Wednesday of this week was the “shortest day of the year”. In honor of that, this may end up being my shortest column of the year.

After all, at the risk of many tasteless jokes following this statement, I know that being short is an accurate way to describe me anyway. While I certainly hope to be a play-by-play broadcaster, public address announcer, and radio co-host in the Northland for a very long time, there’s no way I’ll ever stand out amongst the pillars of our area personalities.

Why? I’m only 5’5” or 5’6” -- depending on the kind of day my knees are having.

All kidding aside, being short doesn’t have to be a negative. I got called out for “being negative” during last week’s radio show, but more on that later. There are plenty of positives that can be “short-lived”.

Sports has proven this to us multiple times. I’m not talking the likes of Willie Shoemaker or the controversial Jose Altuve. I’m talking legacy over stature. Many sports figures have made huge impacts in short stints with various franchises, and our Minnesota teams are no exception.

Let’s start with the Twins, who gave us memorable World Championships in both 1987 and 1991. Despite currently being known for offering dollar amounts closer to ’87 and ’91 contracts (and not signing any crucial weapons), the Twins have had a handful of rapidly impactful players.

Plenty of “hometown boys” have come back to Minnesota towards the tail end of their careers and could fit this category. Dave Winfield, Terry Steinbach, and Paul Molitor, all made fans giddy during rough seasons. Yet, the obvious ringleader is Jack Morris.

Morris went 18-12, with a 3.43 E.R.A. in 1991, his only season in Minnesota. He quickly left for Toronto to grab another ring in 1992.

Yet, thanks to the most memorable pitching performance arguably in baseball history in Game 7, people often forget it was a “one and done” scenario with Morris. Rumor also has it that Rocco Baldelli has watched the replay of the masterful performance and pulled him four separate times in the 10 innings of play.

A teammate of Morris in 1991 was Chili Davis, and as a childhood favorite, I put him in and feel it is deserved (it’s my list after all).

Davis appeared in just 291 regular season games over two seasons with the Twins and was considered a missing piece as a big bat in the middle. He paced the Twins with 29 homers in the ’91 season, a pretty big number in those days. The World Series likely doesn’t get won without him.

Yet the ultimate short-term big bat as a Twin was Jim Thome. He played in 179 regular season games with the Twins and bashed 37 homers, including his milestone 600th. In my lifetime, Thome might be the only Twin who could literally change a game with one swing. Factor in his veteran leadership, and he is still revered today. He left the Twins 11 years ago and the team still sorely misses a player of his caliber.

Roughly 17 years ago, Sam Cassell left the Minnesota Timberwolves after appearing in 140 regular season games. As much as I tried to embrace Marko Jaric, that trade still stings. Cassell sustained an ill-timed injury during the most magical season in Timberwolves history, which ultimately cost them a trip to the NBA Finals. Perhaps Cassell’s back was hurting from carrying the team as the only player who knew how to win.

Cassell gave the team edge, experience, and poise. He allowed Kevin Garnett to still be a kid who just wanted to play basketball, and not have to lead a franchise. Cassell combined with Garnett, Wally Szczerbiak, and Latrell Sprewell, for some of the best basketball Minnesota had ever seen. The thought of this team staying together for years would make the rest of the NBA blush. Alas, the team choked (insert Sprewell joke here), and was blown up quickly.

Despite good flashes, point guard play has never quite been the same in Minnesota since that time. For those not old enough to remember, picture a “Pat Bev” and Rubio combo who could actually score, or a “D-Lo”, who was always under control.

Having the goaltending situation under control is something the Minnesota Wild have taken pride in over the last several seasons, but this wasn’t always the case.

Ilya Bryzgalov, anyone?

Ok, I went way outside the box for this one, but Bryzgalov was the winning goaltender in what sadly could be viewed as the closest thing the Wild have to a recent meaningful postseason win. He made one save in just over 13 minutes for the victory. By the way, is 2014 still recent?

Bryzgalov played in just 12 regular season games with the Wild and started 11. He had a record of 7-1 and will always be a positive answer to a Minnesota sports trivia question. Definition of a quick legacy.

Then there’s the legacy of Brett Favre. Ask anyone who the top five all-time best quarterbacks are for the Minnesota Vikings, and it’s a virtual lock that Favre makes the list. This is both a compliment to Favre and a historical indictment on the Vikings at that position.

Favre had a magical 2009 and a forgettable 2010 with the Vikings – and was gone in a blink. When I think back to ’09, it just seemed everything was meant to be for Minnesota. The league’s best running back, a great defensive line, and a former Messiah of your arch-rival at quarterback seemed like an unbeatable combination.

Then I remember “12 men in the huddle,” an unacceptable throw across Favre’s body, “Bountygate” and a phantom pass interference – we all saw how it ended. I was so bummed I never got to use the Facebook status stating that Favre wasted all that time in Wisconsin just to win once. He could have come to Minnesota much sooner to win.

What does any of this have to do with right now?

Well, again, I was called negative (towards the Vikings) on last week’s show. The source who called me negative is also the ultimate optimist, so I consider it akin to me telling people they run fast – you all do compared to me.

I looked at my perceived negativity as more of a critical eye that sees the big picture. The Vikings are good, but they certainly need to get better. Yet it’s very possible, and likely true, that the defense mechanism of “waiting for the other shoe to drop” that is used by so many seasoned fans, takes the joy out of a successful season.

I’ll do my best to live in the moment and celebrate the wins instead of just breathe a sigh of relief. I already talked about the heartbreak of the first Favre season in Minnesota. Yet I shouldn’t forget how much fun I had being a season ticket holder at that time. We should know in Minnesota that sports success can be in short supply, so why not burst with excitement while we can?

Maybe instead of being a bit of a Grinch with the Vikings, it’s time for my heart to grow three sizes for them. Just please don’t break it. Yikes. I might struggle with this concept.

Speaking of change, I should have known better in terms of my own writing. The only thing that ended up short about this column – turned out to still be the author.

I hope you enjoyed it anyway, and I hope you “choose joy,” this holiday season. You never know how long or short it may last.

Brian's show, 'The Northland Sports Page', can be heard Saturdays from 10 am to noon on the FAN 106.5 FM/560 AM. You can catch previous episodes on the Northland FAN On-Demand area of our website or on our mobile app.

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