Sid Hartman’s column has been a source of good news for Minnesota sports fans for more years than most of those fans have been alive. It is in Sid’s column where you discover annually that this Gophers football team has more talent than any in decades, that the Vikings outsmarted all other teams in the NFL Draft, and this is the year that the rebuilding will come to fruition and the Timberwolves will return to the playoffs.
In Sid’s corner of the Star Tribune, we also can find out there is an excellent group of newcomers for the Gophers (men’s) basketball team, and that the Twins wouldn’t be in this predicament if only Calvin Griffith had signed No. 1 overall pick Tim Belcher, as well as his next two choices (Oddibe McDowell and Billy Swift), in the 1983 draft.
I don’t know about you, but as a lifelong Minnesotan, there’s a bit more bounce in my step on those mornings after Sid’s column has landed on the stoop in Golden Valley.
That was not the case on Thursday. Instead, I was left with a feeling of emptiness and hurt.
Then came the third item. And the emptiness and hurt.
The subhead read:
And then came this:
“Some 2,400 people – including business people, top people in labor and elected officials – were invited by the Wilf family, owners of the Vikings, to celebrate the completion of U.S. Bank Stadium at an event titled, ‘The Voyage Begins, the Purple Gala’ on Tuesday. It is what I consider one of the most outstanding parties ever held in the Twin Cities, at a cost to the Wilfs of maybe more than $300,000 out of their pocket.’’
OK, I realize there were a mere 2,400 invitations, and they couldn’t invite everyone, but how does Sid get in and I don’t even know about it until reading it in his column two days later?
Clearly, the Wilfs have so little history in Minnesota that they don’t understand Sid’s first beat as a newspaperman was the Gophers, and he’s always loved the Maroon more than the Purple.
Maybe not during his pal Bud Grant’s long first term [1967-1983] as the Vikings coach, but once Bud quit the first time and Lou Holtz got here in 1984 … the embers in Sid’s soul for the Gophers were reignited and have been red hot ever since.
As for me, I became a columnist in 1979 and I have a 37-year track record of taking more cheap shots at Gophers football than the Vikings.
Should not that have counted for something when the gala invitations were being sent out?
Listen. I’ve been a Vikings zealot since the short, feisty Republican, Fran Tarkenton, came off the bench at Met Stadium to spark our outfit to a 37-13 blowout of the Chicago Bears in the first regular season game on Sept. 17, 1961.
And I was as shocked as the next Minnesotan when Kansas City clobbered the Vikings 23-7 in that first Super Bowl on Jan. 11. 1970. I think what threw us off was the sparrows in the practice locker room.
(Oh, wait, that was the next loss, a few years later in Houston).
I will admit that immediately after the Vikings won the NFC title games following the 1973, 1974 and 1976 seasons, my brother, Mr. Wonderful and I did make trips to the bars of downtown Prior Lake for this purpose
To agitate happy Purple zanies into making foolish bets in the favor of the Vikings (we got points for the Miami game!) on the upcoming Super Bowls, but that wasn’t personal … it was profit.
I wrote Sid’s book in 1997, and here’s the deal:
Sid says “Ski-U-Mah,’’ then “Skol Vikings.’’
I say, “Skol Vikings,’’ then “84-13.’’
Gosh darn it, Zygi, I belonged at one of the most outstanding parties ever held in the Twin Cities.
I even have a photo of your new stadium as the background on my main Twitter account – 1500espn_reusse -- if you need proof.