One of the biggest Minnesota Twins fans in the country lives in Lawrence.
He’s 6-foot-11, 245-pound Kansas University junior basketball center Cole Aldrich, who watched with great interest as his hometown team defeated Detroit, 6-5, in a tense 12-inning, one-game playoff for the American League Central Division title on Tuesday at the Metrodome.
“I was sitting in the living room with Tyrel, and Tyrel was just sitting over there like, ‘Come on.’ I was like, ‘No, this is a great game. You’ve got to get into it. C’mon, Tyrel, you’ve at least got to root for the Twins a little bit,’’’ Bloomington, Minn., native Aldrich exclaimed of his Jayhawker Towers roommate and KU teammate, Tyrel Reed.
“It was so fun, knowing that we played in the Metrodome (for) the last year and growing up in Minnesota all my life. Just to see them play so well — a good, scrappy team that doesn’t quite have the payroll that other teams do, but still has that consistent winning basis,” Aldrich added of the small-market Twins.
Some observers have called Tuesday’s game one of the best of the season.
“Oh, it was,” Aldrich said. “I’m glad we were on top, too, because now I can watch a little more Twins baseball.”
So can his roomie.
“I hope so,” Aldrich said, asked if he’s turned native Kansan Reed to the Twins’ side. “If not, that’s all right.”
Of course, things haven’t gone so well since the victory over the Tigers. The Twins trail the New York Yankees, 2-0, heading into Game Three on Sunday in Minneapolis.
The Twins will play in a new outdoor stadium next year, not the Metrodome, where Aldrich had one of the best games in KU hoops history.
He erupted for 20 rebounds, 13 points and 10 blocks in the Jayhawks’ 60-43 second-round NCAA Tournament victory over Dayton last March 23. It marked the first official triple-double in school history.
Let bygones be bygones
KU’s football and basketball players, who were involved in a feud a couple weeks ago, continue their efforts to improve relations between the squads.
Players from both teams dined together Thursday night at Anderson Family Football Complex.
“The football staff invited us over. Our guys really enjoyed it based on what they told me,” said KU basketball coach Bill Self, who was out of town recruiting and unable to attend. “The timing probably was good to do something like that, but it’s nothing out of the ordinary,” Self added, noting that several of the basketball players have good friends on the football team.
Julian v. Mario next week
Tickets are available for an NBA exhibition between Julian Wright’s New Orleans Hornets and Mario Chalmers’ Miami Heat, set for 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo. Former KU forward Wright has averaged 7.5 points and 5.0 rebounds while starting the first two exhibition games. Former KU guard Chalmers has averaged 3.0 points and 1.5 assists while starting two practice games for the Heat. Chalmers started his rookie year in the NBA. Wright, who was used sparingly his first two seasons, enters this season as a projected starter. Tickets can be bought online at ticketmaster.com.
Fieldhouse looking good
Allen Fieldhouse is on track to be ready for Friday’s Late Night in the Phog.
“After we finished Boot Camp (Thursday), I walked them through the fieldhouse,” Self said of the building, which boasts new concessions stands, wider concourses and improved locker rooms. “We move in permanently next week. They were flabbergasted of their new digs, so to speak.”