Are the Stars Aligning for the Minnesota Twins?

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Minnesota Twins stars 

For 19 years the Minnesota Twins have been fighting.

They fought through the post-World Series drought of 1992-2000 in which they only recorded one winning season.

In 2001, they fought back in Tom Kelly’s last season as manager to a second place finish in the division.

In 2002, they fought through talks of contraction by Major League Baseball on their way to their first division title in 11 years and a playoff series win. 

They fought against the New York Yankees in 2003, 2004, and 2009 to no avail on their way to three playoff eliminations at the hands of baseball’s giants.

They fought through the loss of their most beloved player, Torii Hunter, and possibly the best pitcher in team history, Johan Santana.

And through those 19 years of ups and downs, they were fighting through one of their biggest obstacles: Themselves.

The Twins couldn’t go out and spend money to get free agents because financially they were a wreck.

The Twins needed a new stadium and the state of Minnesota was not willing, even when they were faced with losing their team, to give that to them.

But then the 2010 season came around and the Twins problems have disappeared.

They have their new stadium, the jewel of MLB venues everywhere.

Target Field

With the expected revenue from that stadium, the Twins were able to go out and get free agent studs Orlando Hudson, Jim Thome, and midseason acquisitions Matt Capps and Brian Fuentes. 

They have their replacement Johan Santana in Francisco Liriano, who leads or is hanging with Johan in every major category this year.

They have found their new beloved outfielder, as fans have really come around to Delmon Young and his batting prowess this year.  He won’t make anyone forget Torii Hunter in the field, but he has more than carried his weight on offense this year. 

Contraction talks are nothing but a distant memory for Twins fans, and Bud Selig, possibly trying to save face just before the opening of Target Field, dismissed questions about the 2002 debacle as nothing but “myth.”

Winning seasons are the bare minimum expectation of this AL Central powerhouse, Tom Kelly was back with the Twins in the Legends Game one week ago for the 50th Anniversary of the Minnesota Twins, and rather than having to fight and claw for wins, the feeling watching the Twins go on to the field is one of expectation.

An expectation to win.

In the last 19 years, whether it was the Twins 2002 ALCS year, or their 97 loss season of 1999, it has never been an expectation to win, it’s been an adventure.

But when the Minnesota Twins take the field this season, with the level of talent and high level of play, especially in the second half of this year, losing just seems unnatural. 

If you noticed, there is only one thing the Minnesota Twins have been fighting over the last 19 years that they have yet to conquer this year, and that is the New York Yankees.

The Twins are 2-4 against the Yankees this year, and will more than likely have to encounter them on their way to their ultimate goal of winning the World Series for the first time in 19 years.

Needless to say, it might be their biggest obstacle.

The Twins seem to have a mental block when playing the Yankees, because regardless of time, place, or how well the team is playing, they can’t seem to overcome the pinstripes.

Since the 2003 season, the Twins are 16-44 against the Yankees, along with an 0-10 record last year.  They are 2-9 against them in the playoffs, and those two wins were six and seven years ago.

Derek Jeter

If the stars really are aligning for the Twins first world title in 19 years, one more needs to fall in line with the others, and it wears the number 33.

The Twins haven’t missed Justin Morneau since his pre-All Star break concussion, as evidenced by their major league best 39-16 record since the All-Star Break.

That being said, before his injury Morneau was on a tear and the Twins most dangerous hitter.

Having him back for the playoffs seems more and more unlikely by the day, but with everything else that has come to fruition this season, perhaps we’re in for a Kirk Gibson type moment from Morneau. 

The Twins last World Series in 1991 came together with the offseason additions of veteran slugger Chili Davis, pitcher Jack Morris, and second baseman Chuck Knoblauch.

The 2010 season has followed nearly that exact pattern, with veteran slugger Jim Thome being brought in, veteran pitcher Carl Pavano returning, and second baseman Orlando Hudson being a newcomer as well. 

That Twins team had some magic itself, with a worst to first season, 96 wins, and five of their World Series games being decided by one run. 

The Twins have had 29 one-run wins this year, and are on pace for 96 wins this year as of Monday. 

Coincidence? Something out of a fairy tale?  Or is this the Twins year?

One thing is for sure, after seeing baseball in the Metrodome for the last 19 years, it certainly seems like a fairy tale every time the Twins take the pristine green grass of Target Field. 

It all seems to be too good to be true for Minnesota, but unlike the last 19 years, this just doesn’t seem like your same old Minnesota Twins.  

What could cap it off?

A fairy tale needs a happy ending, and jumping over the last hurdle they have yet to clear would be it. 

The New York Yankees are a great organization and team year in and year out, but if the stars really are aligning, the fairy tale needs a happy ending, and it is the Twins year, the New York Yankees won’t be the mental block that has beaten the Twins 44 times over the last seven years.

They’ll be just another team the Twins will dispose of on the way to the culmination of a 2010 World Series champion. 

-Mike Gallagher

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Comments

  1. I’m actually pulling for you guys to beat the NYY should you meet them in the playoffs. I know we’re rivals and all, but I’m so sick of the Yankees. and i’m so sick of the same scripts unfolding in the playoffs.

    the twins are in the sox heads just like the yankees are in the twins heads. time to change that.

    and i hate selig. what a douche. he wanted to contract the twins just to aid the market of his brewers

  2. i love this article, mike… in the last month the anxiety usually associated with the twins making the playoffs has magically disappeared… i expect them to win now, as you said… it’s not as tense, which is a relief… we can look forward to the playoffs & enter the ticket lottery! wish me luck…

  3. i also wanted to mention: i LOVE the space picture… your graphics are always the perfect addition to your writing! keep up the good work…

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