Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Wick Fischer
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

An upward trend in MN sports

Wick's World


April 19, 2018

There certainly has been plenty of weather to write about this year. The same goes for politics. At least for today, I can simply change the subject matter to something more pleasant and write about sports. Minnesota sports are not always pleasant to write about. This year is different. At their best, sports can be a major attraction; at their worst, a distraction. For the past year, Minnesota professional sports teams have been very attractive in basketball, baseball, football and hockey. In 2017-18, the Timberwolves, Twins, Vikings and the Wild all made the playoffs. Just a few short years ago, these same teams were perennial bottom-dwellers.

In basketball, the Minnesota Timberwolves continually set records for the wrong reasons. Each season added one more time they failed to make the playoffs. The streak that began in 2003-04 ended this year on the final game of regular season. And in typical Minnesota fashion, we made it exciting to the very end. We beat the overachieving Denver Nuggets in overtime. A lot of the credit goes to the Wolves owner Glen Taylor, who was more than willing to cut loose the purse strings and let the team pull out a wad of dollars to put together a winning franchise. As for Timberwolves Coach Tibbs, I am not a fan for possibly the very reason they were able to make the playoffs this season. I feel he overuses his starters to the extent that they are worn out come playoff time. He needs to use his bench more; especially Burnsville native Tyus Jones.

Ziggy Wilf did the same for the Minnesota Vikings as Glen Taylor did for the Timberwolves. He gave his personal key to Fort Knox to Coach Zimmer and let him fill in the blanks (of which there were many) to build a winning franchise. Last season, the Vikings were one outstanding quarterback away from going to the Super Bowl. And Ziggy has already dealt with that shortage during this off-season. He went out and bought the best quarterback available. Along with that purchase comes this word of warning, and it’s for none other than the devil himself.

“Hell is about to freeze over and the Vikings will win the Super Bowl!”

Another formerly frugal franchise owner from the famous Pohlad family has written a few blank checks the past few years. No longer can the Pohlad family be referred to as parsimonious penny-pinchers. They too have spent a lot of money to lift the Minnesota Twins out of the basement and into the playoffs. Their off-season purchases should be enough to make that next giant leap: beating the New York Yankees. The Twins not only made the playoffs last year, they did it following seasons of 100-plus losses. I have no advice for the Pohlads except maybe you could turn up the heat. Parkas and baseball make for an odd combo.

Our last major professional sport belongs to Minnesota Wild owner Craig Leipold. I neither know the size of his wallet or his willingness to open it. I do know he has taken our hockey team to the playoffs for the last six seasons. However, the team has failed to bring the Stanley Cup to our state. Craig, you still have your work cut out for you.

Of our four major men’s sports, only the Minnesota Twins have yet to bring us a World Series Championship; and they did it twice. Who can ever forget Kent Hrbek’s grand slam, the Jack Morris gem or Kirby Puckett’s catch or his (“We’ll see you tomorrow night”) home run.

If you noticed, I prefaced that last paragraph with the term, four major men’s sports. The Minnesota Lynx professional women’s basketball team has brought four World Championships to our state. For the Lynx, it’s always been an every other year thing. We were the champs in 2011, 2013, 2015 and 2017. Our congratulations go out to the Lynx and their male counterparts the Timberwolves, the Twins, the Vikings and the Wild for making Minnesota winners.


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