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What would Minnesota be like without the Twins and Vikings?

By Staff | Oct 12, 2009

First, a clarification. This column was written on Wednesday of this past week, after the Twins defeated the Tigers, but before they faced the Yankees.

Second, if you are not into Minnesota sports teams, you can skip this week’s column.

Third, I am a fan of Minnesota sports. I became one shortly after moving to this beautiful state in 1968.

It didn’t take me long to become a Vikings fan. Attending Bethany Lutheran College in Mankato, it seemed half of the students were from Minnesota, and the other half were from Wisconsin and thus were avid Packers fans.

I had to choose between them. I went with Fran Tarkenton and the purple people eating defense.

It took a little longer to become a Twins fan, but not much. It was quite a while before I added the North Stars (now Wild) and even the Timberwolves.

I’ve paid my dues as a Minnesota sports fan. It isn’t an easy hobby.

I’ve been to more Twins games than I can remember. Both at the Metrodome and Met Stadium. Ditto for the Vikings, at both locales.

I was at the last Vikes game in Met Stadium — and the first one in the Dome.

I also made it to at least one playoff game and one World Series game in both 1987 and 1991.

But I have also watched the Vikings lose four Super Bowls, and I suffered through the Les Steckel year. I’ve gone to Twins games when they lost and lost big.

I’ve been in the stadium when the Vikes hosted the Packers, and there were more Packer fans around me than Vikings fans. It is a bad situation, because a lot of the Packer fans are loud and want to pick a fight with the nearest person in purple.

And many of those times the quarterback was Bret Favre. I’ve seen the Vikings lose, and I’ve seen them make the other team look like super stars.

All of this information is to try and explain the range of emotions that have been going on this past week.

I watched (on TV, that is) the Twins win on Saturday and Sunday and set up a one game playoff on Tuesday.

Now, like most Minnesota fans, I believed the Twins could do it – but I also believe bad luck will befall us simply because we are from Minnesota.

In other words, I wanted to believe the Twins could overcome a seven game deficit, but I wouldn’t have bet the family farm on it.

Likewise, on Tuesday night, I thought they could do it, but still I was amazed when they came back from a 3-1 deficit, then went ahead.

And when some astounding things happened in the extra innings — like an extraordinary double play to get out of an inning when the bases were loaded — I felt they were destined to win.

Likewise, when they failed to score as the runner was thrown out at home, my premonition turned to one of feeling they had blown their one chance to put the game away.

Then they did it.

What a roller coaster ride of a game. And what a fun one to watch.

Likewise the Monday night football game between the Vikes and the Pack. It was certainly hyped by the media, and for a change it lived up to the hype.

What a game that was. Although it kept looking like this former Packer and his new team were going to blow the Wisconsin team right off the field, they kept right in it to the end.

That makes two games in a row that have been sensational.

Suddenly I don’t hear anyone questioning why the Vikings signed this 40-year-old quarterback out of retirement. If he is washed up, we should all be that bad off.

Over the years it has sometimes been a struggle to watch my Minnesota teams. But other times have been a thrill.

I guess the thrill is back.

I wonder if anyone else has that deja vu feeling I have been getting?

Doesn’t this Twins team remind you of the days of Puckett, Hrbek, and crew? They are a bunch of talented players who all seem to step up at different times. A new hero each game.

There are also a lot of similarities between this current Vikings team and the ones of the ‘old days’ when they went to the big game.

A strong defense, anchored by the Williamses and Jared Allen and others. They are the new purple people eaters. I think you could make a comparison between Fran Tarkenton and Bret Favre as well.

At least as far as each of them having a tremendous passion for the game, and a never-say-quit attitude.

The two teams sure made for a fun week of watching sports on TV. What better way to spend a wet and cold week?