The Wide Angle: Unfamiliar feelings of Minnesota Twins hope

Published 7:01 am Saturday, February 29, 2020

To understand this column, you are going to have to know a very relevant fact and that is: Jason Baskin is probably smarter than I am. He’s also better looking than me, clearly much taller than me and has exactly two more trophies in the Austin High School trophy case than I do.

I’m not trying to butter him up unnecessarily, only stating pretty simple facts that will have some level of bearing on the subject at hand because I’m not a big fan of admitting when I might be wrong about something. My 43 readers expect a level of perfection that I strive to reach each day. Or is that a level of expectation?

Every year at around this time, Jason and I have developed a loose tradition of discussing a certain organization that I’ve had my doubts about for a good number of years, while on the other smarter and taller side, Jason has held a certain level of optimism that more or less puts my negativity to shame.

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I’m of cours, talking about the Minnesota Twins.

Major League Baseball has gotten its 2020 spring training season underway and for the first time in what seems like years, I have more than a little bit of optimism regarding the 2020 regular season.

The reason for this optimism comes mostly from last season, where aside from the Twins costing the MLB a remarkably high sum of money in lost balls due to Minnesota’s ridiculously high home run total, they were legitimately good.

It’s been a long time since the Twins were a really good team and not just a default entrant to the playoffs simply because the rest of the division has just been really bad.

They not only made a playoff push, but it was sustained throughout the year with really good baseball. The next logical step would be to get past the first round of the playoffs, but one step at a time.

The first thing we need to tackle is how unfamiliar this all is. Being a fan of anything Minnesota is a trial of will that comes with the realization that a good amount of suffering will need to come with any amount of good you may fleetingly enjoy.

Unless you are a Timberwolves fan, in which case I have no amount of solace that will ease the pain our state’s maligned NBA representative causes. Sometimes you just can’t win … but neither can the Timberwolves soooooo …

Remember the euphoria of the Minnesota Miracle, when the Vikings looked to be on the verge of making it to the Super Bowl? Remember the positivity we all shared, even after they were shellacked by the Eagles?

Even after that, Vikings fans thought the Super Bowl was in reach the next year. Starting to see the trend?

It’s tough, I know. We’ve gotten so used to disappointment that one season can have us thinking of championships, regardless of what history tells us.

And yet, the Twins looked really good last year. They were flashy, they played defense, they hit long balls. Even during rough patches, they found ways to bounce back, hold leads and basically do what good teams do. It was weird.

This has left me exploring unfamiliar territory. I’m used to entering each season with a healthy amount of skepticism. As fans, we’ve all been hurt or at the very least vastly disappointed in how each season has ended in any number of years. Long past are the wild cheers for Kirby Puckett and Jack Morris … and Kent Hrbeck, who I only include because it drives our news reporter Michael Stoll nuts. Sometimes it’s just hard to PULL OFF the win. Get it? Giggle.

It’s come to be expected that we enter a season, show the early hope every fan shows at the beginning of a new year, only to see it all go downhill like a runaway semi where the driver is still pushing on the gas pedal.

Yet now we’re entering a new season and there is a very real chance the Twins could make some more noise this season and with the threat it could even be more fall baseball.

Are we talking about the World Series? Certainly no, but there is enough there to help make some smaller goals.

I was thinking about this when I ran into Jason at the Mower County GOP caucus Tuesday night and he asked me what I thought about this season. I confided in him my tentative hopes and both of us agreed that it would be nice to see Byron Buxton make it through a season.

I would like to see better pitching and I would like to see the continued practice of not banging on garbage cans … Houston. Both myself and Jason also agree that it would really be nice to win a playoff series.

And for the first time in a long time, we are at a point where we might even be able to come and expect one of those seasons. This is weird because I’m not used to tempering such high expectations because I never have high expectations.

I mean, what’s next? World peace?