Every week or so (maybe not that often, but it seems that way), a new publication comes out with a study, poll or other set of facts indicating Minnesota sports are bad.
Sometimes they’re ho-hum bad, and sometimes they’re the worst. It doesn’t usually matter what the angle of the study is. Unless it comes to fitness, the Twin Cities and our pro sports teams are generally judged as epic failures.
The latest effort comes from the Washington Post, which just published a set of online graphics that, coupled with essays from around the country, looks at the past decade for the 12 U.S. markets that have NBA, NHL, NFL and MLB franchises.
The methodology in this case is pretty basic: The Post simply took the combined winning percentages of all four teams starting in 2005 to establish a 1-12 order. Minnesota, with a combined .462 winning percentage, finished last among the 12 markets.
Again, the “what” is not surprising. Let’s spend a few moments trying to understand the “why,” at least in the case of this particular study:
• First, the particular period of time included here is particularly harsh for Minnesota teams. The Wolves had their best run as a franchise right before it; the Twins won three consecutive AL Central titles from 2002-04. The Vikings had a lot more playoff appearances in the decade previous to the one in question. So the timing — which is to say “recently,” is bad for Minnesota teams.
• More than that, though, one could argue that Minnesota teams will generally fare poorly in a lot of head-to-head competitions against other markets with those four major leagues. The Twin Cities is among the smallest (both in terms of population and media market size) in that group, while also having the stigma of being a cold-weather climate. That can inhibit payroll in some cases, and the ability to attract or retain talent in others, relative to the competition.
• Beyond that is it … us? And by that, I mean, do the fans and the media impact a market’s success? That was suggested by some local folks who circulated the Washington Post project on Tuesday, implying that alternating negativity and passivity is harmful to local teams.
• Or maybe it’s just a mix of things, including a tough sample size and some bad decisions by people in charge? What I do know is two of the four Minnesota teams are in the midst of their regular seasons currently. One is 1-6, and the other is 16-65. No team in either league is worse, so this might get worse before it gets better.