I've gotten quite a reaction to the column I wrote for Wednesday's paper, in which I called out fans who do nothing but whine about the local teams, and seem to whine most when their teams are contending for championships.
Most of the feedback I received was complimentary, but I was also asked this question in a variety of ways:
Have I gone soft?
Maybe. I find that the longer I do this job, the more time I spend around the local teams, the more I appreciate the difficulty of these jobs.
Now, I think the Gophers athletic department is a mess, and that Joel Maturi, Tim Brewster and Don Lucia should be sending out resumes. I believe the Wolves are still a mess - I just think the franchise was in such abysmal shape that we should give Kahn and Rambis a honeymoon. I don't think the Wild is good enough to make the playoffs, although I do admire the work Chuck Fletcher and Todd Richards have done.
Let me explain this in plain(er) English: There is a difference between analysis and whining. If you say the Vikings' safeties aren't good enough to help their team to the Super Bowl, that's cogent analysis. If you say ``The Vikings never win the Super Bowl,'' that's whining.
If you say the Twins need to spend big to sign an ace, even if that would bust their precious budget, that's analysis. If you say you're sick of them losing to the Yankees, that's whining.
I'll continue to roast teams and individuals I think deserve roasting, but I have to admit I don't think a loss or a slump is necessarily reason to torch someone. If you're going to spend time watching sports, you have to tolerate losses and slumps.
At the moment, I'm thrilled that the Twins and Vikings gave us so much drama. Being a columnist in the town that boasts Joe Mauer and Brett Favre has been a career highlight.
I just believe that if you can only enjoy sports when your team wins it all, you're setting yourself up for a miserable existence. This has been great stuff to watch; enjoy it while you can.