It’s been an objectively tough few days for Minnesota Sports. First the Minnesota Timberwolves were eliminated in five games by the Denver Nuggets, ending a season that seemed like it was stuck in a downward spiral from the start.
Then the Minnesota Wild — who are supposed to be the adults in the room — once again lazily bowed out of the Stanley Cup Playoffs in the first round. A 4-1 loss at home after starting the series with a double overtime win once again reminded fans of how painful it is to root for most of the teams in Minnesota.
You’ve seen the stat, as it went viral and allowed for outsiders to laugh at our pain. Outside of the Minnesota Lynx, no Minnesota sports team has made it to a championship game since the Twins won the World Series back in 1991. Along the way fans have been subjected to heartbreaking moments like the 1998 NFC Championship game, the 2003 Western Conference Finals, the Brett Favre NFC Championship Game, and countless first-round exits by all.
Even the Lynx have fallen on hard times, and they were the state’s only savior.
No team is down as bad as the Twins, though. It’s been almost 20 years since the team last won a playoff game, but there’s hope that things will soon change. At the very least, Byron Buxton and the Twins gave fans across teh state something to smile about even if for a brief moment.
Byron Buxton unveils the most Minnesotan home run celebration ever
Buxton launched a three-run home run in the bottom of the third inning, which was the main headline until Buxton returned to the dugout. That’s when the Twins busted out a new home run celebration instantly taking the moment from being just another home run into being a true moment.
Prepare yourself for one of the most Minnesotan things you‘ll ever see.
It’s hard to articulate how hard that rules for so many reasons.
Dads across the state rose to their feet and saluted with pride at the sight of that fisherman’s vest. Some may even have shed a tear with the dopamine hit of watching Buxton hit a home run and instantly being reminded of that big Muskie or Walleye they reeled in that one time.
While the home run celebration was goofy and unique, the reason it rules so much is how hard it embraces and validates the state’s identity. It also signals that the Twins aren’t just a grey slate, they have a tightly woven clubhouse culture.
When there were rumors that Carlos Correa might be returning to the Twins after burning the Giants and Mets (and the Twins once already), the national media scoffed at the idea he’d go to a team that was so bland. Minnesota isn’t among the coastal elite nor has it ever been a flashy and notable ball club.
That’s what made the ‘Land of 10,000 Rakes’ moment so meaningful. Some might overlook the Twins as a fun ball club but you don’t have to look hard to see that it’s a team of guys who are not only fully bought into the mission, but are building something special.