RandBall: Minnesota sports fans were ruined by Lou Holtz and David Ortiz

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per RandBall:

Regret is a painfully strong emotion — one with which Minnesota sports fans are well-acquainted.

Just uttering the name "Drew Pearson" or "Gary Anderson" is enough to send a Vikings fan of a certain age down a spiral of what-ifs.

But our collective sense of regret, after a lot of good seasons but too few great postseasons, is perhaps too fine-tuned.

As a defense mechanism, we sometimes pre-imagine the worst — perhaps to feel relief if and when the perceived worst doesn't happen.

That's a tough way to live, and as it relates to Minnesota sports I blame two people: Lou Holtz and David Ortiz.

Holtz, of course, revitalized the Gophers football fan base with two promising seasons in 1984 and 1985 before using that as a steppingstone to a decade as Notre Dame's head coach.

Holtz's departure came almost 40 years ago, but the damage lingers. There has hardly been a promising — or at least competent — major coach to come along in this market that hasn't immediately made fans (particularly Gophers fans) worry that they could leave.


Go Gophers!!
 

We're still waiting for the first head coach since Lou Holtz to be hired away from any Minnesota pro or major men's college sports team. Brenda Frese is the biggest name head coach the state has lost and she was only here 2 years and left over 20 years ago.

Can any other state with P5 college sports and 4 pro sports teams claim this?
 

KG is a better example than Ortiz. KG was a generationally great player during and after his time at MN. Ortiz was a timing issue who found his groove with Boston. KG truly wanted to be here and win a championship here but then won it with Boston. No one "blames" KG for leaving, and we were all genuinely happy for him. But I think that's the regret MN fans feel -- like that Boston championship could have (should have) been with us.
 

We're still waiting for the first head coach since Lou Holtz to be hired away from any Minnesota pro or major men's college sports team. Brenda Frese is the biggest name head coach the state has lost and she was only here 2 years and left over 20 years ago.

Can any other state with P5 college sports and 4 pro sports teams claim this?
Some are. I know I don't worry about that happening.
 

KG is a better example than Ortiz. KG was a generationally great player during and after his time at MN. Ortiz was a timing issue who found his groove with Boston. KG truly wanted to be here and win a championship here but then won it with Boston. No one "blames" KG for leaving, and we were all genuinely happy for him. But I think that's the regret MN fans feel -- like that Boston championship could have (should have) been with us.
I'll respectfully disagree a little bit here. Ortiz was more than a timing issue, it was a philosophy issue. Twins didn't think they could compete playing long-ball so they wanted Ortiz to fit in more with the piranha culture and hit for singles.

You're seeing the opposite of that now with Luis Arraez. The Twins front-office didn't like him because he hit for contact and got on base. Their analytics tell them hitting .210 with 35 HR and 180k is better. As a result, they just might have traded away a player who has a chance to embark on one of the most special seasons since WWII.
 


I'll respectfully disagree a little bit here. Ortiz was more than a timing issue, it was a philosophy issue. Twins didn't think they could compete playing long-ball so they wanted Ortiz to fit in more with the piranha culture and hit for singles.
I believe that the way Ortiz described it, rather colorfully, was that the Twins wanted him to "swing like a bitch."
 


Yeah, David Ortiz didn't take off until he went to Boston and hit the steroids.
Oh, as if Papi and probably lots of other guys on the Twins weren't on the juice. To think otherwise is terribly naive.
 

The Purple did lose a bunch of Superbowls...that set the table for future sports related disappointments. As I like to tell folks, Minnesota just can't have nice sports things.
 



KG is a better example than Ortiz. KG was a generationally great player during and after his time at MN. Ortiz was a timing issue who found his groove with Boston. KG truly wanted to be here and win a championship here but then won it with Boston. No one "blames" KG for leaving, and we were all genuinely happy for him. But I think that's the regret MN fans feel -- like that Boston championship could have (should have) been with us.
What also stung about the Celtics winning it all, one of the other stars on that team was a Wolves draftee, Ray Allen (traded for Marbury). They should have hung on to Jesus Shuttlesworth in retrospect.
 

Oh, as if Papi and probably lots of other guys on the Twins weren't on the juice. To think otherwise is terribly naive.
Considering how rancid the Twins were for the first 5 years of his time here, it's doubtful that there were many steroids in the clubhouse.
 

I'll respectfully disagree a little bit here. Ortiz was more than a timing issue, it was a philosophy issue. Twins didn't think they could compete playing long-ball so they wanted Ortiz to fit in more with the piranha culture and hit for singles.

You're seeing the opposite of that now with Luis Arraez. The Twins front-office didn't like him because he hit for contact and got on base. Their analytics tell them hitting .210 with 35 HR and 180k is better. As a result, they just might have traded away a player who has a chance to embark on one of the most special seasons since WWII.
Fair enough. My point is that I don't think losing Ortiz weighs on the psyche of MN sports fans the same way losing Holtz or KG does. Losing Ortiz doesn't even register among my MN sports laments.
 

Agree with those that don't agree on the Ortiz part of the story but the Holtz thing is 1000% valid and it gets so frustrating to see fans panic about a major sport coach getting stolen away even though it hasn't happened in nearly 40 years.
 



Allister left for Stanford and Trachsel went to Ole Miss. So not just Holtz. ;)
 

Agree with those that don't agree on the Ortiz part of the story but the Holtz thing is 1000% valid and it gets so frustrating to see fans panic about a major sport coach getting stolen away even though it hasn't happened in nearly 40 years.
In this time the Gophers have poached the head coach of P5 Kansas (Glen Mason) who spurned Georgia the year before. The Gophers also poached TCU's sitting head coach, and the 13-0 hero of Western Michigan.

Minnesota took the sitting head coaches from Gonzaga and Kentucky basketball.

Yet under those coaches there has been one NYD bowl, 1 NCAA basketball tournament game won, and no Big Ten overall or division titles.

Meanwhile even Kansas has made a BCS bowl game, TCU made the Rose Bowl and CFP final, and Gonzaga and Kentucky are heavyweights of MBB.

We stole their coaches and didn't improve but the teams that lost them have mostly gone upward.
 

I'll respectfully disagree a little bit here. Ortiz was more than a timing issue, it was a philosophy issue. Twins didn't think they could compete playing long-ball so they wanted Ortiz to fit in more with the piranha culture and hit for singles.

You're seeing the opposite of that now with Luis Arraez. The Twins front-office didn't like him because he hit for contact and got on base. Their analytics tell them hitting .210 with 35 HR and 180k is better. As a result, they just might have traded away a player who has a chance to embark on one of the most special seasons since WWII.
It's a bit foggy to me, but I seem to remember (like I'm seeming to remember a lot of things with advancing age) that the Twins were preparing to send Ortiz down to AAA at one point and then Tom Kelly had to leave the team for a week or so to attend to an ailing (perhaps dying) relative and Gardy was left in charge. Gardy put Ortiz in the line-up and he redeemed himself enough to stick around for a couple more seasons. Tom Kelly was a pretty good baseball manager, but if a guy got in his doghouse, he usually had a difficult time getting out and for some reason, Ortiz seemed to be living on a diet of Milk Bones.
 

Fair enough. My point is that I don't think losing Ortiz weighs on the psyche of MN sports fans the same way losing Holtz or KG does. Losing Ortiz doesn't even register among my MN sports laments.
I agree. There is a bit of rearview mirror regret because they just let Ortiz walk, but he never generated the enthusiasm that either Holtz or Garnett did for their respective franchises.
 

Tom Kelly was a pretty good baseball manager, but if a guy got in his doghouse, he usually had a difficult time getting out and for some reason, Ortiz seemed to be living on a diet of Milk Bones.
Good point. TK probably knows as much about baseball strategy as any living human. But once the guys he came up with - the Hrbek/Puck/Gaetti/Viola era players started aging out or moving on, it seemed he had a very hard time dealing with some of the younger talent. Granted, some of that "talent" was borderline even at best.
 

Considering how rancid the Twins were for the first 5 years of his time here, it's doubtful that there were many steroids in the clubhouse.
Like has always been said about Bonds - steroids don't teach you how to hit a 100 mph fastball. But along with workouts can certainly help you hit it farther.
 

Fair enough. My point is that I don't think losing Ortiz weighs on the psyche of MN sports fans the same way losing Holtz or KG does. Losing Ortiz doesn't even register among my MN sports laments.
I have a fair amount of friends who didn't even know he played for the Twins. I usually say that a lot of great players start out on MN teams, and then find success elsewhere. :(
 

What also stung about the Celtics winning it all, one of the other stars on that team was a Wolves draftee, Ray Allen (traded for Marbury). They should have hung on to Jesus Shuttlesworth in retrospect.
I for one was pretty excited when the Wolves chose Allen and thought he and Garnett could be a formidable duo. Then the trade with the Bucks happened and I was stunned! The front office apparently didn't learn anything after drafting Rider and Laettner about the effect of locker room cancers!
 

We stole their coaches and didn't improve but the teams that lost them have mostly gone upward.
Gonzaga is probably the only case you can look at and say us stealing their coach truly benefited them as they went on an insane run under Few when Monson jumped ship after the first NCAA tournament run.
 

We stole their coaches and didn't improve but the teams that lost them have mostly gone upward.
In this time the Gophers have poached the head coach of P5 Kansas (Glen Mason) who spurned Georgia the year before. The Gophers also poached TCU's sitting head coach, and the 13-0 hero of Western Michigan.

I'd call it a stretch to say Kansas has gone upward since Mason left. Since then they had one good season in 2007 but otherwise they've only reached 8 victories one other season. Since Mason left they've had 22 seasons with a losing record! Three seasons with a winning record, and one season 6-6.

What TCU coach are you referring to? And how has Western Michigan gone upward from their 13-0 season from which we took their coach? Their best season since then was 2021 when they went 8-5.

Minnesota took the sitting head coaches from Gonzaga and Kentucky basketball.

Saying we "took" Tubby Smith from Kentucky is being generous. I'm not sure any Kentucky fans wanted him there anymore.
 

Sportswriters can’t believe people keep talk about topic … that sports writers themselves can’t stop pissing and moaning about!
 

I for one was pretty excited when the Wolves chose Allen and thought he and Garnett could be a formidable duo. Then the trade with the Bucks happened and I was stunned! The front office apparently didn't learn anything after drafting Rider and Laettner about the effect of locker room cancers!
Flip was a great coach and he and McHale had a great run, but I always thought that Flip was a little too point-guard centric in his approach to things.
 

I thought the topic was about Lou Holtz and how his departure for Touchdown Jesus ruined MN FB until the next ice age, not the Twins or Wolves.
Holz was a very flawed person and despite his success at ND they finally could not stand him anymore and they made him redundant.
He left most places with NCAA violations and that was the least of his character flaws.
MN would have suffered the same fate if Holtz had stayed.
 
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I thought the topic was about Lou Holtz and how his departure for Touchdown Jesus ruined MN FB until the next ice age, not the Twins or Wolves.
Holz was a very flawed person and despite his success at ND they finally could not stand him anymore and they made him redundant.
He left most places with NCAA violations and that was the least of his character flaws.
MN would have suffered the same fate if Holtz had stayed.
Minnesota did suffer the same fate with the Luther Darville situation. Difference was, we didn't win a natty.
 
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We're still waiting for the first head coach since Lou Holtz to be hired away from any Minnesota pro or major men's college sports team. Brenda Frese is the biggest name head coach the state has lost and she was only here 2 years and left over 20 years ago.

Can any other state with P5 college sports and 4 pro sports teams claim this?
Frese was here only one year.
 

I'd call it a stretch to say Kansas has gone upward since Mason left. Since then they had one good season in 2007 but otherwise they've only reached 8 victories one other season. Since Mason left they've had 22 seasons with a losing record! Three seasons with a winning record, and one season 6-6.

What TCU coach are you referring to? And how has Western Michigan gone upward from their 13-0 season from which we took their coach? Their best season since then was 2021 when they went 8-5.



Saying we "took" Tubby Smith from Kentucky is being generous. I'm not sure any Kentucky fans wanted him there anymore.
TCU was Wacker. Not getting your WMU response...
 

People thought Richard Pitino was a rising star in 2014 after nearly making the NCAA Tournament in his first season and winning the NIT. He was the heir apparent at Louisville and was definitely going to leave before too long.
 




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