It’s sad how easy it is to make this list. Every Minnesota Sports fan has their own list in their head about getting their hearts ripped out. Well let’s reopen the wounds once again. Here are my top 10 most heartbreaking Minnesota sports moments. I only picked moments that happened since I was born, which was 1988. Don’t worry, still plenty of sadness to go around.
- Wild Get Swept in 2015
NHL fans always hear the term “riding the hot goaltender” to the championship. That’s exactly what the 2014-2015 Minnesota Wild had after they traded for Devan Dubnyk. The team struggled to an 18-19-5 record before getting Dubnyk from Arizona on January 15th. After that, the team pushed into the playoffs with a 28-9-3 record. Dubnyk was great for the Wild, with a 1.78 GAA over 39 games. Pairing him with stars Zach Parise, Ryan Suter, and a cast of up-and-comers, the team looked like they had a shot at the Cup. After making pretty quick work of St. Louis in the 1st round, the Wild ran into the Chicago Blackhawks in the second round. The results were…not very good. Four games later, the season was over. The organization, and Dubnyk, haven’t really recovered since then.
- Not Drafting Steph Curry
This one is totally hindsight, but man it looks bad now. The 2009 NBA draft was full of point guard prospects, and luckily the Timberwolves had a need at that position and four 1st round picks. The Wolves ended up selecting three…yes three…point guards with their first three picks. Oh cool, so one of them was probably the best shooter in NBA history Steph Curry right? Nope. It was Johnny Flynn, Ricky Rubio (both taken before Curry), and Ty Lawson.
Now there was some question marks surrounding Curry going into the draft, but looking back at it now, oh boy. Lawson went to Denver in a trade for nothing, Rubio was good but not great, and Flynn had a sweet smile, wore a cool headband and then went to play over in Russia I think.
- Minnesota Blows Big Lead To Michigan
It looked like the start of a magical season. The 2003 Minnesota Golden Gophers football team was stacked with 2 legit NFL running backs and an amazing offensive line. They started the season 6-0, and they were dominating Michigan through three quarters. It looked like a win that would have put the team in the top ten with a chance to play in the Rose Bowl. Instead, the team blew a 28-7 4th quarter lead.
If you want to be even more depressed, check out Chip Scoggins’ article in the Star Tribune from 2013. He talked with players from that Gophers team, who say it was a loss that changed the program’s future.
- M and M Injuries
This one is tough for me. Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau were an amazing duo. Mauer was the on-base machine playing a premium defensive position, while Morneau was the hard-hitting 1st basemen who drove him in. They were young and good friends, so it looked like the future was bright. However, both suffered brain injuries that derailed their careers.
Mauer before his concussion that moved him from behind the plate hit .323/.405/.468 and .277/.360/.387 after the injury. Morneau hit .286/.358/.511 before his concussion and .275/.331/.433 after. Sadly, both superstars never fully reached their potential because of injuries, and neither did the Twins.
- Blair Walsh
I knew it was coming. Other people who I’ve talked with say they knew it was coming, but it’s still lame. The Vikings were hosting a very cold wildcard game. Offense was hard to come by, but Teddy Bridgewater was able to march the team down to give Blair Walsh a shot at a 27-yard field goal. That’s right, 27 yards. That’s closer than an extra point now-a-days. However, it wasn’t close enough for Blair Walsh. He missed the kick wide left, and it never had a chance. Seattle won by one.
Yes, Walsh made three field goals in terrible conditions that day to give the Vikings a chance, but it’s the one that he missed that everyone will remember. It’s also the only one on this list that I actually started laughing after it happened. I guess I’m used to it by now.
- Wolves Trade KG
In my eyes, Kevin Garnett was larger than life. He was really the first athlete I worshipped growing up. KG carried multiples teams to success, including the awesome run to the Western Conference Finals in 2004. However, as the team started to struggle, it was time to move on from Garnett.
The Timberwolves traded him to Boston, and he ended up winning his much-deserved championship. The Wolves got…Al Jefferson? Ryan Gomes? I think Sebastian Telfair was in there? Some draft picks that meant nothing? Whoever it was, it never replaced the hole in my heart after KG left.
If you’re a Vikings fan, there are two years that are etched into your memory, for all the wrong reasons. 2009 is one of them. That team, led by Brett Favre, yep Brett Favre, had a magical run to the NFC Championship game.
A lot went wrong in this game, but somehow they were in position to kick a game-winning field goal. Then, Favre gotta Favre, and he threw across his body for an interception to send the game into overtime. And we all know how it went in overtime. Man this hurts even just writing it.
- North Stars Go South
I was pretty little when this happened, but I kind of remember it, and it wasn’t cool. We call ourselves the State of Hockey, but in 1993, Norm Green moved the North Stars to Dallas. There were a lot of reasons for the relocation, none of them good, but it left a fan base angry and frustrated. The team had pretty recent success, including a tough loss in the 1991 Stanley Cup Final.
Then in 1998, the Dallas Stars (groan), won the Stanley Cup. The team was led by superstar Mike Modano, who was a first overall pick by the North Stars in 1988. Luckily, Norm Green had to sell the team in 1996 because of financial problems, so he wasn’t a part of the championship team.
- Twins October Failures
Baseball is my favorite sport, so seeing my Twins do this to me year-after-year is so tough. The Twins had a lot of young, talented players who came through the pipelines in the 2000’s. They were able to translate that to regular season success, with 6 division titles from 2002-2010. However, it didn’t translate to postseason success. During that timeframe, they won 1 playoff series and went just 6-21. That’s a .222 winning percentage. Let me look…yep that’s bad. Add into the fact that since 2005, every other team in the AL Central has made it to the World Series, October hasn’t been friendly to the hometown 9.
This tops my list because they seem so unstoppable. Explosive offense, opportunistic defense, consistent special teams, the Minnesota Vikings had it all. Then, well…you know what? I can’t do this. It’s been years, but it still hurts too much. Look it up. They lost. It sucked. I’m going to bed.
You can check out my small little personal blog here: https://heartbreakheroes.blogspot.com/