When Hope Dies For Sports Fans

July 1, 2011

Sports arguments are a big part of life at Fast Horse. Over the last year, as the Timberwolves, Vikings, Wild,  Twins and Gophers have struggled, we’ve expended a fair amount of hot air on when to “call” the season. In other words, when have things progressed past the point of no return?

Last year, for example, hope died hard for the Vikings. Things were looking pretty grim after 10 weeks, when the team was 3-7. But then they reeled off two straight wins, and all of a sudden we were debating whether they could finish 8-8 and sneak into the playoffs. Successive trouncings by the Giants and Bears, by a combined score of 61-17, snuffed out that candle on the way to a 6-10 finish.

This year, hope was high for the Twins. On Opening Day, we went around the room and made our predictions for the season. The consensus view was for 91 to 93 wins (I think I said 95) and a Central Division crown. As we all know, however, last year’s Target Field heroes quickly rang up the worst record in baseball through the first two months of the season. As my colleague Bob Ingrassia pointed out in a recent, widely read Peepshow post, we’re in the midst of the worst era ever for Minnesota sporting success.

I guess that was weighing on me. Normally a sports optimist, especially regarding the Twins, I waited barely two weeks before washing my hands of this season (see Twitter evidence above, after the team’s 4-10 start). The Twins put a scare into me with their 15-3 June run, then made my call look less premature with a 1-5 West Coast roadie and a 15-0 loss at home to the Dodgers.

I’ll be honest: Part of me wants to take back that tweet. I go all the way back to the ’65 World Series with this team, and of course I hope they find a way to pull it out. But right now, I still wouldn’t be putting any money on it.

What do you think?