Like everyone, I was frustrated all those years the Twins got swept in the first round. But some of that was just dumb-ass bad luck. Imagine a healthy Liriano in 2006. A healthy Morneau and Nathan in 2010. Phil bleepin' Cuzzi. Not to say the Twins got hosed those years, because bad luck is part of the game. Just that they've put together some damn good teams.
More importantly, for my purposes, playoff season is a month long. The regular season is six months. Up until recently, the Twins have made those six months fun. Let's say they won it all in 2010. Would 2011, 12, 13, 14, 16 be acceptable because of that recent title? Not to me.
If I want to watch baseball, and I do, I can watch the Saints, and I do. What gets me to pony up bigger bucks for a Twins game? This soap opera of watching those top competitors at their profession strive to be best on the planet. It's like "A Chorus Line" for real.
That's what separates MLB from minor-league or unaffiliated teams, or town ball or school games. They're all fun. Yet inside each of us there's a little ambitious bastard screaming to get out. To shout "top of the world, Ma!" MLB gives that little bastard one way to live vicariously through a manufactured contest which is ultimately harmless. I mean, racing to develop a polio vaccine matters. Racing to the World Series doesn't.
This is important. It's why cultures everywhere throughout history tell stories of ambition and greed and murder and unbridled lust and rooting for the Yankees.
Because it's better to vent these feelings vicariously than to act on them. We've all had coworkers we wanted to just go away. Watching James Bond blow up the bad guy's secret volcano lair satisfies our inner bastard.
Living in a society means we'll have people who drive us nuts, people we're attracted to who aren't attracted to us, all kinds of interpersonal frustrations. Society collapses if we act impetuously on those frustrations.
Comedy and drama (I'd argue sports are both) give play to our inner bastards and keep them right where they belong; the devil on one shoulder saying "it would be so wicked awesome to do this." So the angel on our other shoulder, aka real life, can say "yes, but it would be wrong."
On this score, the 2000s Twins were good to me. I want baseball to be my soap opera for the better part of six months. If the team's out of contention by July, it's like there's something missing in my life. If they're out in October, well, basketball starts pretty soon, and I can catch up on my Netflix queue. Or, I dunno, read a book or something.
And to those who consider non-championships a failure? Have at it, my friends. That's baseball; we each enjoy it for different reasons. You're a little bit country, I'm a little bit rock-and-roll, it's all good.