Ross Aamodt has been through a lot in the last four years. The Waseca resident has seen his marriage end. He's lost his home to foreclosure. His manufacturing job was exported overseas, and he's had to make do with seasonal work and odd jobs ever since. But one thing has remained consistent.
"Yeah, they've been a couple of tough losses, but it's a small sample size."
Aamodt, 46, was talking about the Minnesota Twins, losers of their first two games of the 2014 season. The most recent was a brutal 7-6, 11-inning loss to Chicago that saw Glen Perkins blow a save and the White Sox win on a Samuel Deduno wild pitch.
"Every spring since 2010, when the Twinkies hit a rough patch, I can say that it's just a small sample size. I mean, it's just April! It's a long season. Small sample size. Lotta ball left."
Of course, in the previous three seasons, the larger sample size showed a team riddled with flaws and unable to sniff .500, much less compete in the American League Central. Still, Aamodt holds out hope that 2014 will be different.
"You see the start (Kevin) Correia gave us on Wednesday? Man, we get that out of him every fifth day, and some of the new guys pull through? Perk'll shake the rust off, (Joe) Mauer and (Brian) Dozier'll start hitting like Aaron Hicks and (Kurt) Suzuki are, and we'll be playing games that mean something in August. "
When it was pointed out to him that Correia, Hicks and Suzuki's success could also be credited to a small sample size, Aamodt blinked once, and appeared to be holding back tears as he gathered himself to continue.
"There are 160 games left. 160. Small sample size. Got another game Thursday, we'll see what Phil Hughes brings to the table. Steal one at their place, we're 1-2 headed into the weekend. Cleveland ain't nothin' special, get her to .500 for the home opener. How 'bout that?"
Aamodt smiled, then added, "Yeah, it'll probably turn into poop by Memorial Day. But right now? It's a small sample size. That's all it is."