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The 2012 season has been another lost season for the Twins, but if we look closely, perhaps everyone involved can learn something from this year.
The Twins are in Toronto this week for three games that will likely be remembered by no one involved, with the possible exception of a batting title chase. This closes out a 90-odd loss season for Minnesota, the second straight in which this former perennial contender has floundered from the first pitch to the final out. It'd be entirely forgettable, 2012 - unless we can learn something from this year.
For one thing, Terry Ryan taught us that if you want something done right, you'd better do it yourself - or at least not to trust that guy who's been sucking up to you around the office for years.
For another, Joe Mauer taught us that no matter what you do, some people are just going to dislike you, and that's all there is to that.
Carl Pavano and Alex Wimmers taught us the value of getting a second opinion from someone you trust, preferably someone that actually went to medical school and doesn't just have a computer with access to WebMD.
We learned from Francisco Liriano that leopards can't change their spots, not even if the pitching coach tries really, really hard, and from Nick Blackburn, we learned that sometimes it's best to just cut your losses and move on.
We learned from Brian Dozier that, if at first you don't succeed, sometimes things are so bad that we're just going to let you dangle out there, not succeeding over and over again.
There's Scott Baker, who made us consider whether survivor's guilt applies to baseball teams.
And there's Anthony Slama, who reminded us that in every profession, even baseball, sometimes being outstanding isn't enough to be recognized by the boss.
From Tsuyoshi Nishioka we learned about honor, specifically the honor to give in as a member of the front-office staff holds a loaded pistol to your head and demands that you sign a request to be released from your contract.
Rene Rivera taught us about Twitter's power to broadcast bitterness around the world.
And Jeff Gray taught us that, no matter how consistently unsuccessful you might be, sometimes a guy can just hide out for months and months with nothing happening. (Though this is something we should have learned a long time ago from Alexi Casilla.)
But hey, it's not all bad. Glen Perkins taught us that even when it looks like you've burned your bridges, sometimes it's possible to go home again.
So what did we learn from this year? We learned that hope dawns eternal, and that just as we thought 2012 might be the year to turn around the 2011 disaster, we'll hope the same once 2013 begins. You won't be missed, 2012, and we've learned something. We're smarter now, we hope. Bring on 2013.