The Lynx provided hardware in these parts with four WNBA titles during the Maya Moore era that lasted from 2011 to 2018. The WNBA is a 12-team league with a current 36-game schedule that’s not played in basketball’s traditional season.
Minnesota United FC, also known as the Loons, draws large crowds to Allianz Field in St. Paul’s Midway area. In earnest hope for a home victory so that they can sing a postgame tune from a disassembled English rock band, wide-eyed youth will occasionally ask a nearby fan, “Are we ahead?”
An online search for 2022 international rankings in domestic football leagues revealed Major League Soccer as No. 12, narrowly trailing Turkey.
The desire to clasp onto those Lynx titles to refute mentions of Minnesota’s extreme drought in major pro championships (1991 World Series), or to say “Don’t forget the Loons,” when mentioning our big-league men’s teams …
Yes, it’s understandable to try to modify the landscape, since the four that determine whether you’re a full-service major league metropolis or not continue to disappoint us so.
The Vikings are kings, by a larger margin than ever as baseball continues its slide. I’d still put the Twins in the battle for distant second with the Wild, and the Timberwolves fourth, although gaining for a couple of hours there in April.
What they all have developed in this first quarter of the 21st century is the ability to make the taxpaying, stadium-building sports fans of Minnesota cringe at what is being offered in their biggest moments.
There now has been a double whammy from the boys of winter/spring, the Wolves and Wild, that started on April 21 in Target Center and ended precisely three weeks later on Thursday night in St. Louis.
The issue here is not hard-fought battles lost between two teams playing with full resolve.
I’ve never considered the Vikings’ upset overtime loss to Atlanta in the January 1999 NFC title game as an embarrassment — just one that got away against a visiting team that played great.
That was not the case with the Wolves in April. Never before had an NBA team lost more than once in a series when it had a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter. The Wolves did it three times.
The first of those was the aforementioned game of April 21, Game 3 at Target Center, when they led by 26 points in the first half, let it slip to single digits, then pushed it back to 25 in the third quarter.
In a long life of sports watching, I’ve never seen the like of it.
Star Karl-Anthony Towns was a negative factor in three of the six games; D’Angelo Russell, the $30 million point guard, was worse than that, going five of six.
The only excuse to be made for the Wolves was they were underdogs to Memphis and Ja Morant.
The Wild were made -150 (3-to-2) favorites over St. Louis in sportsbooks. They led the series 2-1. The Blues were playing Game 4 at home, but with four defensemen injured as the game was being decided.
The Wild lost that one. The Wild had Game 5 at home, gave up the last four goals — three in the third by Vladimir Tarasenko — and lost 5-2.
Did Dean Evason’s club respond with a fiery last stand? Not close. Blues 5-1.
I received this view from a Twitter regular on Friday: “Wild quit in games. The Wolves just played stupidly.”
The original thought was this no-show problem started in January 2001, with the Vikings’ 41-0 loss vs. the New York Giants in the NFC title game.
On further review:
The upstart 2002 Twins upset the Oakland A’s in a division series and ruined the end of “Moneyball.” The amazing 2003 Wild made an upset run to the Western Conference finals. The 2004 Timberwolves did the same, following the fanatical lead of Kevin Garnett through a gut-twisting second-round series vs. Sacramento.
So, the trend started in 2005. Since then, what do we have from our men’s majors?
One moment that still shines: Brett Favre trying to fight the Vikings into the 2010 Super Bowl.
The Minneapolis Miracle in January 2018? Nope — not when it was followed by a grotesque no-show at Philadelphia in the NFC title game.
An all-sport record of 18 consecutive postseason losses by the Twins, from Game 2 in a Division Series in 2004. A third all-time NBA streak of 13 consecutive years (2005-2017) for not reaching the postseason from the Wolves.
And now the Wild, ignominiously out without winning a series for the sixth time in a row — coming up two series shy of the half-as-talented but relentless outfit led by the incomparable Jacques Lemaire in 2003.
Timberwolves and Wild, spring 2022. They can be remembered as our Bashed Brothers.