Derek Falvey and Thad Levine earned the moniker the “Boy Wonders,” but right now its easy to doubt them, and fans will start looking elsewhere for entertainment. The Twins are in the middle of a perfect storm, when it comes to fan support.
The trade deadline passed yesterday and the Twins stood pat. There were some rumors, a couple tendrils of smoke, but the fire never burst to life, dying as a cold coal in the stove. Basically, the front office said “This is our squad, and that’s who we ride with.” At least, thats the message a casual fan just received. And it couldn’t have happened at a worse time.
I said last night was a must-win. The Twins needed it, because with no reinforcements joining the banged-up roster yesterday, the team needed to prove to fans that was okay. Miguel Sano did his part, but another short outing from greybearded Rich Hill ended with another Taylor Rogers blowup and the Twins sixth straight loss, all to division foes. That’s 10% of the games they are scheduled to play. Included in that tally are two straight series losses, one each to Cleveland and Detroit. Freaking filthy rebuilding Detroit. Now facing the first-place White Sox (weird, isn’t it) at home the Twins had a chance to make a statement, but all we got was more of the same. Twins Twitter is in full-on meltdown mode, and the negative comments have been showing up. That’s a good barometer for the feelings around Twins territory. Anger quickly turns to apathy, especially when we provide other distractions.
The NBA and NHL are both still playing their tournaments. In some places, high school and college sports are firing up, but worst of all for the Twins, the Vikings are back. Minnesota is the state of Hockey, but when it comes to pro sports, the Vikings are pretty clearly the big boys in town (and not just on the offensive line.) Week one is rapidly approaching (under two weeks,) and its a big one, as the stinking Packers come to town. Unless the Twins can give fans a very, very compelling reason to keep watching, eyes will turn to the pigskin, and the hardball will be relegated to the notes at the bottom of the sports columns.
The Twins probably shouldn’t be too worried about playoff odds right now, baseball-reference.com is still giving them 97.5% chances of making it to the dance. The problem they should worry about is if anyone is going to bother watching. If they are going to keep the attention of the public, they need to prove something, and prove it quick. If they lose this series, it might be too late. Stumbling through to lose eight or nine of ten games, and three division series is going to be the end of the “pay attention” part of the season for a lot of people. It will be just another Twins meltdown, and isn’t that just how the Twins do things?
Meanwhile, if the Twins can heat up a bit and take the next two from the Sox, they’ll close the division back up, they’ll show signs of life, and they’ll hook people back in. What happens next remains to be seen.
When will you stop watching this season
This poll is closed
If the Twins lose this series
When the Vikings start playing
When it ends, and not a minute earlier