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Picture this: Prince taking the stage at U.S. Bank Stadium in his hometown of Minneapolis for the 2018 Super Bowl to a dazzling display of purple lights Authentic Geron Christian Jersey , wowing the crowd at halftime with his frenzied guitar work, soulful singing and slick dance moves.

Perfect marketing, a die-hard fan’s dream. But it won’t happen.

Prince’s death from an accidental painkiller overdose in 2016 leaves fans to only imagine how the megastar might have topped his electrifying performance in pouring rain at the Super Bowl 11 years ago in Miami.

”People joke, `Can we just have a Prince hologram?”’ said Mike Howard, spokesman for the Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee. Justin Timberlake is the halftime performer for Sunday’s game.

At a press conference Thursday, Timberlake said Prince was a big influence.

”In my opinion, the greatest all-around musician in popular culture,” Timberlake said. ”The time I got to spend around him, with him, talking about music . those are memories that I’ll take with me forever.”

But the sights and sounds of Prince still surround the big game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the New England Patriots. There’s the mural of Prince with a white dove in the Uptown neighborhood, his gold star outside Minneapolis’ First Avenue nightclub, or Paisley Park, his recording complex-turned-museum in Chanhassen, about 20 miles (32 kilometers) southwest of Minneapolis.

”Prince is not here in being Miles Killebrew Jersey , but he’s here in spirit,” said music producer Jimmy Jam, who along with his producing partner Terry Lewis went heavy on Minnesota musical acts for Super Bowl Live , a free, 10-day fan festival on Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis. Jam said he hears Prince music ”on every NFL telecast and highlight on all the networks.”

Jam said Prince ”is so associated with this state and with this city that his presence is definitely felt.”

Thousands packed downtown for Monday’s ”Prince Night” concert, featuring Sheila E., Morris Day and The Time, and Prince’s 1980s band The Revolution.

Fans also are getting a firsthand look at Prince’s guitars, costumes, hats and shoes on loan from Paisley Park at an exhibit as part of Super Bowl Live.

”He was magic. I think that people in Minnesota didn’t realize exactly how big he was probably until after his death, because he was our hometown guy,” Jeanette Blasewitz, 66, of Eden Prairie said while checking out the displays.

Sunday’s game marks the anniversary of Prince’s appearance at the 2007 Super Bowl that saw the Indianapolis Colts beat the Chicago Bears. Many called the show the best Super Bowl halftime ever.

Dressed in turquoise jacket and pants with an orange shirt Randall Cobb Jersey , Prince gave a blistering rendition of his own hits, such as ”Let’s Go Crazy,” followed by covers of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s ”Proud Mary,” Bob Dylan’s ”All Along the Watchtower” and the Foo Fighters’ ”Best of You” before finishing with ”Purple Rain” in a driving rainstorm.

Morris Hayes, 55, was a keyboardist for Prince’s former band New Power Generation and was on stage that night. He remembers organizers approaching Prince before the Super Bowl with the forecast of rain and offering to pre-record his performance. Hayes said that prompted Prince’s famous response: Can you make it rain harder?

”The fact that it did rain when it did and how (Prince) did `Purple Rain’ in the rain, you can’t beat that. … It was magical, you know,” Hayes recalled.

Fan Melisa Rokala, 46, of Cokato explains Prince’s appeal to Minnesota residents.

”As a Minnesotan, we love our own. And we love it when our own people love us here,” Rokala said. ”He loved Minnesota. It was always his home. And his music was groundbreaking.”

She believes Prince – who once wrote a song for the Minnesota Vikings – would have been involved in a Minneapolis Super Bowl, perhaps again as the halftime performer T.J. Jones Jersey , if he was still alive.




LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Dodgers are hoping that a well-rested and inspired rookie pitcher will lead them to success in Sunday’s series finale against the San Francisco Giants.

Left-hander Caleb Ferguson will make his third career start, pitching opposite Giants right-hander Chris Stratton, but it will be his first outing where he will get a minute to catch his breath and ease into his surroundings.

Before his major league debut on June 6, and his follow-up effort Tuesday, Ferguson had to scramble to catch a flight and then take the mound for the Dodgers. This time around, Ferguson has done all of his between-start routine with the major league club, and even got a bonus assignment this week.

Ferguson was able to get an up-close-and-personal look at Clayton Kershaw’s most recent rehab bullpen session. It was a multi-pronged effort to not only let Ferguson watch a pitcher he looks up to, but to get an in-depth view at one of the hardest workers in the game.

“Even for Caleb to sit in on Clayton’s pen (Friday) and to sit in on Rich (Hill’s on Saturday) and not have to fly in make a start then fly out and come back in, he will get to assimilate with our guys,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “I think there is a benefit to that.”

Ferguson (0-0, 9.53) lasted just 1 2/3 innings of his debut at Pittsburgh and then went four innings Tuesday against the Rangers. He has given up a combined six runs, but the Dodgers offense has scored a combined 21 runs in his two outings so at least he is getting elite run support.

Stratton (7-4, 4.56) has allowed three runs or fewer in each of his last four starts, but he is facing a Dodgers lineup that has hit 34 home runs in June alone. The right-hander will have to face a trio of left-handed hitters in Max Muncy Authentic Troy Apke Jersey , Cody Bellinger and Joc Pederson who have been productive of late.

He figures to be up for the challenge after guiding the Giants to a 10-4 record in his starts this season. In his outing Tuesday at Miami, Stratton was just the second Giants pitcher since May 6 to last at least seven innings, but he still took the loss in a 3-1 defeat. It was his sixth quality start of the season.

The Giants are currently 3-6 on a three-city road trip that ends Sunday. And while a return home is ahead, better health could be coming soon, although third baseman Evan Longoria figures to be out at least a month with a fractured left hand.

First baseman Brandon Belt was activated Saturday, while pitchers Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija could be back soon.

“Our biggest issue has been trying to stay healthy,” manager Bruce Bochy said, according to mlb.com.

Madison Bumgarner made his third start since coming off the disabled list Saturday and allowed three runs on five hits in six innings of a 3-1 loss. It marked the 11th straight time in Los Angeles the Giants scored two runs or less, according to STATS Inc.

Matt Kemp and Enrique Hernandez homered for the Dodgers — who will go for the series sweep on Sunday — while Alex Wood allowed a run on four hits in 5 2/3 innings.
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