Minnesotans with an appreciation for civility should be hopeful that Kevin Love’s return with a new team does not coincide with any discounts on food products at Target Center.
I’m basing this on the belief Love is in position to be the most detested star athlete ever to worm his way out of Minnesota. It is a title that has been held since the winter of 1997-98 by Chuck Knoblauch, the Twins’ well-compensated second baseman.
Ultimately, the Twins did OK, acquiring pitcher Eric Milton and shortstop Cristian Guzman (among others), and Knoblauch did OK, winning three straight World Series with the Yankees.
There were many jeers for Knoblauch in the Metrodome previously, but the anger toward him didn’t boil over until May 2, 2001, when Knobby — playing in left field — was pelted with wieners on a “dollar dog” night.
Time eliminates all mustard stains, and Knoblauch will be the 19th player inducted into the Twins Hall of Fame on Aug. 23 at Target Field.
What could give Love the advantage over Knoblauch on the Worm Meter is this: Love’s smirking, I-deserve-better, look-at-me manipulations. Knoblauch said “trade me” at the end of the 1997 season and was mostly mute until the trade was made on Feb. 6, 1998.
Stephon Marbury is another contender for No. 1 Worm for forcing the trade from the Timberwolves on March 11, 1999. Yet, Steph was 22 and viewed by most as such an immature rock head at the time that the anger fell short of what Knoblauch would earn.
Daunte Culpepper forced his way out, but Vikings fans were so down on him after the misery of his 2005 season that the reaction was “good riddance.”
Percy Harvin? Fans liked the trade return, and when Percy was quickly hurt in Seattle, the trade verdict became, “Hallelujah.”
Marian Gaborik? Wild fans are easy. They justify every situation with their heroic St. Paul franchise.
Kevin Garnett? We blamed the Wolves and gave KG ovations on his returns to Target Center.
Yup. When rating worms, based on what went into their departures, this soon will be Minnesota’s medal stand:
Gold-Love; Silver-Knoblauch; Bronze-Marbury.
Plus Three from Patrick: Notorious rejecters of Minnesota:
• Jack Snow. The Vikings took the Notre Dame receiver No. 8 overall in 1965. He refused to play here (too cold) and was traded to the Los Angeles Rams.
• Rick Mahorn. The Wolves’ first choice in 1989 expansion draft. Detroit’s Baddest Boy threatened to sign with an Italian team and was traded to Philly.
• Travis Lee. The No. 2 overall pick in 1996, the first baseman and his agent put the screws to the Twins, manipulating a path to free agency.