A month ago things were looking so promising.
The Timberwolves were about to win Game 1 against the Memphis Grizzlies and the Minnesota Wild were heading for the No. 2 spots in the Central Division. Playoff
Fast-forward a month and not only were the Wolves dumped out in demoralizing fashion – giving up multiple double-digit point leads to the Grizzlies – but the Wild have fallen at the first hurdle despite having home ice advantage over the St. Louis Blues.
Ok, nobody was expecting too much from the Timberwolves given they made huge strides this year, but the Wild’s exit was particularly egregious. I guess the only surprising thing about their exit is that we were surprised.
While there are some – probably happier – Minnesota fans who adopt the “get behind the team, there’s always next year” attitude, you can’t fault anyone who doesn’t for being pissed right now.
Fans aren’t asking for the Earth. They’re not demanding a Super Bowl or a World Series or an NBA Championship or a Stanley Cup. At this point it would just be nice to be part of the conversation.
A decent run. That’s all we’re asking (for now). No first round exits. Just a run to maybe a divisional championship game, hey maybe even a final if it’s not too much to ask.
The Vikings have come the closest to bringing us the joy we crave, getting to NFC Championship games in 2009 and 2018, creating some memorable moments along the way.
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But it feels like a short return from Minnesota’s men’s teams since the early 2000s. It’s particularly galling when the likes of the Kansas City Royals have won a World Series, the Cincinnati Bengals have made a Super Bowl, the Milwaukee Bucks have won an NBA Championship, and Stanley Cups have for the past two years been delivered to the Mecca hockey that is Tampa.
The depressing thing is that it feels like Minnesota teams have to go further than others to reach such a level, having to overcome the increasingly cumbersome weight of playoff history working against them.
They do not just have to beat the team in front of them, they have to beat the burden of history.
Take the Minnesota Twins. They’ve started the MLB season hot. Their young lineup is starting to take shape, and their pitching has – for once – been passable.
But take a look at the standings and see who is top of the AL East. Yep, the Yankees, and they’re in ominous form.
Any route the Twins have to the World Series would likely have to go through New York, and this is a team that’s 0-18 in the postseason since 2004, with the Yankees responsible for many of those losses.
Are we saying we should not hope? Yikes, no. What are sports without fans’ stubborn unwillingness to look facts in the face. It’s the hope that makes it, but it’s also the hope that kills you.
What we’re saying is that you can vent. Vent away. Rail against the sporting gods. Shake your fist to the sky and ask why, why do we keep having to go through this. Can’t we just, for once, catch a frickin ‘break.