually hear about it.

“Three months to six months you start seeing collections, especially on medical bills. You start seeing that happen right away,” said John Hoffman, a state senator (D-District 36) and a credit counselor with Consumer Credit of Minnesota.

He said a simple phone bill, possibly even forgotten about, can turn around and haunt you.

“An old bill sitting out there from their old cell phone company that they forgot to pay. It was $50, well now you can start charging some simple interest and the next thing you know it’s up to $100,” Hoffman said.

Hoffman said after 6 months of the bill going unpaid, the debt is bought and sold on the open market like a commodity.

Thirty-five percent of Americans are dealing with collections right now. But in Minneapolis, that number is only 20 percent — one of the lowest percentages in the nation.

“A couple of things contribute to that,” Hoffman said. “We have one of the lowest unemployment rates and people are paying their debts.”

That is key, because Hoffman says if you don’t pay your bills bad credit will cost you.

“Insurance companies look at credit-worthiness, some companies look at future employee’s credit worthiness, especially a job that requires credit worthiness,” Hoffman said.

He says the best way to get back on track is to prioritize your bills and set up payment plans.

But definitely don’t ignore your debt.

According to the Urban Institute study, Texas has some of the worst debt.

Forty-four percent of people in Dallas and San Antonio are being pursued by collections.

Delta Looking To Make Flights Go By Faster With Free Entertainment

July 29th, 2014 by ConsumerBob


MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – It seems we can’t get away from airline fees these days, but one airline is changing the game and will begin offering something for free.

Delta Air Lines is slated to roll out Delta Studio at the end of the week. The company claims it will offer more free entertainment than any other airline.

“There got to be something it in for them,” said passenger Jeff Siegel.

Delta is rolling out free in-flight entertainment options for customers in all classes of service. There will be more seat-back screens and in-flight streaming.

“I just think all the airlines need to be competitive now and do some promotions,” said passenger Camille said.

The streaming option will offer access to on-demand movies and TV. People will be able to stream free through Gogo’s video player app.

There will also be more seat-back screens with movies, TV shows and games available on domestic aircraft and two-cabin regional jets with flights longer than 90 minutes. There will be a charge in economy seats for some premium movies.

“What they’re doing is they’re just making the trip shorter. If you’re busy, time goes faster,” said airline expert Terry Trippler.

Trippler said Delta is upping the game in a place they can afford to.

“Baggage, there’s weight on the plane and handling the bags. That costs them money, so they’re not going to give that to you,” Trippler said. “So they’re looking for ways that isn’t going to cost them anything or cost them very little.”

And he believes that’s entertainment.

“If I had the option between two airlines that had one with entertainment and one without, I’d absolutely pick the one that did,” said passenger Celin Manlove.

All of the entertainment will be free in every class on international flights.

A Delta spokesperson said they listened to customers – a desire to be entertained is consistently on the top of the list of ways to improve time in the air.

Jesse Ventura: ‘My Reputation Is Restored Now’

July 29th, 2014 by ConsumerBob


MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura says his reputation is restored.

On Tuesday, a federal jury sided with him in his defamation lawsuit.

Ventura reacted to the verdict in an exclusive interview with WCCO’s Mark Rosen.

“I don’t feel great,” Ventura said. “I mean feel good over the fact that I’ve been vindicated, that now they know the story was not true, it was fabricated from day one.”

Watch The Full Interview Below

The jury awarded Ventura $500,000 in damages for defamation and $1.3 million for unjust enrichment. Defense attorneys say Taya Kyle, the widow of author Chris Kyle, will pay $1.3 million out of her own pocket. She released a statement saying the verdict left her shocked and speechless.

After three weeks of trial and six days of deliberation, Ventura says even he was nervous for the verdict.

“Sure, you’re nervous, because anytime a jury is out for over a week you have no idea what is going through their minds,” the former governor said. “The end result I’m pleased with because my reputation is restored now — what’s left of it.”

Jurors could not reach a unanimous decision. Instead voted 8-2 in Ventura’s favor agreeing he was defamed by the “American Sniper” author who wrote he punched out Ventura for criticizing the SEALs’ role in the Iraq war.

Ventura says he didn’t want to go forward with a lawsuit, but felt forced into it.

“My back was against the wall,” he said. “They would do nothing to restore my reputation. They would not admit one inch that the story was fabricated. There was nothing else I could do but take it to court.”

Although he won in court, Ventura says his reputation with the SEALs is forever destroyed.

“The SEALs are my unit,” he said, “and I can’t go out to SEAL reunions anymore.”

The battle in court may not be over.

Taya Kyle was at home when the verdict was read, but in a statement, she wrote: “When it comes to my family, honor and standing up for what is right…I am never out of the fight.”

The attorney for the Kyle estate says he is not closing the door on an appeal.

Ventura’s side is not walking away quietly.

They’re asking HarperCollins to remove the disputed section from Kyle’s book. If not, Ventura’s attorney said, “publish at your own risk.”

St. Cloud Police Seek Help Identifying Suspect

July 29th, 2014 by ConsumerBob


MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – St. Cloud Police are asking the public’s help in identifying a man who robbed a hotel Tuesday evening.

Police say the armed suspect robbed the Days Inn on 37th Avenue South just before 6 p.m. He allegedly brandished a weapon and took money from the hotel’s front desk clerk.

No one was injured in the robbery, police said.

Officials described the man as standing 6-feet tall, having a slim build and a trimmed beard.

He was wearing blue jeans, a gray long-sleeve shirt under a short-sleeve, green and checked button-up, sun glasses, and a red baseball hat.

He is pictured above.

If you know this man, call St. Cloud Police at 320-251-1200.

‘Out Of Nowhere’: Twins Add Undrafted 24-Year-Old

July 29th, 2014 by ConsumerBob


SAN FRANCISCO (AP) —In one of their craziest scouting experiences, the Minnesota Twins have reached a deal with a 24-year-old pitching prospect who has thrown 100 mile per hour fastballs but has never been drafted.

Brandon Poulson was pitching earlier this month for the Healdsburg Prune Packers in a collegiate summer league. His manager was Joey Gomes, the brother of big leaguer Jonny Gomes.

Now, the Twins are about to give him $250,000.

“It’s a great story,” Twins West Coast scouting supervisor Sean Johnson said Tuesday. “This kid came out of nowhere.”

The Twins knew about Poulson from his recent season with Academy of Art University, where he had an 8.38 ERA for the San Francisco school.

Poulson played there after taking a couple of years off to work in his father’s business — “John’s Excavating” — with the thought he’d take it over someday and leave athletics behind for good.

The 6-foot-6 right-hander previously played baseball and football at Santa Rosa Junior College.

“I played for the Prune Packers summer of ’13, but missed nearly three-fourths of the games because I was busy working,” said Poulson, who didn’t make his high school baseball team as a freshman.

The Twins are giving him about 10 times more than an undrafted player would typically receive as a bonus. Poulson will begin as a reliever.

Poulson traveled to Minneapolis last week to undergo a physical at Target Field before returning to Northern California, then was cleared Tuesday. He is set to travel Wednesday to the Twins’ rookie club in the Appalachian League in Elizabethton, Tennessee.

Poulson will sign his contract once he reports. He could pitch in a game as soon as this weekend.

Until last fall, Poulson was operating heavy machinery — driving 18-wheelers, front-loaders and backhoes. All the while, he played baseball in a Sunday night men’s league, fittingly called the “Wine Country” league.

“I went to work with my father and didn’t want to gamble with sports anymore,” Poulson said.

He later changed his mind and decided to give baseball one last chance, spending months retooling his delivery with Prune Packers pitching coach Caleb Balbuena.

Poulson’s stats this summer: 31 strikeouts and six hits in 12 1-3 innings, with four saves in 12 appearances.

The Twins consider him among the best athletes they have pursued: A health nut, Poulson weighs 240 pounds and ran a 6.6-second 60-yard dash. He has a 40-inch vertical leap.

The San Francisco Giants wanted to sign Poulson, who also drew interest the Oakland Athletics, Seattle Mariners and Philadelphia Phillies. Those teams didn’t have enough money remaining in their draft pool to match Minnesota.

“He’s a physical specimen. He’s got the best pure arm strength I’ve ever seen,” Twins scout Elliott Strankman said.

Strankman is the only member of the organization who watched Poulson pitch. It took all of 18 throws to convince him.

“We’re cautiously optimistic because we don’t want to put a bunch of pressure on the kid. He could be pretty good. This is uncharted territory for us,” he said.

At Academy of Art’s scout day, only the position players were running 60-yard dashes until Poulson turned up and insisted on sprinting. He hadn’t warmed up and was wearing only socks.

“I had cold legs,” he said. “Maybe I would have run it faster.”

Strankman went to see him pitch for the Prune Packers on July 15. Poulson reached agreement on a contract two days later.

This week, Poulson is headed for the minor leagues.

“I’m excited,” he said. “I know it’s just the first step of what the real goal is to make it in the bigs.”

Poulson said one of his first purchases will be a therapy device to help his father with his diabetes.

Poulson went 0-0 with a high ERA in 14 appearances and 19 1-3 innings for Academy of Art this season. He struck out 24, walked 24 and opponents hit .189 against him.

The Twins, who selected shortstop Nick Gordon with the fifth overall pick in last month’s draft, had the financial flexibility to pull this off.

“It was a group effort. You just don’t see stuff like this every day,” Strankman said. “It’s one of those great days as a scout you hope you have every five years.”

(© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Adrian Peterson Fired Up For Up-Coming Season

July 29th, 2014 by ConsumerBob


MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Minnesota Vikings signed tight end Kyle Rudolph to a $36.5 million contract. That’s a price tag that used to be reserved for top running backs.

In a pass-happy NFL, Adrian Peterson could likely be the last running back standing when it comes to big contracts.

At 29, Peterson is energized about the upcoming season. He hasn’t just been the biggest part of the Vikings’ offense for the last eight years. For many years, he’s been their offense.

But now with offensive coordinator Norv Turner running the show, the plan for Peterson is to get him even more involved through the passing game.

“Demands more from the running back position from all positions, but definitely from the running-back position,” Peterson said. “Just being able to be out on the perimeter more, more involved in the pass game and just being versatile.”

To Peterson, that’s a welcome change. He didn’t mince words when describing how much happier he is in Turner’s new offense than in years past — and not just with his role in it.

“I feel like, you know, in the past we kinda have been predictable. I’m sure you guys have wrote stories about being predicable in the past seven years. You won’t be able to write that story this year,” Peterson said. “This is what I’ve been looking for, you know, for the past seven years and now I feel we have an offense that, you know, fits our talent.”

And that means using all of Peterson’s talent — his legs and his hands. If Turner wants him catching more passes this season, Peterson will be ready.

“I [don’t] want to make it seem like I’m, you know, Michael Irving or Jerry Rice, but I’ve been playing this game since I was seven. I can catch the football,” Peterson said. “So I’m confident in what I’m able to do, what I’m going to be able to do when called upon.”

The Vikings had their first day off from camp Tuesday. They will be back at it in Mankato Wednesday with their first preseason game a week from Friday at TCF Bank Stadium against Oakland.

Mpls. Police Chief, Mayor Looking For Outside Leader For Flowers Investigation

July 29th, 2014 by ConsumerBob


MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Minneapolis Police Chief Janeé Harteau and Mayor Betsy Hodges said Tuesday that they are looking for a leader outside of law enforcement to investigate the arrest of community activist Al Flowers, who says he was beaten over the weekend by city police.

“Chief Harteau and I decided together that transparency and fairness for Mr. Flowers, the Police Department and the community are best served by an independent investigation,” Hodges said in a statement. “We intend to identify the leader of this investigation in the coming days.”

The police chief added that an outside leader is needed in this investigation to “avoid any appearance of impropriety.”

Flowers, a community activist and former mayoral candidate, said he did nothing wrong Saturday when police arrested and beat him at his south Minneapolis home.

“I did everything I was supposed to do right,” he said. “And I still end up with staples in my head, stitches in my eye and my ribs.”

Police said he didn’t cooperate with them as they issued a search warrant for the arrest of his 16-year-old daughter. They also said that one of their officers was injured and had to be treated at the hospital following the incident.

Flowers was released from jail on Sunday.

His daughter turned herself in and was released after an investigation showed she was in compliance with her home monitoring system.