Let me tell you a story. It's a story about fandom, a coworker, and probably some other stuff that will hopefully make this worth your time.
I'll start here, I guess. I work with an older gentlemen who is probably in his fifties who is an alleged Twins fan and a (now) former season ticket holder. In that time it stands to reason that he's witnessed the ups and downs of the franchise, and of course both World Series titles. The latter makes me jealous, because being born in '88 means that I was born almost a year exactly after the '87 title and also too young to remember '91. You would think that a fan who has witnessed everything in the Twins' history would be able to stomach a re-build better than the one who who has been following the team for twenty years, right?
Ever since last summer when it became more and more evident that their were going to be no miracles, all any of us have heard is the same diatribe of, "They built this beautiful ballpark and they won't can't even put a winning team on the field"; "If they're going to field a minor league team they should only charge minor league ticket prices"; and "The Twins should trade Joe Mauer for Josh Hamilton (Because Hamilton brings in more RBI...)." I made none of that up, by the way.
Sure enough my coworker chose not to renew his tickets for the 2013 season, which I'm fine with; they should go to someone who actually likes baseball and the Twins, even when they're not winning. I mean, it got to the extreme this fall where someone would ask him how things were going and he'd reply with, "Better than the Twins' chances next season." I'm pretty sure he was doing his best to make me swear on the sales floor, but I bit my tongue and just shook my head in annoyance and disbelief.
(Don't worry, I won't turn this into a you-know-what-measuring contest over who the better fan is.)
As for me? I'm looking forward to next season, no matter how many L's may be in our future. Being a lifelong Minnesota sports fan of every team, I've watched a lot of losing teams, so another one is nothing to me. As a lifelong Twins fan, I sat in crowds of 5,000 during the mid-90s and watched the team bloom into the mid-00s. And that's what I'm hoping we're about to see again starting this season: a young team that takes their lumps on the way to 5-10 years of extended competitiveness. After all, the losing makes the eventual winning all the more sweeter when it does start happening again.
Additionally, watching those early-00s develop from prospects into starters, role players, and All-Stars was one of the most fun things I've experienced with any team. In the same way we saw Torii Hunter, Corey Koskie, and Doug Mientkiewicz become truly talented players, I'm excited to see how Kyle Gibson returns from surgery, what Aaron Hicks can really do in the majors, and of course Miguel Sano eventually.
Furthermore, I'm encouraged that the Twins are showing a trait of a well-run organization by knowing when your window has closed, and taking the necessary steps to re-tool for the future instead of toiling away in mediocrity as a fringe Wild Card team as my coworker would probably prefer. However, my coworker and I don't disagree on everything--Target Field is pretty fantastic.