Two consecutive series dropped to division opponents (one a sweep), five straight losses, and suddenly all is lost for the Minnesota Twins.
At least, that is the case if one goes by the loudest comments.
It’s true that the Twins have struggled as of late, struck by injuries and underperforming in areas where they excelled last season. But there’s still a handful of weeks remaining in the season for the team to return to early-season form, for those injured to heal and for cool bats to heat up.
However, that’s not the point of this article.
The question I’ve been wondering, spending time online and being exposed to comments sections, is, “Why are there so many commenters this year casting the season aside as lost during times of struggle?”
From experience in this and other fandoms, I can think of three reasons.
After a 101-win 2019 and a record-setting home run barrage, the 2020 Twins went into the season as favorites to repeat as AL Central champions - a feeling that has been absent since the mid-2000s. But high expectations tend to turn to entitlement.
Here, I must confess that I am of one of the most loathed groups of creatures in the United States: a Patriots fan. Over the last two decades, I’ve noticed that a significant portion of Patriots fans are quick to call the season a lost cause once a few losses are tallied onto the standings.
Now, with the Twins expected to top the division but falling to third after a five-game losing streak, I’m seeing the same attitude.
Let’s not go there.
There are still a few weeks left in the season to heal and to turn around, starting with a key series against a division rival. If the Twins can win the series against the White Sox, they’ll be a lot closer to the top of the division.
That said, there is another reason I’m seeing for pessimism:
With only 60 games in the season, the Twins have a lot less time than normal to catch up. In this case, I get the reason for concern, but there is still the possibility of a turnaround. After all, the Twins started hot; there’s no reason they cannot get back to that level of play.
But I think there is one more reason some fans are already giving up:
A lot of Minnesota sports fans, I’ve seen, have the attitude that even if their team is strong throughout the regular season, they’ll falter in the playoffs, accepting this attitude of inevitable disappointment.
Pulling from my Patriots fandom here, I’ve seen teams that have dominated throughout the season and gone on to win the championship, and have seen teams with weaknesses make it much further than they would have been. The important lesson from this is that, while no game is certain, there is always a chance of victory, especially with so much talent on the team.
The 2020 Twins have had some regression but also a lot of bad luck, especially with injuries. However, they have the talent to overcome it and finish strong, pushing as far into the playoffs as they can.
This team is a talented team. Root for them. Don’t assume that they will disappoint you. It’s baseball — have fun.