Minnesota always has been home. There was a small place in Florida to escape for a few winter weeks in recent years, but that's gone.

This is home, and since 1983, in a sturdy first-tier suburb.

Love to joke about Minnesota, love to agitate Gophers football fans, never got into devouring hockey, but I wouldn't pay taxes anywhere else.

Bud Grant, Jerry Burns and Page, Marshall and Eller. Tony Oliva, Kirby Puckett, Tom Kelly and Gene Mauch. Clem Haskins, Willie Burton and Bobby Jackson. Glen Sonmor, Lou Nanne and Henry Boucha.

Natalie Darwitz, Krissy Wendell and Lindsay Whalen. Maya Moore, Samantha Seliger-Swenson and Amber Fiser.

And on and on. A sportswriter has been blessed with rich material in Minnesota.

Championships? Few enough to appreciate them.

Those four Super Bowl losses — the last of which has been fermenting since January 1977 — remain our badge of honor. If you can't laugh about Gary Anderson, Blair Walsh and short-tempered Mike Zimmer cutting one of the NFL's best kickers, Daniel Carlson, after two games, you're not trying.

It was grand for Red Sox fans carrying around the yoke of 86 years without a World Series championship, and there was futility even more delightful for over a century for Cubs fans.

Thank goodness, we still have that wondrous connection with the Vikings: Destined to win more often than most, and lose when it counts, even one week after performing a miracle.

As a state, we've had our share of embarrassing moments in my lifetime, including my own, but I've never second-guessed being a Minnesotan.

I was a copy boy at the Minneapolis Tribune in the mid-1960s when the great Ira Berkow was a young sportswriter, and I still can get a laugh at this:

Berkow was writing a feature piece on Blooming Prairie's basketball team. He set a scene where he asked a school official for the team's nickname, and the man took him behind the bleachers, looked around and then whispered, "Blossoms."

When traveling through the decades, and asked the traditional question "Where ya' from?" I've never felt the need to whisper the answer: "Minnesota"

That might not be the case the next time, not after the short, excruciating 10 ½ months between the deaths of George Floyd and Daunte Wright, perished by no reasonable standard.

"How can it happen in the same place again?" I heard being asked on a national sports radio show on Monday. "It's unbelievable."

You got that right, buddy. And as a life-longer, the next time asked, my hunch today is the answer "Minnesota" will come in a whisper.

• • •

I've been writing sports columns for Twin Cities dailies for 42 years and have frustrated a couple of dozen editors for failure to get promptly to the main point.

This could set a new standard for that, since the good intention when this started was to give thoughts on Alex Rodriguez likely becoming the face for new Timberwolves ownership.

The news broke early Saturday night that Rodriguez and billionaire Mark Lore had a 30-day agreement to finalize a deal with owner Glen Taylor to purchase the Wolves and the Lynx.

My immediate response was, "Not that phony A-Rod."

That was based on his lying about PED usage; particularly, the period when he sicced his acolytes on Selena Roberts, a former Strib colleague and relentless reporter, after she first exposed that usage.

It's also based on minimal personal interaction, listening to his vacuous commentary as a baseball analyst, a reality TV show where he was giving financial advice to selected people, plus my wife's scouting report from his guest appearances on "Shark Tank'': On the panel of pomposity, he's the most-pompous, she opined, and added, "And he never commits any money. He's always 'out.' "

Another day of thought was put into that first reaction. And here's me, talking to myself:

"You're 75. You love baseball and its now-disappearing traditions and remain offended by his PED lies. You also have a low tolerance for people who are over-the-top bull slingers, and think they are fooling you with it. That's A-Rod.

"BUT ... we're in a town right now where the most-dynamic team owner is Zygi Wilf. We deserve more than digging Zygi. We've always had older white guys own the pro franchises in the Twin Cities. Enough.

"Plus, the NBA is all about star power. The Wolves have been back-burner on that since the team around the fantastic, foul-mouthed Kevin Garnett started to fade, and K.G. left town angry in 2007.

"A-Rod gives the Wolves star power up top. A-Rod keeps Karl-Anthony Towns around, and is seen hugging it out with Anthony Edwards, and the vibe changes completely.

"The Wolves become a true rallying point for young people in the city and the area. Yes, we get full-on A-Rod bull slinging constantly, but it will be worth the trade-off."

So, there's my 180 on A-Rod. Bring him on. Now more than ever.