Column: Rose colored glasses

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 12, 2006

Jon Laging,

Sports Columnist

There are many definitions of the subconscious. The more I researched, the more complicated became the explanations. However, most experts acknowledge it does affect thinking and insights do come from the unconscious.

I am a believer, why else would I wake in the middle of the night with the thought that Sprewell is spelled Sprewell rather than Spreewell. I changed it accordingly the next morning before I sent my column off. So I believe there is an unconscious and I’m glad, for I need all the help I can get forecasting the future of four Minnesota teams.

Our Minnesota Gopher football team had their usual year in spite of having what many considered to be the best offensive line in college football. There is no reason to expect anything better next year or the next five years of Mason’s new contract for that matter. They lost the best part of that offensive line and a premier running back. However, Mason seems to be able to put a fine running game on the field every year. He is a disciple of the old Ohio State philosophy of three yards and a cloud of dust. Mason should remember that Woody Hayes also had a good defense. He should, Mason was an Ohio State defensive back. The Gophers will win more than they lose and again go to a bowl game.

The Minnesota Timberwolves will make the playoffs and follow their tradition of one round and out. That will change only if GM Kevin McHale somehow gets Ron Artest from the Pacers. Then we would have a Sprewell-Cassell type first year. A suggestion for McHale, trade for Artest for this year only, then get rid of him before next season. That would eliminate the Sprewell-Cassell following year performance. Artest is a gamble, but the Timberwolves have little to lose.

Dan Monson’s Minnesota Gopher basketball team is projected to finish in the bottom half of the Big Ten. I think they are better than that and will again make the “Big Dance.&8221; Why? When Monson left Gonzaga to come to Minnesota after beating them the first round of the tourney, he left a Dan Monson team. A team of fine perimeter players and an average front line. What does he have at Minnesota this year. You guessed it, a team of three good and one all-conference perimeter players in Hargrow, Boone, Tucker and Grier with an average front line. We will see if a Monson Gonzaga type team can win in the Big Ten. I think they will do all right. Good basketball players are good basketball players whether they play on the West Coast or in the Midwest.

Now here is where I had to rely on my subconscious or maybe it was wishful thinking, or better yet, rose colored glasses.

Our Minnesota Twins will challenge for the Central Division title. The White Sox and the Indians were both better than the Twinkies as the season ended last year. However, I think Terry Ryan has pulled a big rabbit out of a small hat. The Twins will have a major league second baseman next season. In fact, an All-Star second baseman in Luis Castillo. The new DH Rondell White is also real and exactly what Justin Morneau needs to meet last year’s expectations. What pressure the Twins placed on essentially a rookie last year. In addition to on the field difficulties with injuries, a bossy centerfielder and a crabby manager, he batted clean-up the early part of the season.

Did you know that in the average distance of home runs that were hit, Morneau finished second in the American League. He just needs to hit them a little more often. If Morneau and the new lineup can bring the team up to just average hitting, the team with its pitching can beat anybody.

Best of luck to all Minnesota teams this New Year, 2006.