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Duffey pitching well after nervous Twins debut

Tue, 09/01/2015 - 12:00pm
The righthanded starter has progressed beyond a jarring big-league debut with the Twins.

9 of 10 seabirds have glow sticks, lighters, other plastics in their guts

Tue, 09/01/2015 - 12:00pm
As many as nine out of 10 of the world's seabirds likely have pieces of plastic in their guts, a new study estimates.

Foreign spies use hacked data to identify U.S. intelligence agents

Tue, 09/01/2015 - 12:00pm
Spy services, especially in China and Russia, are aggregating and cross-indexing hacked U.S. computer databases — including security clearance applications, airline records and medical insurance forms — to identify U.S. intelligence officers and agents, U.S. officials said.

As Postal Service cuts back, mail delivery gets slower

Tue, 09/01/2015 - 12:00pm
Amid a significant downsizing of the money-strapped U.S. Postal Service, the number of letters arriving late has jumped by almost 50 percent since the start of the year.

Friday night lights smile on Staples-Motley after 39 losses

Tue, 09/01/2015 - 11:00am
“We were the proudest oh-and-39 team you ever met,” says principal Mike Schmidt. But it does feel good to win.

Zimbabwe's first lady: 'Dentist who killed the lion must be left alone'

Tue, 09/01/2015 - 10:40am
Grace Mugabe holds no official post with the government, leaving it uncertain whether her view of Cecil’s death would hold sway with her nation’s legal authorities.

Grim details revealed in Texas deputy's slaying

Tue, 09/01/2015 - 10:00am
The suspect emptied his 15-round handgun into the deputy’s back and the back of the his head, as witnesses watched in horror and surveillance cameras captured the shooting, prosecutors said Monday.

Bill Cooper to step down as TCF CEO; Craig Dahl to succeed him

Tue, 09/01/2015 - 10:00am
Over three decades, Bill Cooper built Twin City Federal, as it was known then, into a much larger firm with nearly $20 billion in assets and about 400 branches in seven states.

Robinson placed on PUP list, Bykowski could go to IR, and Sullivan sits out yet again

Tue, 09/01/2015 - 9:40am
The Vikings have placed cornerback Joe Robinson on the reserve PUP list. Under this injury designation, Robinson will not count against the team’s roster. He is eligible to return as early as Week 7. At that point, the Vikings have a five-week window in which Robinson can return to practice. Once he practices, the Vikings have three weeks to add him to the active roster. Robinson started training camp on the PUP list after partially tearing a pectoral muscle during spring workouts. He has not practiced since. This move, which was expected, got the team’s roster down to 77 men. Waiving offensive tackle Carter Bykowski, who tore his pectoral in the second preseason game, with an injured designation got the Vikings to 76. If he clears waivers, he will revert to injured reserve. They must make one more cut or roster move to get to 75 by tomorrow. Quarterback Mike Kafka was not practicing this afternoon. Instead, he stood and watched the three other quarterbacks go through position drills. Tight end Chase Ford was there for the team stretch at the start of practice then disappeared and was not spotted again during the media access period. Also sitting out practice at Winter Park today were starting center John Sullivan, nose tackle Shamar Stephen and outside linebacker Brian Peters. It has now been 12 days, six practices and two preseason games since we last saw Sullivan, who is dealing with back spasms, according to the team. The Vikings have downplayed Sullivan’s injury and absences, but the fact that he still remains sidelined seems like a reasonable cause for concern. In other injury news, rookie tight end MyCole Pruitt, who has missed the last two preseason games with an ankle injury, has returned to practice.

Info: Wild single-game tickets, open scrimmage, prospect tournament

Tue, 09/01/2015 - 9:00am
If you come on down to the X, you'll have a chance to watch practice or a scrimmage when the Wild put individual tickets on sale for this season on Sept. 19.

Supremacist convicted of killing 3 at Kansas Jewish sites

Tue, 09/01/2015 - 8:20am
The man who admitted killing three people at two suburban Kansas City Jewish sites gave jurors a Nazi salute Monday after they convicted him of murder and other charges for the shootings, which he said would allow him to "die a martyr."

Their cheating Muppet hearts: The story behind the Kermit-Miss Piggy split

Tue, 09/01/2015 - 8:00am
Among the profiles uncovered on the Ashley Madison website were those of the well-known swine and her green significant other.

'Pollinator Pledge' kicks off in St. Croix River watershed

Tue, 09/01/2015 - 7:40am
Effort to restore habitat now has 71 groups volunteering to help.

Beaten toddler dies; mom's boyfriend charged with murder

Tue, 09/01/2015 - 7:40am
Three-year-old Dante Sears was taken off life support “and was able to be a hero to two other children through organ donation,” said a friend of the Pine County family.

Man pleads guilty to stalking Current radio DJ Mary Lucia

Mon, 08/31/2015 - 10:00pm
A 56-year-old Eden Prairie man pleaded guilty Monday to stalking the Current radio DJ Mary Lucia.

Bedlam Lowertown needs $400,000 by end of year to stay alive

Mon, 08/31/2015 - 9:40pm
St. Paul theater/club needs $400,000 by end of year to stay in business.

Inside the making of Miley Cyrus' surprise free album

Mon, 08/31/2015 - 9:20pm
She says “Dead Petz,” released Sunday night online, is meant as a “gift,” not as an act of rebellion.

Security lapse allows 2 snoops to peek at driver's license data of 18 Minnesotans

Mon, 08/31/2015 - 9:20pm
A weekslong Web security lapse allowed two people to access 18 others’ data.

Obama offended by attacks on Jews who back Iran deal

Mon, 08/31/2015 - 9:20pm
President Barack Obama said people who attack Jews who support the Iran nuclear deal are like African-Americans who differ with him on policy and then conclude he's "not black enough."

With bi-weekly no-hitters in MLB, does anyone still care?

Mon, 08/31/2015 - 9:00pm
A no-hit bid in Major League Baseball, as recently as a decade ago, was a “drop what you’re doing” occasion for baseball fans — and the completion of a no-hitter was major news. These days, the former is still somewhat true, particularly as social media speeds news of such a thing to more people — though I wouldn’t say it’s a “drop everything” moment. The latter? No-hitters register a ripple on the surprise meter instead of a spike. At the Star Tribune, it’s usually not even fodder for the cover of the sports section (as was the case with Monday’s paper, when the Cubs’ Jake Arrieta’s Sunday no-no didn’t crack the cover). The simplest reason: no-hitters seem to happen a lot more often, and in reality they ARE happening more often. Arrieta’s no-hitter was the 6th one this season, all since June. We’re on an every-other-week schedule with no-hitters over the past few months, turning them from exceptional acts into relatively routine occurrences. There have already been 30 no-hitters from 2010-present after there were only 15 in the entire last decade. Historically, there is an ebb and flow — there were 31 in the 1990s but just 13 in the 1980s — but we are at an unusually high peak right now at five per season so far this decade, as illustrated by this graphic of no-hitters by decade since 1920, the start of the Live Ball Era: There are some mitigating circumstances within that chart, with the biggest being that there used to be far fewer games played (the 1920s, 1930s, 1940s and 1950s were played with 16 teams and a 154-game schedule, meaning there were roughly half as many games as there are today). The 1960s offer the only real comparison to this decade in terms of no-hitter frequency, with 34 no-hitters in about two-thirds the number of games played per year as now (putting that decade on pace for about five per season instead of 3.4 in an equal number of games). The 1960s brought a dramatic change when the mound was lowered after the 1968 season because pitchers were so dominant. The 2010s are a similarly dominant era for pitchers, brought about by different factors: *The end of the Steroid Era, generally agreed to have happened around the late 2000s, brought offensive numbers down. Juiced up pitchers were certainly part of that era, too, but hitters arguably reaped the greater benefit. *Pitchers are nastier. While it’s hard to quantify whether sliders, cutters and other breaking pitches are getting better, the eye test seems to suggest it. What’s not hard to quantify is that pitchers are throwing harder. Thanks to PITCHf/x data, we know that hurlers averaged 89.9 mph on fastballs in 2002, 90.9 mph in 2008 and 92.0 in 2013. *Batters are not afraid of striking out. There are way more strikeouts then their used to be. Some of it is because, as noted, pitchers are nastier. Some of it, though, is that batters are no longer faced with a stigma of being strikeout-prone. On-base percentage and slugging percentage are valued more than batting average and putting the ball in play. Consider: In 2005, MLB teams struck out an average of 1,021 times a season. In 2014, that number was 1,248. Fewer balls in play means fewer chances for a flare to the outfield or an infield single that stymies a no-hit bid before it starts. *This is just a guess, but I also have to imagine defensive shifts have played a role in all of this. Better scouting about where batters are getting their hits — and positioning defensive players in non-traditional spots to eliminate those hits — would seem to increase the odds of a no-hitter. All of that is the “why.” The gist of the original question was, “Are they still special?” To that, I would say: no-hitters still resonate with fans, but not in the same way they used to. Watching the end of one is still good theater, but the accomplishment itself has certainly lost its “wow” factor.