Buying hope in Minnesota sports is risky

Published 1:05 am Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Column: Notes from Nashville, by Andrew Dyrdal

Hope is always on sale in Minnesota.

As sports fans, we crave it.

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It gets us through Mondays and gives us something to talk about at the bar.

Without hope we have only the realities of our favorite teams, which could be fodder for one of the saddest books ever written.

Hope in Minnesota has been on clearance this year. The Twins sold their prospects and the 2016 season at a record high, and the Vikings, who are the state’s top seller of hope, bought Josh Freeman to satisfy their investors.

The market share keeps growing.

The Wild have Nino Niederreiter, and the Timberwolves a finally healthy duo of Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio. (Michael Beasley was discontinued after falling short of expectations).

Hope for the Minnesota Gophers men’s basketball program went off the charts in 2007 when the team announced Tubby Smith as its head coach, and hope for its football team peaked before Jerry Kill’s third season.

The demand for hope in Minnesota is always at national highs, but regardless of what our sports executives sell us, it rarely yields results.

I fell victim to the bait-and-switch this weekend when the Vikings hosted the lowly Carolina Panthers at the Metrodome.

The team was coming off a bye, was healthy and had rallied around Adrian Peterson after two emotional days following the tragic death of his two-year-old son.

To top it off, Minnesota just acquired Josh Freeman, to whom Vikings fans — starved for hope at the quarterback position — could see as a savior. The Vikings were 1/2 of a game out of first place in the NFC North Division in the loss column and could’ve salvaged their season in a game they seemed destined to win.

Buyer beware.

I wish I could return all the time and money I spent at Jonathan’s Grille watching them.

When I talked to my dad on the phone on Sunday, I said Minnesota sports executives have some of the easiest jobs in the country. They don’t have to win but get simply an ‘E’ for effort.

“Can you imagine Lakers fans getting excited about Michael Beasley?” I asked. “Yankees fans content with 90-loss seasons on a chance they’ll be contenders in two years?”

I am approaching this winter with cautious optimism.

The Wild will have their first full season with Zach Parise, Ryan Suter and Jason Pominville, but are in an even more difficult Western Conference.

The Timberwolves have already been projected by ESPN to win 20 more games this season than last but have fallen short of expectations the past two seasons.

Hope is selling at an all-time high in Minnesota. Be careful not to buy too many shares.

Andrew Dyrdal’s column appears in the Tribune each Tuesday.