Archived Story

Column: Which is your favorite Minnesota team?

Published 12:00am Thursday, November 30, 2006

Jon Laging, Talking Sports

During the year our Minnesota collegiate and professional teams sell jerseys, caps and other wearing apparel to their fans. You can stroll down the sidewalk of any Minnesota town and see team names on sweatshirts and jackets.

Last summer Twins apparel was seen on youngsters and oldsters alike. For some reason our Minnesota Twins baseball team seems to appeal to older citizens like myself. Maybe it&8217;s the pace of the game.

The wearing of team logos could be an indication of a team&8217;s popularity. Twins clothing became popular because of the terrific comeback they made, but at the beginning of the football season were still outnumbered by Viking wearers. As the season wore on and the Vikings took a nosedive after the Seattle game their apparel wearing went down. I don&8217;t see near the winter jackets I once did. On the other hand you don&8217;t see much green and gold of the Green Bay Packers either.

Although there are diehard fans of each team continuing to wear their colors.

This is a very informal survey, but have you noticed the one team that has even fewer wearers than the Minnesota Wild? The Minnesota Timberwolves. People have given up on the Wolves. Kevin McHale and Co. have failed to provide Kevin Garnett with support for the last time. It&8217;s a shame, but it&8217;s true. I thought I would never say this, but it&8217;s time to get rid of the best basketball player in Minnesota history. It&8217;s time to face facts and recognize that McHale is not going to provide Garnett with the help needed. McHale and owner Taylor seemed to be joined at the hip and nothing will be done. Therefore, give Garnett a break; trade him to a contending team for draft choices and start over as the Kansas City Royal Timberwolves. Before I leave the Timberwolves I should mention they have won their last three games and may be shrugging off their early season funk. Not to worry folks they still have shoot first, question later Ricky Davis and the best 7-foot jump shooter in the NBA Mark Blount with supposed new savior Mike James along with seven other guards. The Timberwolves do not have much going for them when their best center is 6 foot, 7 inch 2006 second round draft choice Craig Smith.

Their game against the L.A. Clippers was won by first round draft pick Randy Foye. Some of the media speculation is that Foye will provide heavy help for the Timberwolves. It&8217;s hard to see how Garnett and rookie Foye could threaten many teams in the league. To leave Wolves wearing fans with a small ray of hope; it might be noted that Utah went to the finals with Malone and Stockton. The champion Chicago Bulls did it with Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen. I don&8217;t think Foye is either a Stockton or Pippen, but it is a very unlikely but possible lifeline for McHale and the


Not to provide excuses for McHale, but the huge salary paid to Garnett did affect his ability to bring players of ability to Minnesota. Looking to next season and the future beyond, could the same thing happen to other Minnesota teams such as the Twins?

I was pleased to see Joe Mauer win the batting title, Morneau the MVP and Santana the Cy Young

award. However, if Terry Ryan pays and pays to keep them, will he be caught in the Garnett conundrum? It may particularly affect a baseball team as a team carries twice the number of personnel than a basketball team. I hope not, but if anybody can solve that possible future problem, Ryan can.

(Jon Laging writes on regional sports issues from his home in Preston.)