These are tough times here, with so many local teams losing.
Can you remember the last time a year went by when the Vikings, Wild and Wolves didn't make the playoffs, the Gophers hockey or basketball teams didn't make the postseason and the Gophers football team didn't qualify for a bowl game?
And now the way the Twins are going, they are unlikely to make the playoffs for the first time in three years.
There has never been a yearlong stretch, since the Timberwolves began for the 1989-90 season, that all of the seven main men's pro and amateur teams have not made the postseason. The closest it came to happening was in 1995, when the Gophers men's hockey team was the only one to make the postseason, losing in the semifinals of the NCAA Frozen Four. And that year, the Gophers men's basketball team made the NCAA tournament, but those results were later wiped out after its academic scandal came to light.
And when was the last time that three coaches were fired in one season?
Brad Childress of the Vikings, Tim Brewster with the Gophers football team and Todd Richards of the Wild are already gone. And there is every reason to believe Kurt Rambis won't be back to coach the Wolves for the 2011-2012 season.
Furthermore, there is no reason to be optimistic about the Wild, Wolves, Vikings and the Gophers football, basketball and hockey teams making big improvements in their records next season.
The Vikings were successful in 2010, coming within one game of making the Super Bowl. But last year they were 6-10, and with the quarterback situation still unsettled, a number of free agents who might be lost depending on what the new collective bargaining agreement is, an older team and the Packers looking like a team that could defend their Super Bowl title, the dopesters in Las Vegas have the Vikings a 35-1 shot to make the Super Bowl.
The Wolves haven't been in the postseason since 2003-2004, and last season their record was 17-65. They are in a tough conference, and the big question of whether any top free agents would want to play here makes it hard to see a big improvement for the 2011-2012 season.
The Wild hasn't made the playoffs since the 2007-2008 season. It needs to score more goals to improve its record, but apparently this is a poor season for those types of free agents being available.
The Gophers did finish 11th in the final winter standings for the Learfield Sports Directors' Cup, but only because of the success of the men's and women's non- revenue sports.
The Gophers split hockey with Wisconsin and had success in the nonrevenue sports to win their third consecutive Border Battle Cup.
However, the Gophers basketball team is going to have a hard time replacing guards Blake Hoffarber and Al Nolen. They were 17-14 overall last year and finished ninth in the Big Ten at 6-12. The Gophers hockey team finished 16-14-6 (13-10-5 WCHA) and didn't make the NCAA tournament for the third year in a row, and to improve the team will need some of its highly ranked freshmen to produce.
As for Gophers football, you should see some improvement with new coach Jerry Kill, who has impressed everybody, but they have a very tough opener at Southern California and then face Wisconsin, Nebraska and Iowa at home and Michigan, Michigan State and Northwestern on the road.
The Twins have made the playoffs in six of nine seasons under manager Ron Gardenhire. The big question is can they make the playoffs again after such a poor start and having the worst record in the major leagues for some time.
Yes, this is the capital of the lose-and-love-it club. And right now, the future doesn't look good for changing.Jottings
• Vikings owner Zygi Wilf always has pushed for an outdoor stadium, but if the Arden Hills site winds up with the stadium, it will have a retractable roof. Wilf said other owners have indicated they will back a Super Bowl on the site. The stadium initially will have 65,000 seats and be expandable to 72,000 to hopefully host the Super Bowl. It'll have 120 to 150 suites, with 7,500 club seats and 21,000 parking spaces for tailgating. ... Wilf has promised to bring Major League Soccer here if the stadium is built.
• Dave Nelson, the outstanding Minnetonka football coach, was asked his impression of Kill. "Well, time will tell," Nelson said. "Tim [Brewster] was great to me and I think he had a really good staff, but I think one thing that Coach Kill has is the experience of being a head coach and taking a team through the building process. He's won wherever he's been. With Coach Brewster, he kind of had to learn on the job of being a head coach."
• Work has started at the Bierman Building on a new weight room costing close to $500,000, and also new turf is being installed on the Gophers football practice field for close to $1 million.
• Timberwolves draft choice Ricky Rubio played 19 minutes in Regal Barcelona's 84-52 win over Unicaja in the ACB League in Spain on Saturday. Rubio scored three points, grabbed four rebounds and dished out seven assists. Rubio remains primarily a pass-first point guard for first-place Regal. In five games in May. Rubio has attempted only 18 shots, going 3-for-6 from two-point range and 5-for-12 from three, while producing 18 assists.
• Former Twins reliever Pat Neshek was recalled by the San Diego Padres on Tuesday after being sent to Class AAA on April 24. Since returning to the club Neshek has pitched 2 2/3 innings in two games, giving up one hit and striking out four. For the season he is 1-0 with a 1.69 ERA and 11 strikeouts in 10 2/3 innings. ... Matt Guerrier, the former Twins setup man, had two rough outings in late April for the Los Angeles Dodgers that saw his ERA move up from 0.00 to 4.11. But in May, Guerrier has a 2.16 ERA with two earned runs in 8 1/3 innings with eight strikeouts. He is now 2-2 with a 3.42 ERA and one save in 23 2/3 innings for the year. ... Jesse Crain has been pitching well for the White Sox this month. The former Twin is 1-0 with four holds in nine innings. He has given up no runs, struck out 10 and walked only three while giving up five hits.
Sid Hartman can be heard weekdays on WCCO AM-830 at 6:40, 7:40 and 8:40 a.m. and on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. • email@example.com