Jackie Hope: To be a Minnesota sports fan is to be cursed
Is it me, or are the Minnesota sports teams cursed? Let's think about this. Blair Walsh, the kicker for the Vikings, finished the 2015 season with a whopping 87.2 percent average. He is one of the top 10 kickers in the NFL. In fact, ESPN has him ...
Is it me, or are the Minnesota sports teams cursed?
Let's think about this.
Blair Walsh, the kicker for the Vikings, finished the 2015 season with a whopping 87.2 percent average. He is one of the top 10 kickers in the NFL. In fact, ESPN has him at No. 8 in this year's fantasy rankings. Not shabby, right?
But then on Jan. 10 in the playoffs, with seconds on the clock and a nearly sure-thing Super Bowl berth on the line, Blair lined up a 27-yard field goal, to kick for the win. And missed. Whaaaaat?
Arguably the worst choke in playoff history. Not even arguably. The Vikings' season ended with that one missed kick.
Then, last week, Teddy Bridgewater.
Teddy is, like, the most popular quarterback around. OK, he runs a far second behind Carson Wentz. But Teddy is a fly dude. His teammates love and respect him. He works hard, does not give 'tude to the coaching staff, and he and running back Adrian Peterson were poised to be offensive Purple People Eaters.
Offensive in the good way. Like in eating up yards of football turf. And throwing for completed passes. In your faces, Pack!
But last week Teddy took one step back. One small step for a quarterback, and one giant step for a Super Bowl-track team. And now Teddy is spending the rest of the season recovering from a dislocated knee and a blown-out ACL.
The ACL is a ligament that holds your knee together. And Teddy's ACL is a ligament that holds the Vikings' offensive passing together. Now we are faced with the fact that Adrian Peterson will be running on empty.
And it is not just football that is cursed. The Twins lost 13 games in a row. Their franchise record for losses was set in 1961, when they lost 17 in a row. But that was back when they were the Washington Senators, so that does not exactly count.
You remember the Washington Senators, right? That is the team which was so bad, a Broadway musical was written about them. "Damn Yankees" is a sell-your-soul-to-the-devil story, where a long-suffering Senators fan cuts a deal with the Dark Lord to help his team start winning. And beat those "Damn Yankees."
Yeah, those guys became our lovable Twins. And maybe the Dark Lord is calling in his markers. Because did you see their Little League outfield antics last week?
Bottom of the eighth inning, in Toronto, with the Jays trailing 7-6. Our Ryan Pressley was pitching to Melvin Upton, Jr. OK, so Pressley was vastly overmatched. All our pitchers are vastly overmatched, as soon as they take the mound. But, still.
Upton lined one to Max Kepler, out in right field. Kepler missed it. In fact, he missed it so badly, that he did a belly flop onto the field as the ball rolled to the wall. Not to worry, though, because that is why there is more than one outfielder, out in the outfield. Eddie Rosario was right there, because he plays left, and he missed it, too. Then Rosario threw up his hands in an "I dunno!" gesture while the go-ahead run scored. Damn Blue Jays.
The Twins now have to play 500-ball, winning half of the rest of their games, just to avoid a 100-loss season. Which one of you is ready to step up and cut a hell of a deal?
We have to ask ourselves, "Who's next?" Just last week, "Sports Illustrated" announced the Timberwolves' first-round pick, Kris Dunn, was chosen by the NBA rookies as most likely to become Rookie of the Year. There is a karmic target on Kris' back now, man.
The Minnesota Wild should probably insure Zach Parise's ankles for a gazillion dollars, just to be safe. Wait, make that two gazillion-a gazillion for each ankle.
This Sunday the Vikings open their season, in Tennessee with the Titans. I'm putting on my old Culpepper throwback jersey, my new Vikings socks, a borrowed Vikes beanie, and my bluest blue jeans. Because they are gonna need all the luck I can give them. Skol!