Expectations have more or less bottomed out for the 2013 Twins. Nobody is talking about whether the pitching staff can be good, only about whether it can be better than last year's awful group. All over the field, fans' best hope is that they will see improvement - not competence or even mediocrity, but improvement.
With nowhere to go but up, then, the Twins open the season in...
... as sub-freezing temperatures threaten Opening Day. Bud Selig, off his medication, announces that the game will be played in Milwaukee.
Sid Hartman is tossed from a postgame press conference for repeatedly referring to Vance Worley as "Gump Worsley."
Fans witness an emotional scene at the Marlins-Twins lineup card exchange, as Mike Redmond holds a sobbing Ron Gardenhire while repeating "It's not your fault, Ron. It's not your fault."
Major League Baseball publicly reprimands the Twins' training staff due to a grievance filed by the Cubs, who allege that Scott Baker is receiving five calls a day from unlisted numbers, all telling him to rest and rehab his arm.
Minnesota returns Rule 5 draftee Ryan Pressly to the Red Sox. Says a team executive, "That one's our bad. We were totally thinking of somebody else and just got the names mixed up. After all, the guy's barely pitched above Single-A! Why didn't one of you say something?"
Drew Butera publicly begs the team for a raise, telling reporters that his cellphone bill, due to nightly three-hour talks with Gardenhire, is near to bankrupting him. "Neither one of us feels safe anymore," says a tearful Butera.
After such an opening month, about all fans can hope for is...
...when Chris Parmelee misses two days after being hit on the head by a fly ball. Though the team assumes that he'd simply lost the ball in the sun, the right fielder later confesses that he'd tried to get out of the way, but was just too slow.
After Aaron Hicks goes 0-5 with four strikeouts, Ricky Rubio tweets at him, "Stay positive and hang in there Aaron!!" with an attached picture of a kitten, causing the entire local sports blogger population to require treatment for third-degree swooning.
Reliever Josh Roenicke glances at a TV that is showing a Rockies home game, and misses a week while being treated for PTSD.
Samuel Deduno, after walking nine batters in his second start of the season, applies to the commissioner's office to be allowed to wear a Dominican Republic jersey on the mound.
Rich Harden tells reporters that his shoulder's starting to feel better, and that any day now, he might think about picking up a baseball.
A scandal erupts after Wilkin Ramirez receives a package of "advice" from his mentor, Miguel Tejada.
With optimism hard to come by, the calendar flips over to...
...when Tyler Robertson, having not pitched in eight days and desperate for some attention from the coaching staff, wrestles Kent Hrbek in a best-two-of-three-falls match in center field prior to a game against the Phillies.
Kevin Correia goes on TV to ask fans to please start throwing nicer garbage at him.
Rochester starting pitcher Kyle Gibson sets a Red Wings franchise record by throwing seven wild pitches in an inning.
Anthony Swarzak lands back on the disabled list, for injuries that the pitcher terms "Sasquatch-related."
Wearing an astronaut's uniform and with an almost painted-on frozen smile on his face, Jamey Carroll is inducted into the Lego Hall of Fame.
Trevor May agrees to settle a copyright lawsuit with MLB Licensing, as it comes out that the minor-league pitcher had been selling Twins jerseys with "DJ Hey Beef" printed on the reverse.
The temperature warms up all the way into the fifties as we head into...
...as Anthony Slama, having compiled a 0.00 ERA and saved 29 games in Rochester, is called up to the big leagues for the first time. His debut goes well, but is marred slightly as he completes his inning, as he is forced to jump into the first-base stands to avoid an assassin hired by GM Terry Ryan.
Glen Perkins finally convinces the team to re-introduce the bullpen car, but effectively ends the experiment by commandeering the vehicle and attempting to pilot it out of the stadium rather than pitch in a 14-1 loss to Cleveland.
Trevor Plouffe, who had muddled through the first half of the season, suddenly goes on a tear in which he hits .896 with sixteen home runs in twenty games, publishes research in which he unifies several heretofore disparate fields in theoretical physics, and writes a novel that the New York Times Review of Books calls "a deeply moving and insightful bildungsroman. One of the finest debut novels of this or any other generation."
The Twins hold "Sanford Health Workplace Safety Day" at the ballpark. The first 15,000 fans receive a complimentary x-ray and are invited to the team's newest concourse attraction, "Try To Guess What's Wrong With Justin Morneau This Time."
Dan Gladden takes a leave of absence from the Twins' radio broadcast booth, after a 6-3 win against Kansas City in which he gets distracted in the fourth inning and forgets to describe anything that happens for the remainder of the game. Says a K-TWIN spokesman, "It may only be his fourth-longest silence of the season, but we had to do something."
Casey Fien is disciplined by the team after he drinks eight Red Bulls in one afternoon and attempts to climb into the stands to attack a fan who was, quote, "thinking about looking at me funny."
Baseball begins to take a back seat in...
... as every local TV channel begins airing five minutes of Joe Mauer Child Watch. FOX 9 replaces the weather with a nightly segment consisting of an increasingly out-of-his-depth Ian Leonard trying to explain how babies are made without getting an FCC fine.
Nick Blackburn and Jamey Carroll, both fathers of twins themselves, release a joint statement giving Mauer the following advice: "Vodka is cheaper than whiskey. Good luck."
After Australian prime minister Julia Gillard makes a public appeal to his national pride, Liam Hendriks takes three wickets against England in his cricket debut.
Relief pitcher Jared Burton faces a scandal when it is discovered that his alma mater, Western Carolina University, is in fact not so much an accredited degree-granting institution as it is a hog-rendering plant and moonshine distillery.
PA announcer Adam Arndt, unable to keep track of the team's parade of relief-pitching options, begins announcing each successive reliever as "Charlie Pitcher."
As the trade deadline approaches, the Twins are fined by the league office for batting Josh Willingham eighteen times in a row in an attempt to pad the left-fielder's stats.
After such a long year, rosters expand in...
... as Twins fans get their first look at the team they've been clamoring for all season: the 2016 Twins.
President Obama, acting in what he terms "the best interests of the nation," cancels the three-game series between the Astros and the Twins, and for good measure, declares Houston a disaster area. For some reason, Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria applies for federal disaster funding.
With the team still struggling to find pitching, a confused and shell-shocked group of bloggers picket 1 Twins Way with signs demanding the return of Boof Bonser.
Pitcher Deibinson Romero, after battling floods, locusts, a hail of frogs, a volcano eruption, a solar storm, and a hurricane, finally resolves his visa issues and joins New Britain.
And finally, in...
... the postseason begins, again this year without the Twins.
Which isn't too surprising, even six months in advance.