January 17, 2016

A State of the Union address for Twins fans

President Barack Obama delivered his final State of the Union address last week, reassuring Americans that the country remains in good shape, despite recent concerns about the economy and national security.

2011_State_of_the_Union
The 2011 State of the Union address

But this is a blog about one particular baseball team, so I ask:

What’s the state of the Minnesota Twins?

That’s the question recently answered in the form of a State of the Union address by Cody Christie at TwinsDaily.com.

How does Christie view the team? Here’s an excerpt:

On recent history:

We are over a decade and a half into this new century. Sixteen years ago the Twins were wallowing after years of futility in the AL Central. Things looked bleak and it was hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. At that time, a young core of players was on the horizon and a new manager (Ron Gardenhire) took over for the most famous manager (Tom Kelly) in team history. There was hope and that hope was fulfilled with multiple division championships as the team moved to Target Field.

On the 2015 season:

But this season, we turned the page. This season, after a breakthrough year for the Twins, our team found themselves relevant when others assumed they would continue to dwell in the cellar. Our prospects have arrived and some were even better than expected. Our pitchers’ earned run average is now lower than before the losing crisis. And we are as free from the Yankee dynasty as we’ve been in almost 20 years.

On the team:

Twins Territory, for all that we have endured, for all the losses and meaningless second half games required to improve, for all the improvements that are still on the horizon, know this: The shadow of the losing crisis has passed, and the State of the Twins is strong.

On the reasons for improvement:

Twins Territory, a culture of winning has begun. Over the last three seasons, there have been multiple championships won in the Twins system. The Elizabethton Twins won the Appalachian League in 2012. The Fort Meyers Miracle won the Florida State League in 2014. The Chattanooga Lookouts won the Southern League in 2015. Winning is happening and it is happening now.

On the prospects:

Names like Dalton Hicks, Nico Goodrum, Adam Brett Walker, Max Kepler, DJ Baxendale and Brett Lee have been part of all three of these championship teams. Top prospects Miguel Sano, Byron Buxton and Jose Berrios were part of these rosters at different times. Winning is contagious and changing a losing culture starts with a fresh crop of players.

On the future:

In this hour — with a blooming farm system, disappearing losses, a new direction — we have rising from the losing crisis a brighter future than in any time in our generation. It’s up to the organization to decide on the path for the team to follow over the next decade and for decades to come.

Extra innings…

Although I’m a longtime fan of the Twins, I’ve never followed the team’s farm system that closely — or I should say I haven’t followed it closely since my print subscription to the Sporting News ended a long, long time ago.

The print version of the Sporting News doesn’t exist at all now, but I digress…

So I read Christie’s piece with some surprise and was encouraged to see that the team’s farm system continues to flourish. That does indeed bode well for the future.

Photo credit: By Chuck Kennedy (Executive Office of the President of the United States) (http://www.whitehouse.gov/state-of-the-union-2011) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

COMMENTS

Hi, I’m Rolf Boone and I love the Twins.

I became a fan of the Minnesota Twins after a friendly wager in the early 1980s. I survived Ron Davis, the meltdown in Cleveland, Phil Bradley at the Kingdome and then marveled at a rising generation of stars and two World Series wins in 1987 and 1991. Brad Radke made the 1990s bearable, while Kirby Puckett’s eye injury, exit from the game and eventual death made it almost too much to bear. The new century ushered in more talent — Joe Mauer, Johan Santana, Joe Nathan, Torii Hunter, Justin Morneau — and consecutive seasons of playoff baseball, followed by consecutive seasons of losing baseball. A winning season returned in 2015. So here we are. Go Twins.