Answer: Pirates, Indians, Marlins, Orioles, Diamondbacks, Rockies, Rangers, Tigers
Question: Which teams are very possibly further away from a World Series Championship than the Twins?
So, could it be worse? Of course, it could be worse. The Twins have a beautiful stadium and they won’t demand a new one for at least another 10-15 years. They have many fine young players with tremendous upside. Their uniforms are first-rate. The baby-blues bring us back to happier times, simpler times, pastoral, if not pastel times. The Minnie and Paul logo is outstanding.
All of that said, and I love you, Twins fans, I really do, (I’m one of you myself) but part of the reason it’s so difficult for us to have nice things (as in championships and playoff victories) is because many of us seem to have transcended from hopefulness (nothing not to like about that) to an unrealistic belief that what we have seen isn’t really happening, and so “staying the course” is somehow rational.
As of the all-star break, there are three (THREE!) teams in the American League with worse records. After a four-game sweep of the Tigers, the Twins are….wait for it….one game behind the Tigers.
Optimism is a wonderful thing. I occasionally hold on to it myself. But…let’s just imagine, for a moment….that the Twins would win their next 11 games (which would mean a 15 game winning streak) while the White Sox would lose their next 11. Such an outcome, not statistically impossible, just…well…almost statistically impossible…would result in the Twins being four games behind the Sox near the trade deadline.
Would a team that is four games down at the deadline be a buyer or a seller? Precedent would suggest that either could be true. Perhaps if that scenario were to play out, a team that incredibly hot would clearly be a buyer.
Do we believe this could happen? I feel like some of you do. I love you for it. The Pohlad family loves you for it. People everywhere love you for it….you seem like incredibly nice and decent people. You are not “fair weather” fans and nobody likes “fair weather” fans. But, if we really glance upward, while it’s not raining, it’s not exactly all sunshine and mild breezes either. Can we somehow seek a middle ground….if only in our discussions about the future?
As long as we believe, and as long as we don’t demand more….we are highly unlikely to get something more (and frankly, who knows if we’d get more even if we “demanded” it). Honestly, if I owned an MLB franchise valued at more than a billion dollars, and I was making a profit on that team (even outside the massive appreciation in club value), I’d also love fans who simply “believed.”
Since the Pohlad family has had tremendous success in the banking business, they seem to understand money extremely well. By basing the payroll on the yearly income/profit of the team, they are assured a strong business model, in which if the fans turn out, they will put that money into the team, and if the fans don’t, they won’t. So, given that, I guess I should be more supportive of the notion that regardless of how the team plays, let’s pack that stadium. Let’s buy that merchandise and those concessions. If the Pohlad’s make $150 million this year, they’ll spend that (or almost that) on payroll. If the fans don’t come out, and complacency sets in entirely…well…then….we only have ourselves to blame…I guess, and the payroll will have to hover closer to $100 million).
It’s like any other business that pays the salaries of the workers according to the profits that come in (with the slight exception that the value of the business is more than a billion dollars…even if it’s not profitable year-to-year).
Belief is a strong thing. Belief is belief because belief doesn’t demand facts, belief, in many ways, is far stronger than anything. Belief is amazing, and for those that have it, it must be an amazing feeling. But for me…I feel like I need something more. Something akin to evidence that this team is capable of playing better (perhaps that evidence is simply that the team cannot play appreciably worse or suffer any more injuries than they already have suffered, and I respect the many of you who hold that view).
That…is an argument. The second half of the season will be better because it cannot be worse, and the injured will return. Ok…I’ll buy that. I can even believe in it. That said, “better” won’t be nearly good enough to compete this year. I’ll get over it, it’s one year, even the Yankees, Dodgers, and Red Sox have bad years.
I’m a Twins fan. I don’t want the team imploded. I don’t want them moved to Las Vegas, or even Omaha for that matter (I don’t speak of Charlotte, as those of us oldsters don’t go there, nor do we speak of Don Bever, Bud Selig, or even the word “contraction,” we just…don’t). I “believe” the Twins will contend again….but I don’t believe they will this year. So, I “believe” that many trades need to be considered, and I still can’t understand why Simmons remains, and Gordon mostly sits behind him.
What would the Twins have to lose by playing Gordon over Simmons? The potential gains in seeing what Gordon brings day to day seem to provide an overwhelming advantage long-term. Is it just wanting to get the “money’s worth” from Simmons? Let’s face it, that’s not happening. At this point, it’s good money after bad, let it go already. People make mistakes. Regrets, I have a few.
At the deadline, if the Twins are double-digits behind the Sox (and the Twins would have to gain five games in the standings by then just to get to ten games behind), then “belief” in the future, requires actions now, rather than the simple notion that “times will get better.”
I’ve worked at places in my life, where I simply believed “times will get better.” They usually don’t. I’ve “believed” that my writing would get better….it usually doesn’t. We need more than belief, we need action. In a perfect Twins world (or even Territory) we could combine our beliefs with some evidence that the front office is taking improving the team seriously.
Dumping Simmons for a class A player with a future (assuming they can do that) is a start. But, obviously, it takes more than that. It takes addressing the pitching staff both at the deadline long-term and in the off-season with more than cast-offs and older guys looking to regain the “magic.” “Magic” and “beliefs”….this isn’t dungeons and dragons, and while there is no crying in baseball, there also shouldn’t just be unbridled optimism…should there? I’m looking for some middle ground. Reagan famously said “trust but verify.” How about that? I trust the front-office to build and re-build this team so that next year I can be as optimistic as many of you. But…with that trust, I’d love to see some evidence that would allow me to feel better about holding that trust. Is that so wrong? Does it make me a bad person? That was rhetorical, by the way….as I fear the answers.