With the Major League Baseball season starting today, and the Twins starting their season tomorrow, baseball fever is everywhere. Here in Minnesota, the pressure is on for the Twins as the Gophers, Vikings, Wild, and Wolves have left the sports loving masses desperate to cheer for something, someone, anything, anyone. A winning Twins season would raise spirits, heal wounds, save marriages, and lead to the birth of new, lovely feelings of contentment across the upper mid-west.
As if the pressure on the team from inside the borders of our fine state wasn't enough, the Twins have fans stretching from Western Wisconsin to the Dakotas, and Winnipeg to Iowa. It seems, however, that some of our friends in Twins Territory are starting to have second thoughts and some mixed loyalties are creeping in. I for one, am a bit hurt and confused by this sudden defection.
I'm looking at you, Rapid City, South Dakota. Yes you, oh lesser known host of the Sturgis motorcycle rally. Don't think we here in Minnesota don't know how important your city is to that blessed event, to the success of the fine professional sports teams we have here in Minnesota, oh, and to the Wild as well.
As baseball season inches ever closer, my Google Reader feed begins to fill with stories of the Twins, and one caught my eye. It seems our friends in Rapid City are starting to become... get this... Colorado Rockies fans. Now, I know the facts of the matter, as stated in the article from Danny Lowhon of the Rapid City Journal. Rapid City is closer to Denver than to Minneapolis. I get it. Mileage is important these days, what with gas prices and such.
However, don't let the recent failures of the local sports scene send you scampering for the relatively calm port of Denver. While the Broncos may be better than the Vikings (right now), and maybe the Nuggets are better than the Timberwolves (forever), the Wild are still technically better than the Avalanche, and we won't get mad at you for making fun of our heroes. Heck, we encourage it, as it is the top tactic in our passive-aggressive attacks on our favorite teams.
Regardless of all of that, you have to stick with us, at least on the Twins. Denver doesn't need you, they have Oklahoma, Utah, New Mexico, Arizona, and they stuck their airport in Nebraska, so they must love them more than you, anyway. You want to play second fiddle to Nebraska? Heck, Colorado doesn't even share a border with South Dakota. You really want to support a state that refuses to even touch you?
After all we have been through together, Rapid City, you would turn your backs on us in our time of need? Don't you remember the fun we had making fun of North Dakota wanting to change its name to "Dakota?" Or the fun we have making fun of Iowa for... well, everything?
OK, OK. Sure, Denver is almost 300 miles closer to you. Big deal. You still have to drive through Wyoming or Nebraska to get there. It's like they set up body guards to make sure you are cool enough to get in. It's like high school all over again with them. We accept you for who you are, just the way you are. Always have, always will.
Unless you're a transplant from North Dakota, in which case we will mock you mercilessly. Sorry, it's in the contract.
So, Rapid City, we are begging. Pleading. Don't leave us. We love you and want you to be happy, unlike those jackals in Denver. We have a long history. We've helped you with your professional baseball needs since 1965. Those whippersnappers in Denver have only been around since 1993. You would probably have to teach them what a home run is, and they will spend the whole game talking about business, I promise you that.
Yes, Rapid City, Denver is a terrible match for you. They will take your hard earned money, and then have someone from... (quick, what's a big city in Wyoming?) Cheyenne "escort" you to the border and throw you out. They even went out and stole someone else's hockey team, just to impress you. We haven't ever stolen a professional sports team. Well, unless you count the Twins, but we've had two stolen, so it's fair.
You have a tough decision on your hands, Rapid City. We want you to know we will still love you, no matter what. We will still come and visit, and spend our money in your fair city. You think Denver is going to do the same? Yeah right. They once told Colorado Springs the same thing and never showed up. Left them sitting in the restaurant all alone. And they're in the same state. You think they won't stand you up, too?
You should listen to Rapid City resident, and American hero Dave Ziebarth:
"In playing softball, I know quite a few Rockies fans. I think in my own experience, more people talk about the Rockies than the Twins," he said. "But I've got to tell you, I notice more Twins apparel. So deep down, I believe we're more of a Twins town."
Darn right you're a Twins town. Always have been, right? No sense switching horses now. Who do the Rockies even have on their team? Jose Morales? Psh. We have Joe Mauer, people. Joe freaking Mauer. The guy drinks milk by the gallon. That Morales guy would probably slip you a ruffie and take your honor. Not sayin... just sayin.
One thing that really concerns me here, Rapid City. Seems your loyalties are, let's say, fleeting. Your local Pro Shop owner, All Keller said this about you:
"When the Rockies first came into the league, they had a strong following," Keller said. "And toward the end of last year, there was a little more Rockies stuff going. But I've never had people coming in looking for (San Francisco) Giants stuff all year long last year, and then they win the World Series, and everybody's looking for their stuff."
Bandwagon fans? No one wants to be a bandwagon fan, do they? Next you'll tell me you're going to cheer for the Yankees. Ugh. You cheer for the Yankees, and we're through. You understand me? That's just not cool.
Seriously, though, Rapid City. We love you here in Minnesota. We love South Dakota, we love the Black Hills, we love Mount Rushmore, we love Strugis, and we love you. I bet Denver doesn't even know your name. Come on. Stick with us, and stick with the Twins. They love you, too. Alway have, always will.
Besides, if you decide to leave us, we will be forced to lump you in with your northern neighbors and auction you off to Canada.