Top 10 “What Ifs” In Minnesota Sports History [Video]
Every Wednesday I usually write a top ten list, from top ten players from Minnesota, to not top ten Timberwolves draft picks. Instead of compiling stats, and players to produce a list, lets put on the “what if hat” and think about what if things went different in these ten moments in Minnesota sports history. I tried to get enough of each sport, hope you enjoy.
What if Minnesota Twins never got Target Field?
People all across the the land of 10,000 lakes are probably ready to come tar and feather me, but hear me out. The reason why we are paying Joe Mauer 23 million a year, is because Target Field has generated so much revenue for the Twins they decided to pay someone who only hits less then 10 home runs a year, barley gets over 50 RBI, and hits over .300. Do not get me wrong, I love Target Field; I have been to over 20 Major League stadiums, and Target Field is the best out there. Yet one thing I loved about the Metrodome is it created a griddy, and scrappy Twins team, you watch them this year; you watch a team comfortable being mediocre. The Metrodome played to the Twins advantages, and Target Field plays to the Fans advantages. If Target Field did anything to the Twins it made them soft. What if the Twins still played in the dome? would we be still see Mauer a Twin? Would the Twins become soft? Just what if.
What if the North Stars Never Moved?
We do have the Minnesota Wild, but when you walk around the Twin Cities you still see Minnesota North Star apparel. When you attend a Wild game at the Xcel Energy Center; and just so happen to look up into the rafters you will see a Division Championship banner, but no Stanley Cup banner, yet in Dallas there is a Stanley Cup banner hanging there. Would that banner be proudly hung in Minnesota if the North Stars never moved? I know the 1999 Stanley Cup Champion roster for Dallas only had three Minnesota North Star players(Mike Modano, Craig Ludwig, Richard Matvichuk), but its hard to think that a team six years removed from Minnesota would become Stanley Cup champions so fats. I think this what if about the Stars is dead in hockey minds across Minnesota, because besides that one champion year in Dallas the Stars have not done anything significant since; and now we have the Wild which has eased our pains from the North Stars leaving.
What if the score was 41-0 in the Vikings favor?
What if Minnesota Vikings started the game with the ball? Or what if Moe Williams never fumbled the kickoff? Or Kerry Collins, and Ike Hilliard never ate his Wheaties that day? Only the Vikings can lose so bad, that they get shut out 41-0. The game was over before the Vikings offense even got onto the field. But what if the Vikings beat the Giants? Would we have stormed into Tampa Bay and defeated the Baltimore Ravens? or would we be talking about another what if about that game? At least one thing the Vikings did good in that game was save us from heartache, I would rather see a 41-0 game then see another Brett Favre throw across his body(sorry about a Brett Favre mention).
What if Adam Kennedy never hit three home runs in game five?
The 2002 season went so well for the Minnesota Twins, that no one could see a player who has a career number of 77 long balls, blast three long ones when it mattered most. I remember this one vividly; I ripped off my Torii Hunter shirt, and said "I wont ever watch the Twins again", hate to break it to you, I am a hypocrite, since then I have been to every Minnesota Twins play-off games, and 19 straight opening day games, but lets say instead of Adam Kennedy becoming the next Barry Bonds, but lets say Luis Rivas goes crazy, and hits three homers in game five, but then continues that pace and hits a combined six home runs in three games? Would a pitching staff with Joe Mays, Rick Reed, Eric Milton, and Brad Radke slow down the San Fransisco Giants? or a lineup that had no player with 30 plus home runs or 100 plus RBI's keep pace with Bonds, Jeff Kent? I personally think that the 2002 Twins were one of the weakest teams the Twins had during their dominance in the 2000's.
What if Herschel Walker never wore a Viking Jersey?
I do not need to go into details about this trade, because every football fan knows that we the Vikings ended up trading Emmit Smith and Darren Woodson, and the Vikings got a running back that rushed for 8,225 yards, and only lasted three years in Minnesota, should I even mention 18,355 yards rushing for Emmit Smith? Which today is a NFL record for Running backs. So in other words the Vikings traded for a beautiful fast car, and over looked a dependable car. If Emmit Smith wore a Viking jersey he might not have had the same career like he did in Dallas. Yet wouldn't it be nice to know that the Vikings had the best running back in NFL history, and one of the hardest hitting safety in the NFL in the 90's in Woodson; and not to mention three Super Bowl banners that are currently hanging in Dallas.
What if Sam Cassell never broke down?
Lets flash back nearly seven years ago when the Minnesota Timberwolves were the best, only the Indiana Pacers won more games then the T-Wolves in 2003-2004. Yet Going into the Western Conference Finals, it would be only fitting for the T-Wolves to play against a team that won six NBA championship's in Minnesota before moving to Los Angeles and would go on to win 11 more championships in L.A. The T-Wolves were led by MV3 or Kevin Garnet, Sam Cassell, and Letrell Sprewell. The T-Wolves were NBA greats, even non-NBA fans watched the T-Wolves. 2003 was the time when Target Center was actually packed, not this only "10 thousand is a sell-out because we are to embarrassed so we cover up the upper-deck" that the T-Wolves do now. The T-Wolves were like what the Twins are today; in the way tickets were so hard to come-by. Lets just picture the MV3 were healthy when they had to face the "very-old" L.A Lakers of the 2003-2004 season. The Lakers were led by Gary Payton, Karl Malone, Shaq, and Kobe Bryant. If Sam Cassell was healthy its not hard to imagine the T-Wolves beating the Lakers, and could of defeated the Detroit Pistons in the NBA Finals, and then the franchise would of been saved. KG would of never been traded, Sprewell would have never uttered the most-famous line in Minnesota Sports history " I need to feed my family". Cassell would not have been traded to the L.A Clipper for Marko Jaric. Could it be by Cassell getting hurt cast a spell on this franchise? Just what if Cassell would of been healthy?
What if Gary Anderson makes "the field goal"?
What can be said that has not been said about the 1998 Minnesota Vikings? They were the best, the meanest, and ended up to being mortal. 15-1 season, and winning their last nine games by an average of 23 points. What could go wrong? With a little over two minutes left in the game, the Vikings were up 27-20; and the ball on on Atlanta 28-yard-line. Gary Anderson who has never missed a field goal in 1998. I wont give you the play-by-play of what happened the last two minutes of the game, and overtime, but at the end of the day the Falcons were heading to Florida for Super Bowl 33. Some say the Vikings would of trampled the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl 33, but knowing the Vikings history; something like Randy Moss catching a Touchdown to win the game, but drops the ball before getting both feet down in-bounds would of happened in the Super Bowl. Lets say what if Anderson makes that field goal, would we have seen our first Super Bowl victory in Vikings history in 1998?
What if Jean-Sebastien Giguere never got hot?
We all know the 2002-2003 season was lucky for the Minnesota Wild. But it was a Cinderella story that we did not want to see end. The Wild was the sixth seed, and knocked out Patrick Roy in the first round, and came back down 3-1 to beat the Vancouver Canucks. Yet then the Cinderella story came to a streaking halt when Giguere literally stopped the Wild in their tracks, by sweeping the Wild out of the Western Conference Finals. Who knows if the Wild could of beat the New Jersey Devils, yet What if the Wild swept the Ducks? would we have seen the Cinderella story end by witnessing the Stanley Cup being paraded around Kellogg Avenue? Would Marian Gaborik still be a Wild? Just what if.
What if Francisco Liriano never got injured in 2006?
Could of 2006 been the year for the Twins? We had Johan Santana at his best, we had the MVP in Justin Morneau, and Joe Mauer became the only catcher not named Johnny Bench win a batting title. 2006 was the only year besides 2002 that the Twins did not have to play the New York Yankees in the ALDS(American League Division Series). The Twins were so good, they could of arguably been the best team in baseball that year. Michael Cuddyer had over 100 RBIs, Morneau had 30-plus home runs, and 100-plus RBI's, and Torii Hunter had 31 home runs and 98 RBI's, and not to mention the "little Piranhas". A rotation with Santana(19-6) and a 2.77 ERA, and Liriano who was 12-3, and a 2.19 ERA before his injury. What could go wrong? how about a surgery called Tommy-John for Liriano. The post-season could of been so different if the Twins could of gone Santana, Liriano and then Radke. The Twins got sweept by the Oakland A's in the first round. Just what if the Twins had a healthy Liriano? Maybe the Twins wouldn't have just celebrated their 20-year-anniversary of their last World Series Championship.
What if Brett Favre never threw to Sidney Rice?
Two years ago we witnessed a helicopter chase of Brett Favre. Then we went on an amazing ride with Favre. The Vikings destroyed their way to the NFC championship game, they even destroyed the New Orleans Saints in the NFC Championship game. Favre three over 100 more yards then Drew Brees, Adrian Peterson rushed 122 yards, and scored three touchdowns. Yet with 2:42 left in the game, and the score tied 28-28, the Vikings drove to the Saints 33-yard-line, the next two plays both Peterson, and Chester Taylor rushed for no gain. After a timeout the Vikings could not count to 12, and were flagged for having 12 men on the field. Now with the ball on the 38 yard line, and at best it would be a 51-yard field goal. Instead of just giving the ball to Peterson and see what he could of done, Favre rewrote his career(AGAIN), I wont tell you about it because everyone knows about it. What if Favre completes that pass? Would The Vikings go on to win the Super Bowl over the Indianapolis Colts? All I have to say is thank you Favre for the most interesting two years of Viking football I have ever watched.