Allow Yourself to Believe

I want to talk to you about the Minnesota Twins.

This is a special team. They have the best pitcher in baseball, the MVP, Batting Champ, several badass relievers, a good defense that’s outstanding up the middle, and the large majority of all those just listed are only in their mid-20s. The talent, management, and depth of the team gives them a tremendous margin for error and latitude to try things other teams can’t get away with, such as starting the season with questionable retreads in their starting rotation instead of some of the outstanding young arms they have in AAA. They averaged 91 wins a year from 2002 to last year, when they had 96 wins just as the REAL talent started to arrive in the every day lineup.  And, they still have young talent in the pipeline, especially pitching talent. Pitching coach Rick Anderson is highly regarded and gets results. Manager Ron Gardenhire may not be Earl Weaver, but he’s won an awful lot of games and developed some premium talent for a budget-challenged team that plays hard for him.  And the organization overall is one of the most highly-regarded in baseball.

If you had to pick any team to watch, root for, own, manage or whatever for the next five years, this is the team you would pick. It’s not even close.

I’ve heard too many Twins fans succumb to negativity, nitpicking minor wrinkles and roster decisions. That’s what happens when you have a team that’s stacked but still need something to worry about as a fan. It’s also what happens when a team hasn’t been able to get over the hump and have post-season success. You want to see a bitter fan? Talk to somebody who watched the A’s of the last seven years.

But bitterness is for October, possibly extending through February depending on circumstances. This is March, and heed my words, Twins fans: Allow yourself to believe this is going to be the best team you have ever followed, and enjoy the 2008 season.

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6 Responses to Allow Yourself to Believe

  1. Dave R says:

    Not to rain on your parade in March, but who exactly will be their 2-5 starters this season?

  2. pipelineblog says:

    Right now 2-5 is some order of Boof Bonser, Ramon Ortiz, Sidney Ponson and Carlos Silva. Silva’s been awful for two years now and had a terrible spring. Ponson and Ortiz have been down for years, but have been good this spring. Bonser is young but solid. They have Matt Garza, Glen Perkins and Kevin Slowey down at AAA, and all of them are impressive. They will be factors before the end of the year.

  3. Sean says:

    The voice of bitter experience: when you’re giving regular innings to Ramon Ortiz, you’re in big trouble. See http://purgatoryonline.blogspot.com/2004_04_18_purgatoryonline_archive.html#108256987101960419

  4. pipelineblog says:

    I’ll probably be writing that same column if they let Silva tank for as long as he did last year. There’s no chance of that. They’ll yank him fast. They’ll yank him fast. I’m saying it twice in the hopes this somehow increases the likelihood that they’ll yank him fast.

    For what it’s worth, you were too hard on Ortiz in that column; he righted the ship in his next start and finished the year as an average pitcher. That’s all the Twins need from him. No question, though, you saw Ortiz’s near future in that post; he was terrible in his two years in the NL.

    Ortiz will work out. If he doesn’t, one of the young arms will get a shot, and that will be fun to watch.

  5. Steim says:

    I love that you’ve taken today’s LSSBL discussion and put it out for all the world to see. I say you take your Bell’s bet w/ the BFT’s and extend it to all Pipeline readers, substituting the 6 pack for a keg.

  6. Sean says:

    Actually, much of Ortiz’s “improvement” in 2004 was due to the fact that, shortly after I wrote that, they moved him to the bullpen (not that there was a connection between the two, of course). He bounced between the ‘pen and starting for the rest of the year.

    Ortiz as a starter, 2004: 79.0 IP, 5.47 ERA, 97 H, 23 BB, 48 K, .309 BAA
    Ortiz as a reliever, 2004: 49.0 IP, 2.76 ERA, 42 H, 15 BB, 34 K, .231 BAA

    In the two months of 2004 he was used regularly as a starter, April and August, he posted ERAs of 9.28 and 5.84.

    Ortiz was always an incredibly frustrating pitcher to watch, precisely because he had a great deal of talent and would occasionally turn in brilliant performances. Unfortunately, he’s a raging head-case who runs off the rails in spectacular fashion at the slightest hint of adversity, and for every one of those brilliant performances he’s liable to crap out two or three three-inning, six-run gagfests.

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