Springtime is a phenomenal time to be a sports fan.
It starts with March Madness, which was better than ever this year. Baseball season kicks off. The NBA and NHL playoffs get started. Even football is in the fold, with the NFL Draft taking place at the end of April. What's not to love about spring sports?
However, it's not all sunshine and lollipops this spring in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.
The issue? The NHL and NBA playoffs are Minnesota-less once again this year. Both the Timberwolves and Wild are both in rebuilding mode (the Wolves for roughly the 6,405,026th time).
Both teams were several shades of awful at times this season. The Wild were a faux-playoff contender, but only because there are three points available in every NHL regular season game. That means every team stays in the hunt for most of the season, aside from the truly moribund (see: Oilers, Edmonton). The Wolves were just completely horrid all the way through.
On top of the disappointment in the winter sports clubs, Minnesota fans are still dealing with the hangover brought on by the NFC Championship game in January. There is also some hand-wringing over the will he, won't he come back Favre situation (I'm almost sure he will, incidentally).
Ordinarily, this would be a pretty glum spring for sports in the Gopher State. It's not though. Not even close. Why?
This is by far the most exciting start to a Twins season of my lifetime. The biggest reason is Target Field (pictures of my first visit to the park available here ). The place is a palace, especially when it's contrasted against the Metrodome.
The 'Dome had incredible moments, including two world championships and the greatest World Series ever played. It's not a baseball stadium though. I never fully appreciated that until I saw Target Field in person.
The ballpark isn't the only reason for excitement though: This team is really damn good.
Their lineup is one of the deepest in the majors. Their pitching has been solid. The former chosen one, Francisco Liriano, looked tremendous in his last start. It's extremely early, but they look like the best team in their division and one of the best in baseball.
The stupid part is I know myself too well. The first time the Twins go into I slump, I guarantee I will be cursing their name right along with the Wolves and the Wild.
Screw it though. Let's enjoy this while it lasts.