Reusse: Every loser in Loserville finally has reason to smile

  • Article by: PATRICK REUSSE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 20, 2012 - 10:34 AM

After a two-year stretch where Murphy's law ruled, most local sports teams appear to be on the upswing.


Vikings Jared Allen celebrates his sack with fans in the endzone.

Photo: Brian Peterson, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Look what's happening with Loserville, USA.

On Oct. 6, 2010, the Twins were playing the New York Yankees in a first-round playoff series for the fourth time since 2003. The best-of-five series started in Target Field, where the Twins had a 53-28 record in the initial season in their spectacular yard.

Francisco Liriano was selected to pitch the opener. He was dealing and carried a 3-0 lead into the sixth inning.

That day had a chance to be among the most memorable in Minnesota sports history. Earlier, the Vikings confirmed receiver Randy Moss had been reacquired from New England, causing an outbreak of Purple zealotry across Minnesota.

Hours after that, Liriano had this new generation of outdoor ball fans optimistic that the Twins were about to reverse their October trend against the Yankees.

And then New York started to rally, cutting the lead to 3-2. With two on and two outs, Liriano came with a 94-mph fastball to Curtis Granderson. The ball was lashed to deep right-center for a two-run triple.

Liriano departed trailing 4-3. The Twins lost 6-4 and then were swept in three games, which put their postseason losing streak at 12 games.

Five nights later, the Vikings returned from a bye week with Moss, for a Monday night game on the road against the New York Jets. The Vikings lost 29-20, and lost three of four with Moss, before coach Brad Childress fired Randy as a disruptive, unproductive force.

Childress was fired three weeks later after a 31-3 home loss to the Packers. The Metrodome roof collapsed. The Vikings played designated home games in Detroit and at TCF Bank Stadium. Brett Favre's career ended with an injury that stopped his record streak for games played.

The Vikings went 3-3 for interim coach Leslie Frazier, to finish 6-10 in this season of astounding chaos.

Oct. 6, 2010. It was a Wednesday. And here's what took place in the next couple of years for the six most followed sports entities in the Twin Cities:

• The Twins put up the worst records in the American League back-to-back -- 63-99 in 2011 and 66-96 in 2012.

• Frazier was given full-time status as the Vikings coach one day after the 2010 season ended. The Purple went 3-13 in 2011. The third victory came in Game 15 at Washington, which included an ACL tear for Adrian Peterson and a missed chance to draft quarterback Robert Griffin III.

• The 2010-11 Timberwolves went 17-65. Basketball boss David Kahn fired coach Kurt Rambis. The Wolves managed to hire Rick Adelman and were challenging for the playoffs in early March 2012. Rookie Ricky Rubio blew out a knee and futility returned.

• As Granderson was turning on that Liriano fastball, the Wild was getting ready to start the 2010-11 season in Helsinki, Finland. The Wild missed the playoffs, fired coach Todd Richards, hired Mike Yeo for 2011-12, collapsed mightily after a fast start and missed the playoffs again.

• Tim Brewster was 1-6 in 2010 when he became the first Gophers football coach to be fired in midseason. Overall, the 2010 Gophers finished 3-9 (2-6 in the Big Ten), and matched those records with coach Jerry Kill in 2011.

• Tubby Smith returned most of the nucleus from the 2009-10 Gophers men's basketball team that reached the Big Ten tournament final and lost an NCAA opener to Xavier. Tubby's program then descended to the Big Ten depths with 6-12 conference records in 2011 and 2012.

I'm calling it two lost years -- from Oct. 6, 2010, to Oct. 7, 2012, when the Vikings pasted Tennessee 30-7 inside the Metrodome and put themselves at 4-1 in an impressive start to a season of low expectations.

And now look:

The Vikings remain alive at 8-6 in the playoff race and Adrian Peterson is in fanatical pursuit of Eric Dickerson's all-time rushing record. Tubby's Gophers have a full boat of talent, are 11-1 and rated No. 13 by the Associated Press as the Big Ten beckons. Rubio has returned and if he's soon playing full-time with Kevin Love, it will make this the Wolves' most interesting winter in nine years.

Kill has the Gophers back to 6-6, in a bowl game vs. Texas Tech, and even a high-scoring loss to the Red Raiders will be tolerated, which wasn't the case with Glen Mason six years ago.

As for the Twins, well, it's still a spectacular yard, and the Wild certainly will be interesting with Parise, Suter and Granlund, if the NHL ever decides to play.

Bottom line: After two years as Loserville, USA, there's a heartbeat in our sporting life.

Patrick Reusse can be heard noon-4 weekdays on 1500-AM.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Atlanta - LP: J. Teheran 2 FINAL
Philadelphia - WP: C. Hamels 9
Washington 0 FINAL
Miami 8
Boston 4 FINAL
Minnesota 4
Detroit 2 FINAL
Houston 3
Toronto - WP: C. Hynes 9 FINAL
Boston - LP: D. Hinojosa 7
Tampa Bay - WP: J. Norberto 3 FINAL
NY Yankees - LP: C. Whitley 0
St. Louis 5 FINAL
NY Mets 4
Los Angeles 4 FINAL
Kansas City 4
LA Angels 1 FINAL
Oakland 4
San Diego 8 FINAL
Chicago WSox 2
Chicago WSox 12 FINAL
Seattle 4
Cleveland 2 FINAL
San Francisco 5
Milwaukee 7 FINAL
Chicago Cubs 11
Arizona 3 FINAL
Cincinnati 0
Texas 4 FINAL
Colorado 10
Pittsburgh 3 FINAL
Baltimore 3
Detroit 78 FINAL
Charlotte 102
Philadelphia 93 FINAL
Washington 106
San Antonio 103 FINAL
Orlando 91
Indiana 87 FINAL
Boston 100
Brooklyn 100 FINAL
New York 98
Chicago 91 FINAL
Milwaukee 95
Dallas 135 FINAL
Oklahoma City 131
Sacramento 111 FINAL
Houston 115
Toronto 113 FINAL
Minnesota 99
Denver 84 4th Qtr 0:16
Utah 97
LA Clippers 57 3rd Qtr 11:11
Portland 70
New Orleans 43 2nd Qtr 7:18
LA Lakers 35
Toronto 3 FINAL
Buffalo 4
Philadelphia 4 FINAL
Pittsburgh 1
Edmonton 0 2nd Prd 7:36
Anaheim 4
Colorado 0 2nd Prd
San Jose 0
Loyola-Chicago 63 FINAL
ULM 62
Michigan 65
Temple 58 FINAL
West Virginia 66


question of the day

Poll: Who are you rooting for in the NCAA Final Four?

Weekly Question





Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters