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Chaim Bloom reacts to Eduardo Rodriguez’s departure from Red Sox: ‘We were fighting our emotions on this one’

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Chaim Bloom reacts to Eduardo Rodriguez’s departure from Red Sox: ‘We were fighting our emotions on this one’

Chaim Bloom and the Red Sox certainly wanted Eduardo Rodriguez back, but only to a certain point.

In the end, the Red Sox just weren’t willing to go where the Detroit Tigers went as Rodriguez accepted a five-year contract worth at least $77 million. Boston extended a qualifying offer to Rodriguez of $18.4 million for 2022 and reportedly were willing to offer him more years beyond that, but it wasn’t nearly enough to sway the left-hander to returning to the only major league home he’s known.

But letting Rodriguez depart — effectively ending a six-year run in which the lefty was a key piece of their starting rotation and helped deliver a championship in 2018 — wasn’t easy, Bloom said on Monday.

“We were fighting our emotions on this one of what we thought was the right use of our resources and how far to extend,” Bloom said. “He means a lot to people here. I think he’s not just a great teammate and a really good pitcher who had some tremendous big game performances for this organization, but also a credit to a lot of people here who identified him when he was in the minor leagues, brought him over here and got the most out of him.

“There are deep roots here, and that made it harder to see him go. But ultimately it’s something where we’re happy for him and we have to be comfortable with how far we’re willing to extend.”

Rodriguez was introduced in Detroit on Monday on what he called “the best day of his life.” He explained that his new team’s history, their fans and his relationship with franchise legend Miguel Cabrera were all key factors in his decision to join an ascending club, but his new contract was certainly the most significant. Asked if he seriously considered the Red Sox’ qualifying offer, Rodriguez was honest.

“Do you prefer $18 (million) or $77 (million)?” Rodriguez said. “Just thinking about me and my family, my future, my two kids.”

Rodriguez briefly reflected on his career with the Red Sox, giving a mention to both of his former managers.

“I feel like I had a really good time with Boston,” Rodriguez said. “Really good every year I played there, winning the World Series which was special for me. Every playoff game, everything I did over there. My teammates, John Farrell, Alex Cora, the managers I had over there, everybody. But for me, I feel like now is the time to move on. Move on and go to the next part of my life, which is what I’m starting to do right now. Going with the Tigers and start (to) winning championships over here. That’s the way I see it and that’s the way I’d like to leave it for now.”

Rodriguez formed strong relationships with several of his now former Red Sox teammates, especially Xander Bogaerts and Christian Vazquez. He said it was hard to say goodbye to them, but expressed excitement to face them next season. The Red Sox and Tigers meet six times in 2022, from April 11-13 in Detroit and June 20-22 in Boston.

“They’re brothers that you never forget,” Rodriguez said. “And I can’t wait to go up there and face them next year, see what they can do. One of the funny things is we’re talking a lot together. Vazky just told me all the time, ‘I’m going to hit a homer, I’m going to hit a double,’ and Bogaerts, too. I told them, ‘Next year when I face you guys, I’m going to strike you out,’ so we’ll see how that goes next season.

“But I know I love them and I know they feel happy for me, they feel happy for what I accomplished now and I know they want the best for me and I want the best for them and they go out there and ball, and I strike them out every time I face them.”

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Northern Colorado men’s golf picked No. 3, women picked No. 5 in Big Sky poll

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Northern Colorado men’s golf picked No. 3, women picked No. 5 in Big Sky poll

Both University of Northern Colorado golf teams are expected to finish in the top half of the Big Sky this season, according to the league coaches poll released on Thursday.

The UNC men were picked to finish third out of seven teams, behind Sacramento State (33 points) and Weber State (32), with 27 points. The Hornets and Wildcats each received three first place votes, while the Bears received one.

Northern Colorado’s roster includes senior Jack Castiglia and junior TJ Shehee, both of whom have already earned Big Sky Player of the Week honors in the first half of the season and picked up individual wins.

The UNC women were picked to finish fifth out of 11 teams. They received 63 points and were ranked behind Sac State, Northern Arizona, Idaho and Weber State. Sac State is heavily favored on the women’s side.

Northern Colorado finished second at the Kelsey Chugg Invitational and earned a top 10 finish at the Hobble Creek Fall Classic. Senior Jenna Chun and juniors Amy Chitkoksoong and Abbi Fleiner.

Both programs are led by first-year coach Clayton Sikorski and assistant David Tottori. Previously, the men were coached by Roger Prenzlow, who retired last season. The women were coached by Ben Portie, who left for a job closer to his family.

Sikorski said he believes the men have an opportunity to contend for the Big Sky title this season, while he hopes the women can surprise the rest of the conference and break into the top three.

The men’s team will begin the second half of the season on Feb. 17-19 when it plays at the John Burns Invitations, hosted by the University of Hawaii. This is the first of five tournaments the team will play before the Big Sky Championship is held from April 25-27.

The women will start their spring season at the Pizza Hut Lady Thunderbird Invitational, hosted by Southern Utah, from March 10-12. Their season consists of four tournaments before the league championship on April 18-20.

Both tournaments will be held at Talking Stick Golf Club in Scottsdale, Arizona.


Full Big Sky preseason rankings

Men

1 – Sacramento State2 – Weber State3 – Northern Colorado4 – HartfordT5 – BinghamtonT5 – Idaho7 – Southern Utah

Women

1 – Sacramento State2 – Northern Arizona3 – Idaho4 – Weber State5 – Northern Colorado6 – Southern Utah7 – Idaho State8 – Portland State9 – Eastern Washington10 – Montana State11 – Montana

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Adam Thielen’s foundation to provide grant for new Humboldt fitness center

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Adam Thielen’s foundation to provide grant for new Humboldt fitness center

The Thielen Foundation, headed up by Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen, took a keen interest in the Harding-Humboldt football co-op that formed last year in St. Paul. The foundation reached out to head coach Otto Kraus, now the athletic director at Harding, because it knew of the increased costs that come with forming a new co-op, from uniforms to equipment.

The foundation also informed Kraus it was looking for an athletic facility it could help improve in the city.

Kraus suggested Humboldt’s fitness center.

“Because we are in desperate need of updating this facility,” Humboldt athletic director Matthew Osborne said at this week’s board of education meeting, “and they are prepared to come through with a grant to help us do that.”

The meeting agenda said the fitness center “has been deteriorating for the past couple of decades without any maintenance or new equipment for students and athletes.” It was not included in the district’s new five-year facility plan.

The Thielen Foundation will donate up to $75,000 to the reconstruction and renovation of the fitness center to stock it with “modern fitness training equipment, in addition to adding new flooring, paint, flat screen television, and a new sound system.”

The project is slated to be completed this spring.

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Smartmatic voting company sues Mike Lindell and MyPillow over election claims

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Smartmatic voting company sues Mike Lindell and MyPillow over election claims

“Crazy like a fox. Mike Lindell knows exactly what he is doing, and it is dangerous.”

Those are the first words of a federal defamation lawsuit filed this week in Minneapolis against Lindell and his Minnesota company, MyPillow, by Smartmatic, a voting technology company Lindell has often targeted with false conspiracy theories around the 2020 presidential election.

The lawsuit is similar to a $1.3 billion suit filed last year by Dominion Voting Systems against Lindell, who has continued to promote or stand by his claims that the election was “stolen” from former President Donald Trump without credible evidence and often after the claims have been disproven or discredited by fellow Republicans or courts.

Those falsehoods, spread across the internet, have taken root in some quarters of the Republican Party, and according to the lawsuit, they’ve damaged the reputation and actual value of Smartmatic, an international elections company that saw its value plummet from $3 billion to $1 billion. The complaint doesn’t provide specifics, but suggests that Smartmatic is losing out on government elections contracts as a result of Lindell’s repeated statements, which it states are demonstrably false.

In its own words, Smartmatic, which was founded in Florida following the notorious failings of punch-card ballots in the 2000 presidential election there, played a “small, non-controversial role” in the 2020 general election, the complaint, filed Tuesday, states. While the company has operated in more than 25 countries, its only involvement in the U.S. general election of 2020 was in Los Angeles County, Calif.

The lawsuit alleges Lindell knows his claims are false — a potentially important claim in a court case — although it doesn’t appear to present any direct evidence. Like the Dominion suit, Smartmatic accuses Lindell of peddling his theories for money.

LINDELL RESPONDS

Lindell, who was banned from Twitter a year ago for his baseless election claims, has suggested, among other notions, that Smartmatic machines were hacked by China to change voting results in every state.

He has not provided credible evidence, although he insists he has.

Lindell’s pugnaciousness is well-know among those who have followed the man, a 60-year-old Mankato native who recovered from gambling and cocaine addictions and founded MyPillow in 2004, earning the moniker “the MyPillow guy.”

In a telephone interview Thursday with the Pioneer Press, Lindell stood by his claims and said he welcomed the lawsuit. He criticized this reporter, the Pioneer Press, a number of Republicans who have debunked various elements of what has become known as “the big lie,” and judges who has reviewed election claims (“not one judge has ever looked at the facts”). No judge has concluded that any state’s election results were inaccurate.

Lindell said that Trump won Minnesota by 65,000 votes, when in fact he lost by 233,012, and said that Minnesota needed to switch to paper ballots.

When this reporter informed him that every Minnesota ballot is paper, he responded: “You are dead wrong. They’re all machines. How naïve are you?”

Lindell’s legal sagas could have impacts in Minnesota politics.

Lindell, a Trump loyalist, has toyed with the idea of running for Minnesota governor, but on Thursday reiterated that he no longer plans to.

MyPillow’s general counsel, Doug Wardlow, is seeking the Republican nomination to run for state attorney general in hopes or a rematch against Democrat Keith Ellison, who defeated Wardlow in 2018.

Lindell said Wardlow had no involvement in his election-related claims, and pointed the Pioneer Press to a different law firm that has handled his other cases, according to court records. Attempts to reach them were unsuccessful, and Wardlow couldn’t be reached for comment Thursday.

SUIT: LINDELL IN IT FOR MONEY

Lindell’s claims have led to several lawsuits. After Dominion sued him, he sued Dominion and Smartmatic, for $1.6 billion, claiming they were the ones defaming him. Smarmatic has also sued Sydney Powell, a former member of Trump’s legal team.

Smartmatic’s suit filed this week against Lindell seeks both compensatory and punitive damages.

Beyond that, it seeks to repudiate Lindell, demanding he be required to “fully and completely” retract his “false statements,” which the suit alleges are part of a “brilliant” scheme to make money.”

The lawsuit states:

“Mr. Lindell knows Joe Biden and Kamala Harris won the 2020 election for President and Vice President of the United States. He knows the election was not rigged, fixed, or stolen. He knows voting machines did not switch votes from former President Trump to now President Biden. These facts do not matter to Mr. Lindell because he knows he can sell. Mr. Lindell knows he can sell xenophobia. He knows he can sell conspiracy theory. He knows he can sell a preconceived story about voting machines stealing democracy by stealing votes from a president who is incredibly popular with millions of Americans. And, of course, Mr. Lindell — “the MyPillow Guy” — knows he needs to sell pillows to keep and increase his fortune. …

“But enough is enough. The country will sleep better at night knowing the judicial system holds people like Mr. Lindell accountable for spreading disinformation that deceives and harms others.”

READ THE COMPLAINT

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