By Jim Souhan
Adrian Peterson returns to Minnesota tonight wearing something other than purple. Expect Minnesotans to be conflicted.
We’re a rather passive-aggressive lot to begin with, but even when we display our emotions we’re not always good at keeping them in the proper lane.
When A.J. Pierzynski returned to the Metrodome as a member of the White Sox in the mid-’90s, Minnesotans booed him. This might have made some kind of strange emotional sense, but it was two relay men away from logic.
Pierzynski’s play helped save or elevate the franchise, depending on whether you believed the Twins were in actual danger of contraction. He played hard, he played hurt, and he did not leave of his own volition. The Twins traded him for Joe Nathan, Francisco Liriano and Boof Bonser and replaced him with Joe Mauer.
With the way he played and the way he left, Pierzynski helped create a decade of success for the Twins. Apparently we’ll never forgive him for it.
Stephon Marbury returned with the Nets after forcing a trade. Minnesotans booed. Marbury scored 39 in a victory.
Chuck Knoblauch didn’t get booed by many when he returned after forcing a trade to the Yankees, but that’s because the audience at the Metrodome in the late ‘90s consisted of two batboys and three ushers. When he returned in 2001, Twins fans had been activated from cryogenic sleep. They pelted him with hotdogs. I would never advocate throwing objects at players but if you were ever to make an exception this might be it.
Kevin Garnett and Torii Hunter, two of the most popular local athletes since the end of Kirby Puckett’s career, received cheers, fittingly.
Marian Gaborik, Percy Harvin and Kevin Love, none of whom ever seemed to embrace the idea of a long stay in Minnesota, were both booed, predictably.
Tonight, Peterson returns with the Saints and Randy Moss returns to enter the Ring of Honor. How will Minnesotans treat them?
Both are certain to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, so MInnesotans will probably cheer.
But I wouldn’t want to put money on it.
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