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Patrick Reusse has been covering sports in the Twin Cities since 1968.

Reusse: Hawkins a proud godfather of KC's new QB, Patrick Mahomes

Pat Mahomes was a 21-year-old when he opened the 1992 season as a rookie in the Twins rotation. He stayed there until June, went back to the minors and returned as a September call-up.

Mahomes was on the major league roster in spring training of 1993. He was well aware of the limited dollars on which minor leaguers subsisted, and he would share the generous per diem of a major leaguer with acquaintances from the minors.

“That’s when Pat and I became friends – the spring of 1993,’’ LaTroy Hawkins said. “He would take a few of us, Matt Lawton, me, a couple of other guys, out for dinner. We usually went to Hooters for wings.’’

LaTroy didn’t make it to the big leagues until 1995, and then briefly that season. Yet, LaTroy and Mahomes became such close friends that when Pat’s first son, Patrick, was born on Sept. 17, 1995, Hawkins accepted an invitation to be the godfather.

Patrick was barely a toddler around the ballpark (the Metrodome) in 1996. LaTroy does have this vivid memory:

“That kid loved French fries, dipped in ketchup. He went after that ketchup.’’

The Twins gave up on Mahomes and traded him to Boston on Aug. 26, 1996 for a player to be named (pitcher Brian Looney). Hawkins stayed with the Twins for the remainder of the lost years of the ‘90s and became part of the turnaround in the 2000s. He left as a free agent after the 2003 season.

Hawkins and Mahomes stayed close. LaTroy took his duties as godfather seriously, taking a special interest in the youngster.

“As a little kid, you knew that Patrick was going to be an outstanding athlete,’’ Hawkins said. “He could run, he could throw a baseball, throw a football, much easier than other kids his age.’’

Pat Mahomes had been the young pitcher with an assortment of pitches and a tremendous future. He never reached that potential the Twins saw for him as a starter in 1992.

Eventually, Mahomes became a reliever and pitched in portions of 11 seasons. He pitched the last on his 308 big-league games for Pittsburgh on Aug. 26, 2003.

He tried to get back to the big leagues over the next six seasons. He first pitched in independent baseball for Long Island in the Atlantic League in 2006, and also had stays with Sioux Falls in the American Association.

The Twins tried Hawkins as a starter, then a closer, and finally in a setup roles. That’s where he found himself. As a pitcher very much reliant on a fastball, he had an astounding career – 21 seasons and 1,042 games.

That number does not include 22 appearances in the postseason, including three for Toronto in his final season of 2015.

Hawkins moved to the Dallas area a number of years ago. Mahomes always has lived in the area of Tyler, Texas, where he was a tremendous three-sport athlete in high school before signing with the Twins in 1988.

Patrick lived with his mother, with his father nearby and involved in his athletic development.

“I didn’t get to see Patrick play that much baseball, because I would be playing myself,’’ Hawkins said by phone Friday night. “His Dad would Facetime some games to me. Patrick pitched and played shortstop.’’

LaTroy paused and added: “I’ll tell you, he could throw a baseball. But when he threw the football, that was extra special.’’

Mahomes went to Texas Tech. Nobody throws a football more than a quarterback at Texas Tech. Patrick became the starter halfway through his freshman season in 2014. He put up enormous numbers the past two seasons, and then his pre-draft workouts were outstanding.

Entering Thursday’s start of the NFL draft, he was projected to go in the first round, along with N.C. State’s Mitchell Trubisky and Clemson’s DeShaun Watson. The Bears outbid themselves to move up one place to second to take Trubisky.

Eight selections later, Mahomes received as tremendous of an endorsement as a quarterback can get: Andy Reid, the offensive master of the Kansas City Chiefs, traded into the No. 10 slot to draft Mahomes.

Hawkins had driven the two hours to Tyler to be at a restaurant where Mahomes’ family and friends were gathered. Was everyone surprised about Kansas City’s move to get Patrick?

“We didn’t know it would be Kansas City, but everyone was certain he wasn’t going to last much past 10th,’’ Hawkins said.

How was it to see that little French fries eater heading off to the NFL as a 6-foot-3, 230-pound gunslinger of a quarterback?

“I was a proud godfather,’’ LaTroy said.

Reusse: Failures of note: Wild in first round, Timberwolves in 2013 draft

The Minnesota Wild fired Mike Yeo on Feb. 13, 2016. On Saturday, 434 days after the firing, the Yeo-coached St. Louis Blues completed a five-game elimination of what was alleged to be the best team in the Wild’s 16-season history.

This is one of the most-embarrassing events in the half-century since Minnesota became a full-service major league sports market with the arrival of the North Stars (and the ABA) in 1967.

An organization quits on a coach, after the veteran stars of the team decide to quit on him, and then he comes back with an underdog team and takes you out in the first round … in FIVE, and with a 3-0 record in your arena.

“Oh, well,’’ the lemmings on the season-ticket list say, ‘’when do you want our next payment for 2017-18, and when do the new jerseys go on sale?’’

Out in Woodbury, the center of Wild fever, it wasn’t the fault of the players or the coach, Sir Topham Boudreau. They just ran into a hot goalie.

That’s the one I find hilarious. The New York Rangers figured out a way to beat Montreal’s Carey Price, the best goalie in the world, in six games, but Jake Allen was a mystery too great for the Wild to solve.

Here’s an idea that might have worked, fellas: Stop hitting him with the puck.

The reaction to this five-game debacle was rewarding in a way for me as a hockey observer. For decades, I’ve been downplaying hockey with this claim:

“Two teams skate around for 57 minutes, it’s 1-1, then the puck hits someone in the rear end, bounces in the net, and everyone leaves the arena talking about what a great game they have witnessed.’’

Hockey: too much reliance on bounces and not enough on making actual plays. That’s been my mantra forever.

For this, I’ve received much ridicule – first in the mail, then in e-mails, and now in other message forms.

“You don’t know anything about hockey; stay away from writing about it,’’ come the screeds, often with added commentary on my bulk and alleged offensive personal habits.

And now the Wild has gone out in five, vs. Yeo, and rather than disgust, the faithful followers are tracing it to facing a hot goalie and a lack of “puck luck.’’

In other words, if only the puck had hit one of our boys in the rear end and caromed past Allen early in overtime of Game 1, it all would have turned out differently – meaning, I’ve always had this hockey figured out.

*

AT THE END OF THE DAVID KAHN ERA, we took a look at the Timberwolves draft history and reached the conclusion that – over the 24 years from 1989 to 2012 – they had nearly always done the wrong thing.

The clear exceptions were taking Kevin Garnett at No. 5 in 1995, and flipping O.J. Mayo for Kevin Love in a draft night deal with Memphis in 2008. You could also make a case for Wally Szczerbiak at No. 6 in 1999, although the Wolves screwed up that draft so badly by following with couldn’t-play-a-lick William Avery at No. 14 that the ’99 remains a half of a success.

Now, four years later, objectivity demands that Flip Saunders’ first draft on his return in 2013 also belongs in the “wrong thing’’ category, making it a full quarter-century of mostly draft screw-ups for our traditional local losers.

The Wolves had the No. 9 choice in that draft. The selections fell so that C.J. McCollum, the marksman from Lehigh, was the projected pick as the Wolves went “on the clock.’’

Flip’s words were that he was a fan of McCollum but not his actions. He wound up choosing Trey Burke (a bust) for Utah, and received two later selections: taking Shabazz Muhammad at No. 14 and Gorgui Dieng at No. 21.

Shabazz has been an erratic contributor and probably will leave after this season. Dieng has been OK, although he should be a backup and not a starter.

McCollum was hurt early in his career, but has turned into the second part of a dynamic duo with Damian Lillard – the 42 percent shooter from three that the Wolves have needed.

And here’s the worst part of the 2013 draft:

Once Flip decided to make the trade, it seemed more as though he got stuck with Muhammad at No. 14 rather than being sold on him. As it turned out, Milwaukee was choosing 15th and came up with a much-better option than Shabazz:

Giannis Antetokounmpo, a k a, the Greek Freak.

Flip did OK with his bold selection of Zach LaVine at No. 13 in 2014, and you couldn’t mess up with Karl-Anthony Towns as the clear No. 1 in 2015, and now there’s a strong possibility that the Wolves returned to doing the wrong thing when Tom Thibodeau took Kris Dunn at No. 5 in his first try last June.

(Who else? How about Jamal Murray, the kid from Kentucky, who wound up at Denver and could become another McCollum?) 

TV Listings

Local Schedule

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  • Twins at Kansas City

    7:15 pm on FSN, 96.3-FM

  • Twins at Kansas City

    6:15 pm on FSN, 96.3-FM

  • San Jose at Minnesota United FC

    7 pm on Ch. 29, 1500-AM

  • Twins at Kansas City

    1:15 pm on FSN, 96.3-FM

  • Oakland at Twins

    7:10 pm on FSN, 96.3-FM

  • Oakland at Twins

    7:10 pm on FSN, 96.3-FM

  • Oakland at Twins

    12:10 pm on 96.3-FM

  • Canterbury Park live racing

    4 pm

  • Atlanta at Lynx (preseason)

    7 pm

  • Boston at Twins

    7:10 pm on FSN, 96.3-FM

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Today's Scoreboard

  • Baltimore

    NY Yankees

     

    - F

    11

    14

  • NY Mets

    Washington

     

    - F

    7

    5

  • Tampa Bay

    Toronto

     

    - F

    7

    4

  • Chicago Cubs

    Boston

     

    - F

    4

    5

  • Seattle

    Cleveland

     

    - F

    3

    1

  • Chicago White Sox

    Detroit

     

    - F

    7

    3

  • Pittsburgh

    Miami

     

    - F

    12

    2

  • LA Angels

    Texas

     

    - F

    6

    3

  • Oakland

    Houston

     

    - F

    4

    9

  • Atlanta

    Milwaukee

     

    - F

    10

    8

  • Minnesota

    Kansas City

     

    - F

    6

    4

  • Cincinnati

    St. Louis

     

    - F

    5

    7

  • Colorado

    Arizona

     

    - Bot 7th

    3

    1

  • Philadelphia

    LA Dodgers

     

    - Bot 5th

    2

    3

  • San Diego

    San Francisco

     

    - Top 7th

    3

    3

No NFL games today

  • Washington

    Atlanta

     

    - F

    115

    99

  • Boston

    Chicago

     

    - F

    105

    83

  • LA Clippers

    Utah

     

    - H

    47

    45

  • Nashville

    St. Louis

     

    - F

    2

    3

  • Edmonton

    Anaheim

     

    - 2nd, 15:41

    1

    0

  • Houston

    Toronto FC

     

    - F

    0

    2