Losing, in Minnesota, is a verb that has been practiced to dramatic perfection by its professional athletic teams. One could say we’ve mastered the art of failure, or not winning- ahhh yes, perhaps “not winning” is the phrase better suited for the Vikings and Twins. They’re undoubtedly losers, and more importantly than anything they are not winners.
This past Sunday, the Vikings could have let the Detroit Lions blow them out to the tune of a shutout and a charged up score, had not Trae Waynes and the Vikings secondary held off the likes of the Lions mania-driven receiving core. Had the score been 32 – 0, I would bequeath the title of “loser” upon the Viking core, however, in true Minnesota fashion, Jerick McKinnon decided to conjure the lost spirit of Adrian Peterson- which is clearly not even present within Adrian Peterson- and fumble the ball hard into the hands of a team not named the Vikings. Adam Thielen followed suit, and alas here is where the Minnesota plays hard with this scenario: Dalvin Cook, the Vikings #1 RB, makes a break and upon stabbing his foot into the ground, to juke a defenseman, tears his ACL and subsequently fumbles the ball.
In one fell swoop, Cook turned over the ball and ended his season. Onward, the Vikings lose by a reachable 7 points, thusly yanking the heartstrings of nearly every fan North of the Midwest Wall.
At this point, I like to use the term “surprised, not shocked” because his is what we do… this is how Minnesota loses. That’s how it’s been… and that’s how it’s going to be.
48 hours later, the Pohlad Pocket Protectors, also known as a AAA Farm League Baseball Team disguised as a professional baseball team called “Minnesota Twins”, shouted across the bar and said, “Hold. My. Beer.”
There is a Beyond The Glory of the Twins post- 1991 that I’ll get into another time, however the extent of it can be wrapped up into Tuesday night’s game they successfully botched against the Yankees. Out of the gates, the Twins score 3 runs and presumably vie to hold a lead… until the Yanks came back and put 3 up on the board in the same inning.
And just like that, the Twins go from hot-starts to non-winners in less than an inning, because that’s the way this is going to be… and has always been.
Deep in the 5th, the score remain 7-4, Yankees up. I dropped by a bar with a friend to watch the public execution, because well- when are the Twins going to be in the semi-playoffs again? Sitting down, I recall ’87 and then ’91. My grandfather, grandmother, and mother would sit on the edge of the lay-z-boys and couch at the sight of Kirby Puckett up to bat. Alas, watching it now, it’s some guy (Dozier) with a grizzled 7 o’clock shadow with a decent slugging avg. at bat who is now our Obi Wan. It’s not a sadness that creeps in, it’s more an acceptance that things will never be the way they were. The Twins may never be winners again.
Had they never been in the game and not put up the 3 points in the 1st, well- that just wouldn’t be the Minnesota way. The Twins had to go up on the Yanks to lose like a true Minnesota team. The Minnesota team has to give you the impression that they just might do it… like a conman or a liar or a contractor. And as Mauer pulls in more money than the Wilfs in one season, he again rolls over in the luxurious bed he created from farce leg weakness, mystery injuries, and the staunch supreme idiocy of the Pohlads.
Alas, the Yankees ride again. Mauer goes home to his bazillion-dollar-Bruce-Wayne-HQ-log cabin somewhere in the Twin Cities Metro Area to ice whatever aching muscles he still has, and cash a check that could turn around Minneapolis Public Schools.
If you’re a Minnesotan, or a fan either of these teams, my suggestion is to not wait until Monday when the Vikings possibly s the bed with the Bears. I implore you to revel and relish the Lynx WNBA Finals Championship they won this past Wednesday. The Lynx are our Obi Wan now, y’all. That’s not a consolation or a bad thing. It’s just time to wake up, open your eyes, and start gathering for a back-to-back championship squad for the history books.
I was born in New Orleans, where people hone a superpower to focus on the positive… in any circumstance. Moving to Minnesota, as a kid, and venturing between the two cities, you take note of the polar opposite-ness in this power. It’s time for us to conjure our inner New Orleans and focus on the positive here: The Minnesota Lynx, even though they’re out of season.