As the Twins prepare their final stand in defense of their 2009 season tonight against the New York Yankees at the Metrodome, it's important Twins fans realize one thing: There are no expectations. There can be none.
There cannot be any regrets, lamentations or disappointments.
Win or lose, this team deserves celebrating.
This Twins team has done more with less for longer than any other team in the playoffs this year.
The fact the Twins won the AL Central should be victory enough. They are lucky they got that far. And the way they won the AL Central, incredible. It was the most exciting single game most people will ever get the chance to see.
Because the Twins play in a small market and don't receive the media attention other teams do, some of the facts regarding this team have been lost on casual observers.
So lets review:
Joe Crede, the free agent third baseman the Twins brought in this year, played half a season before surrendering to another back surgery.
Nick Punto, who came into the season as the starting shortstop, ended the season as the starting second baseman.
The reason the Twins needed Punto at second is because everyone else put there flopped.
This left the Twins in need of a shortstop, and they had to trade for Orlando Cabrera.
Justin Morneau, perennial All Star and 2006 AL MVP, was sidelined with a back injury after struggling the entire second half.
Starting pitchers Francisco Liriano, Glen Perkins, Kevin Slowey, and Scott Baker all spent time on the disabled list. This represented 80 percent of the planned starting rotation. The Twins drained their farm system of every available pitcher to make up for holes and still the Twins needed to make a trade for a starter (Carl Pavano).
In fact, the Twins set a franchise record for pitchers used in a season.
This team had been stuck plugging lineup holes all year long, among starters and relievers, and among their infielders.
The team that will take the field tonight against the Yankees has almost no resemblance to the team Twins fans saw in April.
So while the odds are stacked against the Twins, understand this season represents a miraculous comeback from mediocrity.
All that remains is for Twins fans to appreciate every minute.
And for the Twins to fight every out.