The first Star Tribune sports section cover from this decade featured a photo of Florida quarterback Tim Tebow, a profile of Vikings rookie linebacker Jasper Brinkley and a quote from Wild coach Todd Richards. Our main story the morning of Jan. 1, 2010 was coverage of the Insight Bowl, a game Tim Brewster’s Gophers lost 14-13 to Iowa State.
Sometimes 10 years feel like 20.
But then again: We also had a story on that 1/1/10 cover from our reporter Mark Craig in New Orleans, writing about Saints fans dreaming of a Super Bowl run to Miami.
The more things change ...
Those Saints marched on and beat Peyton Manning’s Colts. You may remember that NFC Championship Game two weeks earlier, but let’s reflect on happier memories.
To mark the end of the decade, some of our editors who published countless sports stories and pages in the 2010s chose a favorite page or two from this decade. Some of the choices were made because of what went into publishing the pages, and some choices were based on what happened on the field of play.
Here’s that collection, and here’s to another exciting decade ahead:
Return of the Peach
Paul Klauda is our editor in charge of all things high school sports, and our coverage of Minnesota United and MLS. But in November, his idea in a brainstorming meeting led to a page that resembled those from decades gone by. In Paul’s words:
“Only once in the last 10 years did the Gophers reach their ninth game of the season with an undefeated record. And only once in about 3,650 sports section front pages did editors break the rules as they did on Nov. 8. The throwback ‘peach setion’ approach drew pleas on social media to reprise it later in the season. Alas, nostalgia is a drink best served rarely. Like every 30 years or so, one past editor remembered.”
Two picks from this year from Pete Steinert, the editor in sports who drives our Sunday sections:
Feb. 10: “We wanted to send out superstar skier Lindsey Vonn on a proper note, so we produced this page for the day of her last race. A poignant burst of type by our “Vonn beat writer” Rachel Blount anchored the Jay St. Pierre layout, and the rest of the page was full of facts and figures compiled by yours truly.”
July 8: “We got a great story out of the PGA Tour’s return to Minnesota (quick, who won?), but it still had to settle for second billing on C1 behind the U.S. winning its second straight Women’s World Cup. Talk about a powerhouse cover. “
(The 3M Open champion, in case you forgot, was first-time winner Matthew Wolff.)
‘Get ... out of the way’
Designer Jay St. Pierre has been a visual leader for Star Tribune sports for the past half-decade. Two of his faves:
Diggins goes gold: “We have a saying about good photography in the newspaper industry: ‘Run it big, and get the heck out the way!’ That is exactly what we did when Jessie Diggins won a gold medal in Pyeongchang. We cleared off nearly the entire front page and added two pages to the sports section to report on the 2018 Winter Games’ biggest local story.”
The Final Four rush: Big projects take big planning. And months of planning went into this project. More than two dozen editors, designers, reporters and photographers (and one illustrator, Neil Jamieson) produced our most ambitious sports visuals project of the decade. We produced more than a 100 tournament-related pages in three weeks, and Neil turned each of his six main print illustrations into animated images for desktop and mobile.
The ‘Miracle’ page
It’s Vikings vs. Saints this Sunday. You remember the last time these two teams played in the playoffs, of course. Page designer Phill Spiker remembers how that night — Jan. 14, 2018 — went in the newsroom. Publishing newspapers is often called “the daily miracle.” Let’s remember this one as the double miracle then. In Phill’s words:
“Much like the game, this page went through changes on the fly. It went from being a normal cover with the game story to a poster page once the main photo arrived. The headline connected the image, and the rest is history.”
Go big, go deep
I’ll cheat and make two picks. And cheat again by picking a section instead of a page for my first entry:
April 7, 2019: The front cover isn’t hanging on anyone’s fridge outside of Virginia. Cavaliers guard Kyle Guy is celebrating three made free throws that put Virginia into the NCAA men’s basketball Final Four championship game two nights later at U.S. Bank Stadium. But the section is what I’ll always remember. It’s one of those big, heavy 20-pagers we love to produce, and dang near every Star Tribuner with a press pass was in on making that section. We had a small army at the Final Four, doing our best to cover that monster of an event.
Feb. 10, 2019: Two hopes from me: That you were able to read Chip Scoggins’ profile of Jake Sullivan we published this day. And that you want more stories like this. A top goal of ours, along with covering the news and ambitious beat reporting, is to tell memorable stories. We accomplished that several times in 2019, in my biased opinion — none better than this one. This cover, with Aaron Lavinsky’s gripping portrait of Sullivan, is striking, and a model for us. In 2020, we aim to deliver more stories like this one, stories that stay with you long after you set down the morning paper.
Four titles ain’t bad
Jeff Rivers, who along with Kevin Bertels runs the sports copy desk at night, always says the four worst days of his life were the four times the Vikings lost in Super Bowls, crushing a young boy’s spirit. So it’s natural that four of his favorite days are when Minnesota teams won titles, and the Lynx won four of them in seven years this decade —2011, 2013, 2015 and 2017. Each of them was special in its own way, from a clean sweep to win the first title, to Maya Moore’s Michael Jordan impersonation for No. 2 in 2013 to Cheryl Reeve getting the band back together for one last farewell tour in 2017. But the third one, in 2015, was special because the rock of their franchise, Seimone Augustus, had her best game of the finals and showed great emotion after winning title No. 3 in a memorable photo by Kyndell Harkness.
Glen Crevier was sports editor of the Star Tribune for over 20 years before his retirement a year ago. A Cooperstown-worthy baseball fan, Crevier surprised no one when he named these pages as among his favorites of the 2010s: a special A1 front page, a special section cover and a poster in the April 13, 2010 editions, commemorating Target Field’s opening day.
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That sunny April day launched a decade of openings and new beginnings. What’s to come in this next decade? We hope you follow along with us as we find out. Thank you for reading the Star Tribune sports section.
Chris Carr is the sports editor of the Star Tribune. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org