October in these parts means a lot of things. The air is cooling (though not lately for some reason). The leaves are falling. And the Minnesota Twins are losing.
For the 12th consecutive playoff game, the Twins lost. That’s one short of the big league record. And Saturday’s loss not only extended an incredible streak, but it ended a season so full of anticipation.
A season thatÂ started with a new stadium and a payroll reaching new heights ended much like many previous seasons for the Twins, and that’s by losing a first-round playoff series to the hated New York Yankees.
Let’s forget about how that happened again for one second, and instead focus on what the Twins can do to change it. I mean, at some point, you start to wonder if there’s something wrong with that clubhouse. Twelve straight postseason losses.
Do you replace manager Ron Gardenhire, who might win AL Manager of the Year, yetÂ I’ve heard a few people suggest firing him? Is it time to gut the roster pretty significantly and try to get some different pieces? What can be done?
Or are you willing to accept that the 12 straight playoff losses are coincidental? Are they simply the resultÂ of bad luck combined with teams that were overmatched?
But it’s not like the TwinsÂ are the Minnesota Timberwolves of the late-1990s. That team was frequently overmatched in its playoff series and I don’t think they ever lost a series I thought they should have won.
These Twins and the ones in 2006 got swept, and both teams had home-field advantage. The 2006 Twins were red-hot entering the playoffs only to lose three straight to an inferior Oakland A’s team.
While the 2006 loss may have been the most inexplicable, the 2010 sweep has to be the most disappointing. The bump in payroll was supposed to transform the Twins from the “Little Engine That Could” into a legitimate World Series threat. The bar was raised this year, and the team failed to rise to the occasion.
I really don’t know what can be done. To me, firing Gardy would be like when the Wolves let go of Flip Saunders. I hated that decision at the time, and look at how far that franchise has fallen since his dismissal. People can be upset, but things could be a lot worse.
But at the same time, every MLB team’s goal is to win the World Series. And if there’s a culture within the clubhouse that’s preventing that from happening, then something has to change. Because let’s face it, ifÂ you’re going to win the World Series, you’re probably going to have to win three games against the Evil Empire. They’re not going away. Teams with $200 million payrolls rarely do.
Finally, I leave you with a must-see video. From the guy that brought you Ric Flair, I give you the intro video that Alaska-Fairbanks uses prior to its men’s hockey games. It’s epic. Check it out.