Oh how quickly the tides turn.
After enjoying ongoing success over the past years, Twins fans have been told by the media, as well as neighboring major league towns, that the Twins are over.
Not many Twins fans remember the post '91 era. Not many Twins fans remember losing seasons.
The media tells us that the Twins will be reunited with failure during the '08 season, largely due to the departure of key figures Torii Hunter and Johan Santana.
Twins fans relish the days when the Detroit Tigers were the bottom feeders of the AL Central. They recall the days when there was no competition in the division.
The days of the Cinderella ALCS vs. Anaheim, when Twins fans adored A.J Pierzynski (of course, the only reason they appreciate him now is because he was the tradebait that brought Joe Nathan, Boof Bonser, and some no-name AA player named Francisco Liriano...), and Everyday Eddie roamed the bullpen.
Of course, now Detriot is the cream of the crop in the Central, everyone in the world hates A.J, and I don't even know where the hell Guardado is anymore.
Desertation was something the Twins fans knew would happen someday, but they never thought the day would come so soon.
As with most small-market ballclubs, they raise and breed talent, then let some big market club (i.e Boston, New York) win championships and compete with it (David Ortiz).
Rarely do you find someone who will take less money to stay in a small-market situation, but when you do, that player's name is heralded throughout history.
With the departure of key figures such as Hunter, Santana, Carlos Silva, Jason Bartlett, and Matt Garza, Twins fans have forgotten of the longstanding tradition of the Twins being able to find a diamond in the rough in recent years.
In 1997, the Twins traded star Chuck Knoblauch to the Yankees (small market to big market trade) for prospects Eric Milton and Christian Guzman. Both would become All-Stars.
Milton would throw a no-hitter for the Twins, and Guzman would be a demon on the basepaths, as well as a gold-glove contender.
Knoblauch sucked in New York, eventually moving to LF due to throwing troubles.
In 1999, the Twins had the first overall pick in the Rule Five draft. The Marlins had pick the second. The Twins traded first overall selection Jared Camp for the second selection, Johan Santana.
Santana, as most of you know, had much success in the Twins organization. Santana was recently traded to the Mets (small market to big market).
For 11 years, Kirby Puckett roamed centerfield for the Twins. After an untimely retirement, the Twins called on a kid named Torii Hunter to try and replace Puckett.
Hunter did just that, with a Puckett-esque smile that capture fans' eyes,;as well as the cheers he created with circus-like catches, and became a regular gold-glove winner.
I was at a Twins game on Father's Day of '04. The Twins were playing the Diamondbacks, and I remember Randy Johnson was supposed to pitch against Brad Radke.
Johnson was hurt, and so the D-Backs started a no-namer. After being unable to add 'See Randy Johnson pitch' to the stories I could tell my children, I looked up at the starting lineup to see who was playing for the Twins.
The scoreboard showed that #27 was playing first base. Dumbfounded that #16 (Mientkiewicz) was not playing, I stood up and shouted, "Put Mientkiewicz in!"
Perhaps the biggest ass I had ever made of myself.
#27 was, of coarse, Justin Morneau (Third round, 89th pick of the '99 MLB Amateur draft), who was part of the largely decorated Twins organization in 2006, winning the AL MVP award and leading the Twins to the most impressive division win in franchise history.
Now that the Twins are full of young talent again, it is time to let the coaches work their magic.
Fans: Just be patient. Our time is nigh…