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The Lull: what is it and how it may happen to you

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A common occurrence in lost seasons

New York Mets vs Chicago Cubs Set Number: X48679

In August & September of 2011, a very strange thing happened for the first time in my baseball-watching life: my desire to watch the Twins each night waned. A combined 13-41 record over those months meant it was my introduction to truly awful baseball. Sure, 2005 & 2007 were disappointing, but those squads still hung around .500. The last two months of ‘11? I’d turn the TV on each night and watch in a sort of stupor.

BBA-TWINS-ORIOLES
2011 Twins Baseball, ladies & gents
Kenneth K. Lam/Baltimore Sun/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Each year after that in which the Twins have been really rough—and unfortunately there have been a fair share (‘12, ‘13, ‘14, ‘16, and ‘21)—I have identified such a feeling as “the Lull”. In other words, that time of year in a lost season where the desire to intensely follow the hometown nine abates a bit. I think this is especially true for the die-hards like us who post on team blog sites during 90-loss seasons. We are all so invested in this franchise that at a certain point the losing (more specifically, the time spent consuming the losing) becomes a bit too much.

Some of the symptoms of the Lull I have found to include:

-Letting the desire to watch an episode of the latest prestige TV drama—American Crime Story: Impeachment & American Rust have my eyes at the moment—trump local baseball.

-Turning on the Twins game as usual, but “bailing” at the first sign of trouble or large deficit.

-Turning Sundays over to NFL excitement—even that of the non-Vikings or fantasy team variety—and completely ignoring baseball all day.

-Needing to be in-house at Target Field to really feel connected to the action.

Minnesota Twins v Toronto Blue Jays
A five-run Blue Jays first inning last Sunday quickly put the kibosh on my interest that afternoon, even with old friend Jose Berrios dealing for Toronto.
Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

For me, the timing of The Lull is different every season. Sometimes it begins as early as August, when football training camps start kicking into high gear. Other times, it takes the start of the gridiron preseason—or maybe even regular season. The weather may also have a role in the proceedings. If the heat and humidity—”baseball weather”— stick around into September, maybe the diamond presence lingers longer. But as soon as the nights drop into the 50s and the air takes on that crisp, cool tinge? That signals the start of football, the holiday season, and a baseball postseason our team won’t be participating in.

Somewhat remarkably, this year it took until September for me to run into the Lull. The mid-August Twins renaissance (of sorts) really helped in that regard. But I started feeling it after that two-game Cubs sweep where the offense went dormant. Since that point, the Twins have triumphed in exactly one series (at Cleveland)—and those games were on so early (5 PM CST) that I couldn’t watch the majority of them!

Fortunately, there is somewhat of a two-fold happy ending to the Lull malady:

First, it tends to abate a bit right at the tail end of poor seasons. This is due to the internal knowledge that no matter how rough it seems now, we’ll all be pining for baseball again come January or February.

Secondly, the October postseason brings with it a brand of baseball not seen in losing markets for quite some time. Though I often find myself overwhelmed by the sheer amount of Division Series games, by the time the LCS rounds begin I’m usually back in the baseball fold.

Tampa Bay Rays vs Houston Astros, 2020 American League Championship Series
Me watching playoff baseball after bad Twins years: “You mean exciting baseball can be played every single night?!”
Set Number: X163419

How do you manage your investment in the Twins at the end of unseemly summers? While perhaps not giving it the Lull personification, I’m guessing that the phenomenon—however monikered—is afflicting all die-hard Twins fans at the moment.