I guess the change in my pocket wasn't enough.

I see you driving 'round town with the girl I love and I'm like,
Fuck you! Oo, oo, ooo
I guess the change in my pocket wasn't enough ... I'm like,
Fuck you! And fuck her too!

Like any heart broken soul, I've been looking for answers these past couple days.  Many of us thought this was "The One" year where the stars aligned and we had a story book ending like those of yesteryear.

Analysts have been attributing the Twins 12 consecutive playoff losses to many different reasons.  But please, don't tell us, "It's not you, it's me." We're beyond believing that load of crap. The Yankees being "clutch" and "play-off experienced" are popular lines of dribble, but what exactly does that mean? We appreciate the softening blow, but we're looking for cathartic answers here that will help us move forward.  Obviously, the Yankees are good, but I thought this year was the year we were just as good, if not better, than they were...   what went wrong?

Now baby, baby, baby, why d'you wanna wanna hurt me so bad?
I said, if I was richer, I'd still be with ya
Ha, now ain't that some shit? (ain't that some shit?)

And although there's pain in my chest
I still wish you the best with a...
Fuck you! Oo, oo, ooo

Here's the thing: nothing went wrong.  I'm gonna level with you.  As good as the Twins were this year, they weren't as good as the Yankees and Rays.  Many people have noted that the AL East is a much tougher division than the AL Central or West. This seems like a popular opinion, but is it true?

Let's check the numbers. It seems to me that an easy way to test this hypothesis is to weight every team's schedule as if they played an equal number of games versus each team in their league.  With 14 teams in the AL, a 162 game schedule would mean ~12.46 games per 13 opposing teams if we ignore interleague play.  If we weight each team's record against each division as if each team played every team in their league an equal number of times, we would come up with a pretty good strength of schedule approximation.

Here we see that the AL East has not always been the toughest division going back the last 10 years.  Going back to the heydays of the Seattle Mariners and Oakland Athletics, we see that the AL West was once a formidable foe.   However, they have dropped off mightily in the last few years.  The important thing to note is that in the last 10 years, the AL Central has always been the door mat of the American League.  On average for the last 10 years, they have accumulated 5 less wins per season than the Al East.

Okay, so what if the Indians and Royals have been bad?   The Twins have been good, right?  RIGHT?!!?!  Well, compared to what?  Let's look at the adjusted wins for an equal schedule over the last 10 years.

Yeah I'm sorry, I can't afford a Ferrari,
But that don't mean I can't get you there.
I guess he's an Xbox and I'm more Atari,
But the way you play your game ain't fair.


Never once have the Twins been better than the Yankees in the last 10 years. Twins fans were certainly not imagining things this past season when they thought this was the best chance for the team to beat their postseason nemesis.  Only in 2006 (when the Twins were swept by the Oakland Athletics) were the Twins as closely matched to the Yankees.  We had hope for optimism this season, but by no means should we have been expecting to advance over the Yankees. While the Twins finished 2010 only 1 game back in the standings from the Yankees, if you adjust for division strength they Twins were ~6 farther behind the Yankees.  In comparison the Twins were ~7 games better than than the White Sox in 2010.  How many people would have been shocked by a Twins sweep of the White Sox in the postseason?  Not many.  In fact, most would have bet on it.

The Twins certainly gave it the "good ole college try" this year.  With smart off-season additions and, at least attempts at, mid-season acquisitions, fans were convinced they were building a World Series team.  They gave large contracts out to many free agents and current players, including hometown hero Joe Mauer.  However, compared to the other Central Division teams, they have not differentiated themselves very much in the last few years.  They barely qualify as being the best team of the AL Central of the past 10 years.  Despite winning 6 of the 10 division titles, as many of us know, it came down to literally the last day of the season for the Twins to win those titles.


None of this will heal the wounds of Twins fans right now.  We have to deal with the 2nd straight off-season of being swept out of the play-offs, and that isn't easy.  Many fans are calling for Gardy's head, some are blaming the front office, and some are even blaming our stars of Mauer and Morneau.  Most of that is misplaced anger.  The reason for the Twins postseason failures is fairly benign and simple... the Yankees are better than the Twins.

I pity the fool that falls in love with you
(oh shit she's a gold digger) ...Well ... (just thought you should know n*gga)
Ooooooh I've got some news for you
Yeah go run and tell your little boyfriend

The difference between what the Yankee payroll can do vs. the Twins was quite obvious by the heroes of each of the ALDS games.  Game 1 hero was Mark Teixeira with his towering home run.  Teixeira was the #1 free agent a couple years ago and it was a foregone conclusion that he was going to be a Yankee.  They could outbid anyone.  But it's not just the blue chip free agents that the Yankees are good at acquiring. Game 2 hero was Lance Berkman, a mid-season acquistion for the Yankees.  Much too expensive for most teams to add as a bench player, the Yankees had plenty of resources to devote to Berkman.   In game 3, Marcus Thames was the hero, another role player for the Yankees that was signed in the last off-season. 

Now I know, that I had to borrow,
Beg and steal and lie and cheat.
Trying to keep ya, trying to please ya.
'Cause being in love with you ass ain't cheap.

Those expensive, albeit smart, signings by the Yankees gave them a dangerous platoon of Thames/Berkman to face either a RH or LH pitcher.  Meanwhile, the Twins had virtually no RH hitters on the bench to turn to when the Yankee stud LH pitching staff made its appearance this postseason.  As smart as the Twins are with their payroll, the millions the Yankees spend every year trumps smarts every time. That isn't to say the Yankees shouldn't be able to spend the way they do.  Their payroll isn't high just because they are in the New York TV market.  The Mets are there too.  Other teams spend lots of money without near the success the Yankess have had.  The difference is that they are a smart team and  have a huge fan base that is based on their winning consistently. The Twins are trying to establish that winning history in their new stadium, but one successful decade isn't anywhere near where the Yankees are.

Now baby, baby, baby, why d'you wanna wanna hurt me so bad?
(so bad, so bad, so bad)
I tried to tell my mamma but she told me
"This is one for your dad"
(your dad, your dad, your dad)
Uh! Whhhy? Uh! Whhhy? Uh!
Whhhy lady? Oh! I love you oh!
I still love you. Oooh!

Cheering for the underdog is so much more enjoyable than cheering for the team that is supposed to win each year.  It's like cheering for the House in BlackJack.  Where's the fun in that?  The Twins have given me some fantastic memories in my lifetime.  If having those moments means I have to deal with some heartache now and then, I guess that's the price of admission. That doesn't mean I can't be a little bitter, and in the immortal words of Cee-Lo Green:  Play-offs?  I still wish you the best, but...

Fuck you.

Cee Lo Green "Fuck You"
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