Local Twitter personality @TweetsByCollin likes to bust my chops every time I write something positive about the Minnesota sports scene — particularly those rare occasions in the past where I’ve declared that the moment we were living in (at the time) was a peak level for local sports fandom.
Collin is the Father of the #Dadball basketball game that I sometimes play in (though regrettably not enough), and his biggest claim to fame is getting dunked on during one of our pickup games. But his second biggest claim to fame, at least in my book, is his constant (good-natured) needling.
On cue (and on brand) earlier this week, he emerged out of nowhere, and off the top rope, with this tweet directed at me: “Gophers undefeated. Lynx in playoffs. Twins World Series bound. Vikings steamrolling the Falcons. Wild still live in the State of Hockey. Wolves… have Prince jerseys. Almost time for another @ jinx article about ‘Is this the best time to be a Mn sports fan.'”
I won’t get into the idea that believing in a jinx is just a way to try to control something that is not actually controllable — particularly since I have deployed many anti-jinx techniques in my time — but you know what, Collin?
I’m not about to say this is the best time to be a sports fan, but your tweet did inspire me to think a little more about a local playoff drought that could soon turn into a playoff fire hose.
Consider: Five of our six major local professional teams made the postseason in 2017 (considered the 2017-18 season for the Wild and Wolves). The only one that missed was Minnesota United, which was barely even trying to make it during its first year of Major League Soccer existence.
But in 2018? Five of the six teams missed the playoffs — leaving just the Lynx, and even they weren’t up to their usual lofty standards. It’s been since Aug. 21, 2018 — when the Lynx lost at the Sparks in a first-round, single-elimination game — since there was a playoff game involving one of those big six teams. The last home game was April 23, 2018, when the Wolves lost to the Rockets.
So it’s been more than a year since the last game, and almost 18 months since a home game. But 2019 is a different story.
The Lynx will break the overall postseason drought Wednesday when they play at Seattle in another win-or-go-home playoff game. Minnesota would need to win another one of those on the road Sunday before having the chance at a series and a home game.
If the Lynx bow out quickly, the Twins should quickly fill the playoff void. Yes, even with Michael Pineda’s suspension. Yes, even with the bad Byron Buxton news and all the other injuries. This could still be a 100-win team, for crying out loud.
Quickly on the Twins’ heels? Minnesota United. The Loons finish the regular season on Oct. 6. The Western Conference standings are packed, but as of now United holds the No. 3 seed and would host a first-round playoff game.
Neither the Twins nor United are locks, and Collin will surely blame me if one or both miss the playoffs.
The Vikings would be next in line for the playoffs. Their Week 1 victory has bumped them up to a coin flip to make the postseason in most places I’ve looked (FiveThirtyEight.com, for instance, says 52%).
The Wild and Wolves? Eh, as Collin notes this might not be their year. But you never know. Maybe one or both of them will surprise us?
If the Wolves do, at least, maybe we could arrange for Karl-Anthony Towns to swing by #Dadball and dunk on Collin?