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Opinion

Minnesota teams look to shine

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September 21, 2006

It’s not easy to come up with an exciting column topic to begin the new school year.

In fact, I sat around for a long time going through ideas, hoping to come across something interesting.

I do realize that I’m never going to find something that everyone will like.

Our university is very close to the Minnesota border. In fact, the city of River Falls is considered a suburb of the Twin Cities. Our proximity to the Land of 10,000 Lakes helped me to decide what to write about this week.

I believe that this is the year for Minnesota sports teams. It’s going to be time to make Minnesota fans proud.

While the professional football season is young — only two weeks old — I believe the Vikings are going to do well.

The Vikings began this season with a new head coach and a new starting quarterback. Brad Johnson proved himself last season replacing the injured Daunte Culpepper. Now, Johnson is finally getting his time to shine as the starting quarterback.

At first I was upset about the Culpepper trade to Miami, but after seeing how capable Johnson is, I’ve changed my mind. He also has capable backup quarterbacks who the purple and gold can count on.

While the Vikings were a little rough around the edges during the pre-season games, they have played tough in the regular season. The Vikings have found a way to win both their games and enter this weekend at 2-0.

Besides the Vikings, Minnesota fans have the Twins to follow.

I have always liked the Twins, but after going to a few of their games this summer I am even more of a fan.

I, like a huge number of other ladies, believe Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau and Joe Nathan are some of the hottest guys in baseball. But I also learned a lot about baseball this summer. I learned about batting averages, slugging percentages, earned run averages, pine tar and everything in between.

The 2006 Twins seem to be able to win when it counts.

In the last 10 games, Mauer and company have won eight, making the Twins the hottest team in baseball.

As of Wednesday they were 4.5 games ahead of the Chicago White Sox in the American League Wild Card race. The Twins are also only half a game behind the Detroit Tigers.

With that, the Twins’ playoff chances are looking pretty good. If they win the wild card, they would probably be playing the Oakland Athletics, and if they win the division, odds are that they would play the New York Yankees.

I believe the Twins can take on anybody in the playoffs. The entire batting order has contributed to this season.

Mauer was a spark early on, especially in June, but he has dwindled a bit. His batting average is still high, but is not near the .392 clip he topped off at.

I think Morneau is the best hitting Twin right now. His hot bat has helped keep the Twins alive in a number of games. His slugging percentage and batting average are both high. He also has more than 30 home runs and more than 100 RBIs. He is a consistent force that Twins opponents have to reckon with.

The young players on the Twins pitching staff have also come around to replace the injured Brad Radke and Fransisco Liriano. Boof Bonser and Matt Garza took a few games to get settled, and are now playing well.

I look forward to seeing what both the Twins and Vikings can do in the rest of the season.

Sarah Packingham is a former member of the Student Voice staff.