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It’s not a box of chocolates, it’s more a package of hot dogs, relatively speaking.

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US-HEALTH-DISEASE-CANCER-FOOD-AGRICULTURE Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images

The Twins have played pretty good baseball as of late. They’ve had a winning month of August, and they’ve done so with Berrios gone, Maeda mostly on the shelf, and a truly rag-tag group of pitchers who’ve, by and large, done a good job. If only the Yankees would be barred from the Twins schedule, the month would’ve gone even better. But, some things, of course, are inevitable: death, taxes, and humiliation at the hands of the Yankees. Most of us have simply accepted these things, only a passionate few still scream about them, and expect things to be different. Something about asking for the grace to accept those things we cannot change….or something like that.

Maybe it was the hot dog story, in which many of us found ourselves thinking that our lives on this planet may be even shorter than we had thought. I’m not a life coach or anything, but If my days are numbered, I think I need to find a happier place. That happier place would probably not involve cheering for Minnesota sports teams, but this isn’t a perfect world, and we can’t just quit, even if we know how good quitting might be for our mental health moving forward.

So, unbridled (perhaps even unhinged) optimism it will be for the rest of this season for me.

How can we not compliment Rocco (assuming we have forgiven him or don’t hold him responsible for April, May, June, and July). The Twins are watchable again, and they not only are competing with good teams, they are winning several series against good teams. I must confess that I didn’t see this coming a month ago.

Just as Minnesota sports fans lower their expectations for the Vikings, with each pre-season game they watch, they are granted hope for the future by our beloved Twins. “If only” the Twins had reliable pitching. “If only” this off-season, the front office would find reliable proven starters (and some bullpen help). “If only” the harsh reality of Maeda’s elbow would only cement the belief that quality front line starters need to be found, even if big money is involved in finding them.

“If only” seems a superior mindset to “they’re unbelievably bad.” My mindset was firmly in the latter camp until fairly recently, but now I’m firmly (ok…firmly for the moment), in the “if only” camp. Granted, “if only” the Twins had quality front line starting pitching is sort of like “if only” the Vikings had a quality franchise quarterback, and thus….it’s a big “if only.” But still, don’t we all have to acknowledge that our morale is higher than it was a few short weeks ago?

I can’t even believe this optimism myself….I mean in the last month the Twins lost Berrios forever, and Maeda almost surely for all of 2022…and few would argue that they were the only two “genuine” proven big league starters on the team, so I’m as surprised as anyone that I’m finding this optimism.

Am I simply deluding myself? Have I been so focused on Polanco’s rise, and Sano’s plateau (something that might have an unfortunate ring to it), that I’ve simply overlooked the pretty grim reality that has plagued us since early April? Possibly. Maybe it all happened as I watched the Vikings pre-season game against the Broncos and began thinking, “wow…I know it’s pre-season and all…but wow…maybe the Twins aren’t so bad.”

The theory of Minnesota sports relativity. The Twins were terrible overall this season, and never came close to meeting our expectations, but they have won championships in their history. In Minnesota, only the Lynx can make a comparable claim…so cutting the Twins some slack in the Minnesota sports scene seems like the only decent thing to do. Sure 1991 was a while back, but compared to the historical championship futility of the Vikings, North Stars/Wild, and T-Wolves, it’s relatively recently.

I’m relatively calm. I’m relatively optimistic about next spring. On the downside, I’m relatively concerned about how many hot dogs I’ve had in my lifetime (I spent the summer between my freshman and sophomore years in college living in a dumpy upstairs room in St. Paul, using a hotplate to make an extraordinary number of hot dogs, never imagining that living so cheaply was killing me in real, mathematical terms). So, relatively speaking, I’m lucky to be alive, and relatively speaking, the future of the Twins could be much worse. I mean, it’s not like I didn’t know hot dogs were made of….stuff…and it’s not like I didn’t know they couldn’t be healthy, and yet, I ate them anyway. It’s not like I didn’t know things tend to go south in a hurry for Minnesota sports teams, but I support them anyway.

Being a Twins fan is less like a box of chocolates than it is a package of hotdogs. You open them up, you have hope, and then…well…life is drained away. Be happy, April is right around the corner, and for God’s sakes, in relative terms, next April just has to be better. I’m here for it…assuming, of course, I change what I eat.