There is too much coddling being done by the leaders of our major men's sports teams in Minnesota. The examples of this were egregious again in recent days, starting with Vikings coach Kevin O'Connell's reaction to events in his team's putrid 20-17 loss to Tampa Bay on Sunday in the Zygidome.
Right guard Ed Ingram forced one of Kirk Cousins' three first-half turnovers by knocking the ball away from the quarterback. And what did we get from O'Connell on Monday?
"That was truly something you'd love to have back, call a different play so that's not a risk," he said.
Call a different play, the man said.
How about this? "Our players came out on Sunday and said, 'We don't trust you, coaches. We don't trust you. We don't trust that the team wants to run that play.' It's rooted in trust, that play. And you mess it up, and then you come to the sidelines with that look, 'Oh, now you want us to help.' "
Or how about when Lewis Cine, who was injured In 2022 and has not delivered on his first-round draft status, runs off the field Sunday for no earthly reason as the Bucs are about to try a field goal, and the Vikings must use a timeout that would've been valuable later.
O'Connell: "That's not something we can have. That's on me making sure we're prepared."
It's on you, not a first-round choice who was not paying attention?
Remember all the times that your boss, General Manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, has told us about an organization that makes "intentional" decisions? This had to be the response to Cine's blunder, O'Connell: "It's a complete lack of focus and intentionality. That's not doing what you're told, what your job is."
Meantime, down the street from the Zygidome on Sunday, the Twins were at Target Field looking for a sweep against the New York Mets, among the greatest flops of the 2023 season.
Pablo López pitched eight scoreless innings and struck out 14. Rocco Baldelli's club rewarded him with not a single run — with the clutch failures including another from Carlos Correa in his endless string of those — in what became a 2-0 loss.
And what did Baldelli say postgame? "Even he," meaning Pablo, "I'm sure, isn't going to be celebrating the way he should. It just was beyond dominant."
So, that's it. You're just going to flush it, this waste of opportunity? This was what your team needed, Rocco: "Flush it? We're not flushing this. There is no such thing as flushing what we did offensively in this game. No. As hitters, you need to sit in it. Because you had an opportunity to do something special, to drive in a run, and thrice we didn't do what we needed to do. So, there it is. No flushing. Sit in it. Feel it."
If Baldelli had challenged his team with that graphic insult on Sunday, maybe the Twins wouldn't have come out Monday and fell to 0-4 for the season vs. the Tampa Bay Rays.
"It's obviously a tough group over there," Baldelli said.
This would've been better from the manager: "We have no clue. That could be the team we're about to play in the playoffs and it has a big-time clue."
Plus, there was a game Saturday at the on-campus football stadium, when the Gophers failed to cover the 21-point spread in a 25-6 victory over Eastern Michigan, a nondescript team from the nondescript Mid-American Conference.
Three times, the Gophers were deep and settled for field goals rather than getting touchdowns. And all Coach Proud 'n' Happy, aka P.J. Fleck, could offer was this tribute to his offensive line: ''They dominated the trenches."
Really. How about more touchdowns against a D-level opponent? How about: "It's not playing with the intensity we need, that grit. We were playing hard, but not hard enough."
Never has it been more clear as aficionados of all things Minnesota that only our wondrous winner — a four-time WNBA champion, now anointed as an Olympic team coach — has been forced to take on another huge responsibility on this sports scene:
As our men in charge offer their pablum, Cheryl Reeve, on the job with the Lynx since 2010, has been left standing alone as our Insult Coach — as verified by versions of the suggested quotes above after Sunday's loss in Indiana.
Reeve won 40 playoff games in those eight seasons (2011-2018) with Maya Moore and other superstars.
Already, the coach has added another playoff win since magnificent Maya's early retirement. And I wouldn't be surprised if telling her players to "sit in it" after Sunday's loss gets 'em fired up to add to that total when the playoffs start Wednesday at Connecticut.