The new Twins braintrust of Chief Baseball Officer Derek Falvey and General Manager Thad Levine laughed off a cautionary note from longtime Minnesota GM Terry Ryan. Lately, though, the laughter has ceased.
“We dismissed it as the ramblings of an old coot,” said Levine. “We were wrong. We didn’t know. We couldn’t know. My god. My god.”
The note was left on the keyboard of Falvey’s computer in his Target Field office sometime over the winter holidays. Although unsigned, it was on Ryan’s trademark “Elf on the Shelf” stationery. It contained a curt, all-caps warning: “YOU’RE NOT READY!!”
“From what the staff told us, he wasn’t big on pranks or practical jokes, so we just kinda figured he had a senior moment or something,” said Falvey.
“Then...things started happening.”
Both men cited Trevor May’s season-ending injury as the moment that made them sit up and take notice.
“He was our best reliever and probably our third-best starter,” said Falvey. “And then his elbow blows up for the first time ever.”
“Injuries happen,” added Levine. “But you know how, when certain things happen, it makes you see other things in a new, different, more troubling light? This was that moment.”
“We just set up a thing where you can get into 30 games for $99,” said Falvey. “In a vacuum, you might say, ‘Hey, cool, build some enthusiasm in the spring months before schools let out.’ Now, though, you realize that nobody’s going to the games. Like, not anyone.”
“And (Miguel) Sano can’t stop striking out,” said Levine. “And there’s a non-zero chance Ryan Vogelsong, who we forgot we even signed, might make the team. As a starter.”
The note also has the word “croatoan” written on it. A reference to the Lost Colony of Roanoke, it has shaken both men.
“We live in constant dread,” admitted Levine. “I haven’t slept in four days. The only thing more terrible than the daylight is the night and its attendant terrors.”
“We didn’t know,” repeated Falvey. “We just didn’t know. We weren’t ready. He was right. My god. My god.”