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Minnesota Sports Franchises: The Ultimate Professional Farm System

PITTSBURGH - MAY 01:  Head coach Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers watches practice during rookie training camp at the Pittsburgh Steelers Practice Facility on May 1, 2009 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
Andy RAnalyst IJuly 7, 2009

If an NFL or MLB team ever needed a player, who do they look for? They go into the Twins or Vikings organizations.

Through the years, Minnesota franchises have done very well in bringing up great players only to let them walk and become superstars in other places.

Most notable is David Ortiz of the Boston Red Sox.

For six years, the Twins groomed Ortiz to be their designated hitter. After his best season with the team in 2002 where he hit 20 home runs and 75 RBI's, they let him go to the Red Sox.

Over the next six years of his career, Ortiz hit 231 home runs while driving in 731 runs.

How about Fred Robbins?

While he may not stand out as much as David Ortiz, Robbins played for four years with the Vikings before leaving for the New York Giants.

In his five seasons there, he has 23 sacks in 66 starts and has been a road block for opposing running backs since his arrival.

Of course there's Matt Garza and Jason Bartlet, who the Twins got rid of in one day.

Garza has posted an ERA of 3.70 in Tampa Bay in his two seasons with 223 strikeouts.

Bartlett should have been starting in this year's All-Star Game as he's only two home runs shy of tying his total in four years with the Twins.

Both are playing their best baseball right now.

You could also make a case for Randy Moss.

Even though his years were filled with run-ins with the law, he was the best receiver in the game. He's not happy with the direction the way the organization is being run so they trade him away. That's not always the correct way to settle things.

I don't care what he was like. He was the best at what he did and is now a role model for wide receivers everywhere.

It's not only players that the franchises are bringing up, but coaches as well.

The moment Mike Tomlin got enough recognition as a defensive coordinator, the Vikings let him walk and become the head coach of the Steelers.

What did he do? Well, he just won a Super Bowl with one of the most dominating defenses ever to play the game.

We are only a year or two away from losing our current defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier. He is supposed to be a Tony Dungy replica and I'll be damned if I were to let him slip away to another team.

The newest member Minnesota got rid of was Marion Gaborik of the Minnesota Wild.

While he's had his share of injuries, he was still one of the most dynamic players in the game. He didn't fit the defensive scheme well and wanted out.

The Wild finally got a new coach and are going to change, but without Gaborik.

It's tough seeing all this talent walk out of Minnesota only to find success elsewhere. I can only imagine what the Twins would be like with Mauer, Morneau, and Ortiz hitting together.

I can only imagine what it would be like having a Mike Tomlin for a head coach instead of a predictable conservative coach.

As fans of Minnesota, we forget these players because others take their place only to be let go sooner or later.

It's all part of life up here. We just have to keep waiting for the chance to strike it big. Until then, we'll have to settle being the farm system of the professional sports.

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