Rand: At least we're not the worst sports town

  • Updated: September 24, 2013 - 6:55 AM
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The Timberwolves, featuring Kevin Love, are the 83rd-best franchise out of 122, according to ESPN’s rankings.

Photo: File photo by Kyndell Harkness • kyndell.harkness@startribune.com,

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The success of a pro sports franchise can be measured in countless ways. ESPN has chosen to do so with a variety of metrics and surveys that attempt to gauge fan experience and team success, among other things.

As it has done yearly for the past decade, ESPN recently released its “Ultimate Team Standings” for 2013. Using those measurements, all the teams in the NHL, NBA, NFL and MLB are ranked 1-122.

Here are a few items we found interesting:

• The top five overall are: 1) Memphis Grizzlies; 2) San Antonio Spurs; 3) Indiana Pacers; 4) Oklahoma City Thunder and 5) Green Bay Packers. The top four are, interestingly, NBA teams.

Also: Four of the five are franchises in markets that only have one of the “major” four pro sports, at least as defined by ESPN. The other, the Pacers, is in a two-sport market (Indianapolis also has the Colts).

• On the other hand, there are 12 markets that have MLB, NHL, NBA and NFL franchises. Nine of them, including Minneapolis-St. Paul, have just one team in each category. Here are how each of those nine fared in ESPN’s rankings.

Minneapolis-St. Paul: Wild, No. 50; Twins, No. 58; Vikings, No. 69; Wolves, No. 83. Average: 65.

Boston: Best: Patriots (39); Worst: Red Sox (93). Average of four teams: 56. Dallas-Fort Worth: Best: Rangers (19); Worst: Cowboys (107). Average: 56. Detroit: Best: Red Wings (13); Worst: Lions (111). Average: 58. Denver: Best: Broncos (15); Worst: Avalanche (101). Average: 58.

Phoenix: Best: Diamondbacks (6); Worst: Suns (118). Average: 63. Philadelphia: Best: Phillies (59); Worst: Eagles (95). Average: 79. Washington D.C.: Best: Nationals (49); Worst: Wizards (113). Average: 79. Miami: Best: Heat (25); Worst: Marlins (120). Average: 81.

So that tells us, at least according to ESPN, that in like-minded markets the Twin Cities have the second-worst “best” franchise (Wild at No. 50 is only better than Philadelphia’s top team, the Phillies) ... and the best “worst” franchise (the Wolves at No. 83 fare better than any of the other eight markets’ worst teams).

This all seems so fitting.

MICHAEL RAND

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St. Louis - WP: L. Lynn 4 FINAL
Washington - LP: J. Zimmermann 3
Toronto - WP: M. Buehrle 5 FINAL
Cleveland - LP: C. Kluber 0
LA Angels - LP: C. Wilson 2 FINAL
Detroit - WP: M. Scherzer 5
Baltimore - LP: B. Norris 2 FINAL
Boston - WP: J. Tazawa 4
Minnesota - LP: K. Correia 4 FINAL
Kansas City - WP: B. Chen 5
Cincinnati - LP: T. Cingrani 4 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - WP: E. Jackson 8
Houston - LP: C. Qualls 3 FINAL
Oakland - WP: D. Otero 4
Milwaukee - WP: J. Henderson 8 FINAL
Pittsburgh - LP: J. Grilli 7
Atlanta - WP: E. Santana 7 FINAL
NY Mets - LP: B. Colon 5
NY Yankees - LP: I. Nova 1 FINAL
Tampa Bay - WP: C. Archer 16
Seattle - LP: R. Elias 0 FINAL
Miami - WP: H. Alvarez 7
Chicago WSox - LP: J. Quintana 3 FINAL
Texas - WP: C. Lewis 6
Philadelphia - LP: K. Kendrick 1 FINAL
Colorado - WP: J. Lyles 3
Arizona - LP: M. Bolsinger 6 FINAL
Los Angeles - WP: D. Haren 8
San Francisco - LP: T. Hudson 1 FINAL
San Diego - WP: E. Stults 3
Brooklyn 94 FINAL
Toronto 87
Golden State 109 FINAL
LA Clippers 105
Atlanta 101 FINAL
Indiana 93
Memphis 86 FINAL
Oklahoma City 100
Chicago 3 FINAL(OT)
St. Louis 4
Columbus 4 FINAL(OT)
Pittsburgh 3
Minnesota 2 FINAL
Colorado 4
Houston 0 FINAL
Philadelphia 0
New England 1 FINAL
Chicago 1
San Jose 0 FINAL
Colorado 0
Los Angeles 2 FINAL
Vancouver FC 2
D.C. 1 FINAL
Columbus 1
Toronto FC 1 FINAL
FC Dallas 2
Montreal 0 FINAL
Sporting Kansas City 4
Portland 0 FINAL
Real Salt Lake 1
Seattle 2 FINAL
Chivas USA 1
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