Thursday, June 24, 2010

Who are the sports friends in Minnesota?

I had about a bajillion ideas for a post today, but this is the one I settled on. I had all these ideas that were so negative, but one of those negative ideas leads back to the one I went with today. I had been noticing a trend among local teams that I will probably get into later, but I recognized that the teams probably aren't working in conjunction with each other But what teams DO get along? How do teams feel about the other home town teams? I'm going to go in descending order of how well the teams coexist.
Let's start with the obvious buddies. I think the Timberwolves and Twins are going to get along famously. Their arenas are right next door, so the success of one will likely call attention to the success of the other. I've already seen Crunch standing outside the Target Center after Twins games are over. Long the outcast of Minnesota sports, the Timberwolves will benefit from the success of the Twins. The Twins would be wise to return the adulation. Just look at Cleveland, where the Cavaliers and Indians play right next door. When the Indians were successful, they didn't do much for the Cavs, and now the Indians are in the tank and haven't been able to get any help from the Lebron James fueled popularity across the street.
The Wild and Twins are also buddies. Twins players and personnel have encouraged the team to drop the puck on multiple occasions at XCel. Heck, the Twins even borrowed the Wild's idea for logo design. These two teams definitely share a good deal of mutual respect, but I'm not sure coexisting is the right word. They enjoy each other, as is often the case with northern baseball teams and their hockey counterparts.
The Wild and Timberwolves are apples and oranges. They play at the same time of year, but they don't really share a similar fan base. The demographic is just completely different. If the Wild are going to help a fledgling Minnesota franchise, it will be lacrosse's Swarm, and if the Wolves will, it will be the WNBA Lynx. I think the Wild and Wolves share a mutual ambivalence.
The Vikings are a different story. They are all business, just like every other team in the NFL. This isn't about the Vikings, this is more about the NFL when I say, the Vikings don't like the Wolves, they don't like the Wild and the Wolves and Wild return the disdain. Oh, sure, you may see Crunch at a Vikings game or something, but truly, the Vikings see the Wolves as competition, just like the Wild. The Wolves need all the help they can get in terms of publicity though so they are more willing to suck up to the Vikes. If it were up to the NFL, however, the NBA and NHL would shrivel and die. Until February, at least.
The Twins and Vikings probably have the most contentious relationship. It all comes back to the stadium issue. The Twins were playing in a football stadium and are owned by Minnesota owners. The Minnesota Gophers were a state run institution that could use their football money to bolster their facilities and reduce the necessary taxpayer contributions to that school. The Vikings are owned by out of state owners and playing a in a stadium designed for football and doesn't cost a thing to the taxpayer. The Vikings have always been the lowest priority for a new stadium, and now we are in a recession. Somehow, this is the Twins' fault, and the Vikings organization openly resents the Twins. Remember last years game 163? The Vikings and Twins have long had an understanding that the Twins post season took precedence at the Dome, but this time, Zygi Wilf refused to move a game against the Pakcers, and forced the Twins into an awful situation that required them to win their game and play in New York early the next day. It's very possible that the Vikings cost the Twins their post season last year. How would things have been different if the Twins were refreshed and ready for game 1?
It's interesting to think about, especially since so many fans don't care about the upper level machinations of the teams. We all just want to pretend every team in our town gets along so well, but it's not always the case.

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