Posted at 9:25 AM on September 2, 2008
by Steve Rudolph
In a recent Star Tribune column, Jim Souhan does a nice job of showing how the Twins have been consistent winners this decade and contends that they have outplayed all of the teams in the region if you count total wins since 2000.
I measure success a little bit differently than Souhan does. In my book, the White Sox and Cardinals have been more successful than the Twins this decade because they won world, not just division, championships.
Calling the Twins the team of the new millennium is akin to calling the Vikings the team of the 1990s. From 1990-2000, the Vikes only had one losing season and went 106-70 with four division titles. They were consistently better than the Bears, Packers and Lions yet we view them, and rightly so, as underachievers.
Personally, I would rather see nine losing seasons and one world championship in a decade than 10 above average seasons that all end with a playoff loss. I still look back more fondly on the 1987 and 1991 seasons than I do the great second half run the Twins had in 2006 or the ALDS upset of Oakland in 2002.
But my hunch is that being competitive year in and year out is more financially rewarding for the Twins than gambling on a championship run and then suffering for several seasons as a result.
Think about it, the most the Twins could expect to draw in a championship season is 3 million fans. If they are in the race they'll draw 2.2 million or more. If they flop, their attendance would be under 1.5 million and they'd have a hard time charging premiums for renewals and sponsorships.
Hopefully the new ballpark will enable the Twins to break this paradigm and take a real run at a championship. Otherwise we're going to need the Minnesota State High School League to take over Major League Baseball for the Twins to win another trophy.
All those Marlins fans are still celebrating their championships
I'd personally rather follow a team that has a small shot every year than a team that blows the bank for some rentals that no one will even remember in two years. I'm not saying they shouldn't sign a free agent once in a while, but the blow out strategy is no guarantee either (look at the Tigers - this was their year and they have to cut payroll by $20 mil next year).
You have 2 of the last 21 championships in Minnesota. That leaves 19 to split between the other 29 teams. You're way ahead of average in both winning yearly and winning recent championships. No complaining for at least 10 years.