Top-4: Most Heartbreaking Breakups in Minnesota Sports History

AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez
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It’s Valentine’s Day. But as we all know, we don’t get nice things in Minnesota so instead of enjoying a romantic dinner, seeing a movie and stuffing my face with chocolate, I’ve compiled my Top-4 Most Heartbreaking Breakups in Minnesota Sports History. Behold, the worst of the worst from when Minnesota teams said “It’s not you, it’s us”.

Grab some hot chocolate or maybe some ice cream. Bring the Kleenex too, because we’ve parted ways with future Hall of Famers, and struggled to fill positions in the wake of these massive splits.

So without futher ado, let us be miserable together, shall we?

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Randy Moss

Randy is one of (if not the single) the greatest wide receivers in the history of the National Football League. Randy came into the league with a vendetta against every team who passed on him in the draft. He quickly made his presence known with dominant play on the field… and antics both off and on.  The antics part apparently became too much for the Vikings to handle and they shipped him to Oakland for the 7th overall pick in in that year’s draft (plus an extra 7th rounder) and linebacker Napoleon Harris.

That first rounder (7th overall) turned into Troy Williamson, and we all know how that turned out (not well). Years later, the Vikings tried to make peace with Moss, acquiring him from New England to try and save the 2nd edition of the Brett Favre experiment during the 2010 season. The magic, however, wasn’t there and Brad Childress had him shipped back out after just 4 games and 174 yards.

Moss has wondered (along with the entire fanbase) what could have been had he stayed with the Vikings his entire career. He even had some fun with fans when a potential spot on the coaching staff popped up earlier this offseason at WR coach.

But he also admits he probably overstayed his welcome in his first stint with the team and we all know how much he praises the Patriots and loved his time there. Me though… I’m still bitter about the Raiders trade to this day… And Moss never even got his Super Bowl with the Patriots. Sad.

Player’s status: Both sides have moved on, and will always have those magical early years.

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Kevin Garnett

The Big Ticket is Timberwolves basketball and basketball in Minnesota will forever be linked to Kevin Garnett. But why is it so rare for us to see Garnett at the Target Center these days? Let’s just say his departure from the Wolves and subsequent interactions with the team since, have been the opposite of pleasant.

After finally getting a good team around KG, the Wolves rose to the top of the Western Conference in 2004 and nearly made an NBA Finals appearance but an injury to Sam Cassell proved too much vs Shaq, Kobe and the Lakers. That offseason, it was decided that the formula just wasn’t working. Garnett was traded to the Celtics for Al Jefferson + some peanuts, where he went on to win his NBA Title with the Celtics.

After being traded to, and wasting away with the Nets for a couple of seasons, the time came for a reunion with a young Wolves team loaded with talent. The band was back together. But then, Flip Saunders tragically passed away and the buffer between Garnett and team owner, Glen Taylor, was gone. 

The Big Ticket still harbored resentment for how the team handled his departure years earlier and then the transition of power after Flip passing. When Tom Thibodeau came onboard, Garnett took it a step further by saying Glen Taylor “doesn’t know shit about basketball“. This is definitely one of the more bitter breakups the Minnesota Sports scene has ever seen.

Player’s Status: Garnett is still very bitter and has no contact with Glen Taylor. He does still come around town every once in a while, which makes things really awkward for everybody else when they run into each other in public.

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David Ortiz

This is the perfect “I’m not ready for a long term relationship”.

Long ago, David Ortiz was a frustrating prospect for the Twins. He showed great power but struggled to play the “Twins way”. He wanted to hit bombs and the Twins wanted him to hit to the opposite field. He was deemed expendable by Tom Kelly and Terry Ryan so they designated him for assignment, essentially opening the doors to any team willing to give him a Major League contract.

Long story short, Ortiz went to Boston and became a (future) Hall of Famer. And he definitely still hates the Twins. Ortiz might be the most humiliating break up on this list, considering what he did in the playoffs over his career and just the amount of damage he did to the Twins after he left.

Big Papi single-handedly brought Boston a World Series, and seemed eager to prove the Twins made a mistake in getting rid of him. He’s only now known as one of the most clutch playoff performers of all time. We gave him away for nothing. I will also never forgive the Twins for this one, but Ortiz has tormented them enough for it by himself.

Player’s Status: Both sides don’t talk, with one side still super bitter. Ortiz calls out the Twins whenever he can. Probably going to stay that way.

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The Minnesota Northstars Themselves

Remember when Minnesota literally broke up with a hockey team?

And the team got everything. All was good in the State of Hockey, but then Norm Green got involved. The Wild Northstars were in need of a new arena (or massive improvements to their current one) and when the current ownership group didn’t get what they wanted they sold the team. Norm Green (who seems like a great guy) came strutting in and he kept the team in Minnesota for a little while…

But then he packed the team up and left for Dallas. He took the team, the logo, the players, and all of their beautiful history with him and left Minnesota empty. Then in 1997 someone new came along. Not quite the same as the first love interest, but Minnesota and the Northstars Wild both seem very happy with each other.

While results recently haven’t been as good as the early years, it just feels right to have hockey in Dallas Minnesota. The Dallas Stars will always be the one that got away. Oh yeah, they won a Stanley Cup trophy shortly after leaving too, so we can hate them for that.

Team’s Status: Both sides are happy where they are, but will always be linked because of their past. 

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Honorable Mentions

Stephon Marbury

Chuck Knoblauch

Marian Gaborik

Johan Santana

Kevin Love

Adrian Peterson

Alex Tuch

Minneapolis Lakers

Percy Harvin

There are SEVERAL. Minnesota sports teams are good at 2 things. Losing, and shipping off top players. Sorry if I’ve ruined your Valentine’s Day but this winter has turned me bitter and misery loves company. 

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Seth Toupal | Minnesota Sports Fan

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