Like seventeen of my fellow Americans, I tuned in to Versus last night to catch a bit of the Canadians-Bruins hockey game. And lo' and behold, who was playing between the pipes for the Bruins but former Wild netminder Manny Fernandez. It wasn't Manny's night as Les Habitants put six past him and crushed the B's 6-1. But seeing Fernandez backstopping for Boston made me realize just how strong the Boston-Minnesota sports connection has become.
Twins fans have long followed the success of David Ortiz at Boston with a mixture of envy and bitterness at what might have been. Since joining the BoSox in 2003, Ortiz has clubbed 208 homers, driven in 642 runs, helped them win a World Series in 2004, and get back to the Fall Classic again this year.
Meanwhile, in the same five-year span, Twins designated hitters have hit twelve home runs, driven in thirty-two, and led to team to three first round playoff exits. Okay, I'm making those DH stats up, but the reality isn't much better.
Now, in addition to having to watch Ortiz warm the hearts of the Boston faithful with his powerful bat, Minnesota fans must also helplessly look on as ex-Viking Randy Moss lights up the NFL (again), this time wearing a Patriots jersey. Watching Moss effortlessly haul in long touchdown passes evokes memories of '98, made even more painful when compared to this year's anemic Viking aerial attack.
That's two game-changing players who once played here helping make Beantown the current center of the sports universe. You ready for a third? Don't look now, but just a little over a week from today, the new-look Celtics--featuring Kevin Garnett--begin their NBA season. If KG blows up in Boston and leads the Celts on a deep playoff run, it will be another bitter pill for Minnesota sports fans to swallow.
The only solace at this point is that the Wild are doing just fine without Manny. Bringing the Cup to Minnesota would do a lot to ease our Beantown envy.