Contrast at the Sporting Venues

Last spring two sporting news stories earned national media attention.  Last night the culmination of both stories occurred.

My son Tad, who works in downtown Minneapolis, had been watching the construction of Target field from the office building in which he works.  From the first bull dozers and back hoes to the last finishing touches, he witnessed the creation of a very nice new ballpark.  Target field was finished in time for the “boys of summer” as the Minnesota Twins ushered in its inaugural season on Monday, April 12th against the Boston Red Sox.

That same spring, in the windy city, the Chicago Blackhawks finished off an incredible year, winning hockey’s coveted Stanley Cup.  On June 11, 2010 a grand parade on Michigan Avenue was attended by over two million people according to official estimates.  It had been 41 years since the Blackhawks had last won the Stanley Cup.

The Minnesota Twins had an exceptional first year in their new ballpark.  Target field is indeed marvelous, with all of the amenities one could think of in a baseball venue.  There was only one rain out and one rain delay during the entire season, and warm spring and fall weather made 2010 a time of fan delight at Target field.  The Twins won the American League Central championship, a well-established habit over the past few years.

Last night I witnessed the hoisting of the 2010 Stanley Cup Banner up to the rafters in the United Center on Chicago’s west side.  It was the Blackhawks home opener against the Detroit Red Wings.  It was a touching ceremony as the banner was brought to the ice by some of the remaining members of the 1961 Blackhawks Stanley Cup Champions and handed to the current players.  The likes of Bobby Hull and Stan Makita handed off the banner to Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, and other current Blackhawk players.  It was historic and touching.  For guys my age, who were teenagers when the Hawks last won the Stanley cup, the unsettling reality is that we may never see this again.  While the winning the Stanley Cup isn’t as important as peace in the Middle East or the invention of the light bulb, it is a legitimate marker in sports history.  What an evening it was!

During the hockey game I checked my cell phone to see how the Twins were doing in their playoff game with the Yankees.  The Yankees had won the first two playoff games at Target field and the Twins needed to beat the Yankees in the Bronx to hang on to their world series hopes.  Alas, once again the Yankees prevailed, beating the Twins by a score of 6-1.  As one season ended in disappointment, another season began with great fanfare.  Such is sports; such is life.

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