Every year, Beloit College publishes its Mindset List, focused on the entering class of college freshman for that year. This is a way of highlighting the differences between those about to matriculate, and those who must try to teach them. It's a reminder that kids nowadays have grown up with different experiences. A sample, taken from the list for the Class of 2015: "Major League Baseball has never had fewer than three divisions and never lacked a wild card entry in the playoffs."
That's right: there are kids on college campuses today, studying to be the future leaders of our world, who are too young to remember when the Twins were division rivals with Oakland and Texas. It's never been strange to them that Denver or Miami had a baseball team, and jokes about George Steinbrenner running the Yankees into the ground and firing managers twice a year would go right over their heads.
With this in mind and 2012 about to begin, I think it's important to look at a few of these notes for the Twins, just so that we're all on the same page.
(A note: the ages assume that pretty much nobody remembers baseball from before they were five years old.)
- Unless you're 55 years old, Minnesota has always been a major league kind of place.
- 22-year-olds only know Kent Hrbek as the guy from the hunting show, not as a baseball player.
- Last year was particularly painful for 15-year-olds, who could never remember the Twins finishing in last place before.
- "Pat Meares is a franchise player" is a thought that's never occurred to anyone under the age of 20, or who is reasonably sane.
- You'd have to be at least 35 years old to remember going to Met Stadium. You'd have to be 25 years old to remember when the Metrodome was considered a home-field advantage, rather than a dump that should be bulldozed immediately.
- If you're under the age of 15, "contraction" is just a gross word from health class.
- Nobody remembers Scott Stahoviak; they purse their lips and try to picture him, but they always come up with Chip Hale.
- 38-year-olds might remember him as "Roy Smalley, All-Star shortstop;" 30-year-olds can remember "Roy Smalley, Occasional Infielder;" everyone younger only knows "Roy Smalley, Hair Farmer."
- Sure, make a joke about Bombo Rivera, but it's only going to draw a laugh if your audience is at least 37 years old.
- If you remember watching Harmon Killebrew blast pitches into the upper deck, you're at least 45 years old.
- Calling Tim Laudner "Buck Eighty-Five" is only funny if the person with you is older than 27.
- Unless you're over 30, the name "Butera" makes you think "Drew," not "Sal."
- You'd have to be out of high school to remember when the Brewers were in the American League, or played at Milwaukee County Stadium.
- Ron Davis exists only in the memory of others, unless you're 32 or over.
- If you're not well into your fourth decade of life, you can't remember a Twins manager other than Tom Kelly or Ron Gardenhire. You can't remember a GM besides Terry Ryan, Andy MacPhail, or Bill Smith, either.
- And finally: Let's say you're out of college, maybe 24 or 25 years old. You're probably working your first full-time job, maybe getting married soon. You might even already have kids of your own. You've done all these things, lived a quarter-century, and become a productive member of society... but you do not remember the Twins ever winning the World Series.
Well, that's kind of frightening.