I recently had a conversation with Rigolega, a Cubs fan like myself, about what qualifies as a successful season for a major league baseball team. He was very clear in his stance: if you don’t win the World Series, you’re a failure, period. In the Cubs’ case, particularly within the last decade, that is very true and I could not agree more. But after just watching the Minnesota Twins reach the playoffs with only a hell of a lot of scrappy play, I can say that they’ve had quite a successful year.
Think about it. This team wasn’t supposed to go anywhere, and they have played in one-game playoffs the last two years. Their best starting pitcher, Francisco Liriano, hasn’t had a good year since 2006. The rest of the rotation is a hodgepodge of castoffs (Carl Pavano) and not-there-yets (Scott Baker, Nick Blackburn), and they get by on having one of the best closers in the game; if you have Joe Nathan coming in in the ninth inning, you can pretty much pencil in a win. Their offense, beyond Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau, would not scare a minor leaguer, let alone CC Sabathia. Even crazier, they’ve made this mad dash to the postseason without Morneau, a former MVP, leading them. Their third baseman, Joe Crede, is also hurt.
This team should not have been above .500, yet they are playing meaningful games in October. It doesn’t matter that the Yankees are going to probably stomp on them in the first series; they’ve shocked the baseball masses yet again. They have had an extremely successful year, and every team in baseball should want to emulate them. Congrats to the Minnesota Twins, American League Central Champions.