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View Full Version : Were the "glory years" a fraud?



Forever34
10-09-2013, 01:26 PM
I've been thinking a lot about the years 2002-2010 when the Twins were one of the best teams in baseball and trying to figure out what made them so much better than the current team.

In the beginning they were a scrappy bunch of overachievers who defied the odds.

In the middle they had two MVPs in their primes, the best pitcher in baseball, the occasional amazing season from Liriano, the always solid Radke, a good bullpen, Torii Hunter, and plenty of role players who did the dirty work well. In hindsight, I'm baffled that we could never do anything in the playoffs.

Towards the end the pitching was mostly the same "pitch to contact" staff we curse today, Morneau was always hurt, but Thome was there to bring the power in his absence. We had a lot of squandered talent too. (Take a look at the recent All-Star teams and count the ex-Twins).

But one thing I keep coming back to is the schedule. During that time most games were played against the weak AL Central, and the Twins dominated the AL Central during that time. They also dominated the National League in part because they always played two series against the then weak Brewers and most of the NL in general was weaker then too. (The Sports Guy often joking call it AAAA).

I'm too lazy to look up the actual numbers but if memory serves we were .500 or better against the AL West and terribad against the AL East (Damn Yankees!).

So here's the deal: if we weren't playing the weighted schedule during that time and instead played the even schedule of the old days or the every team in the league schedule of today would the days we long for have even existed? I could see a couple pennants with a few years of contending as far as August in there, but the decade long stretch of expecting the playoffs seems unlikely.

stringer bell
10-09-2013, 01:39 PM
My opinion is that for much of that time they were the best of a bad lot. The exceptions, to me, are '06 and '10. In '06, they were the best team in baseball in the second half, had a strong relatively deep staff and a well-rounded lineup. In '10, they acquired three players in a "win-now" formula (Thome, Hardy, Hudson), but it all went south about the day they clinched the division.

Boom Boom
10-09-2013, 02:26 PM
They were a good, solid team that took advantage of a weak division. Before the wild card era I don't think any of those Twins teams would have made the playoffs.

notoriousgod71
10-09-2013, 02:56 PM
They were a good, solid team that took advantage of a weak division. Before the wild card era I don't think any of those Twins teams would have made the playoffs.

If you go by actual standings we would have tied for the old AL West lead in 2004 and won it in 2006 and 2010. This is strictly going off actual results and not the change in schedules that would occur with realignment, but I think it works out as I would say those have been our three best teams during the Gardy era.

In 2004 we would have played NY and we saw how that turned out. We would have played them in 2006 as well and without Liriano and an ailing Radke we would have been crushed in my opinion.

In 2010 we would have played TB.... but if you recall NY wasn't exactly trying to win the division that season, instead preferring to be wild card so they could play the Twins.

ThePuck
10-09-2013, 03:10 PM
If you go by actual standings we would have tied for the old AL West lead in 2004 and won it in 2006 and 2010. This is strictly going off actual results and not the change in schedules that would occur with realignment, but I think it works out as I would say those have been our three best teams during the Gardy era.

In 2004 we would have played NY and we saw how that turned out. We would have played them in 2006 as well and without Liriano and an ailing Radke we would have been crushed in my opinion.

In 2010 we would have played TB.... but if you recall NY wasn't exactly trying to win the division that season, instead preferring to be wild card so they could play the Twins.

Yes, those likely would have been the best three teams, but if still aligned as Al East and Al West, one wonders if our record would have been the same.

From 2002- 2010, with the exception of 2007 (which boggles the mind with the talent on that team) we have dominated our division. A winning record each year but 2007 against the AL Central.

With the exception of 2007, I don't think there was more than 4 times where a team in our division had a better record against us than we did against them. Why is that? IMO, we just had better talent.

2002: 50-25, 2003: 43-33, 2004:46-30, 2005: 40-35, 2006: 41-35, 2008: 43-30, 2009: 46-27, 2010: 47-25. We were also helped by interleague most of those years. One wonders if under the old way, we would have seen the playoffs in any of those years?

spideyo
10-09-2013, 03:20 PM
I think calling it a fraud is a bit harsh. It's not like people were throwing games or juicing up (at least on our team) or playing dirty or anything. Did the schedule weighting help them? Maybe. But if they didn't have the weighted schedule, if they didn't have three divisions instead of two, and those wild card spots, who knows what the effects would have been. Would the Yankees have had such an incredible dynasty if they hadn't been playing so many games against the craptastic Blue Jays, Orioles, and Rays?

All I know is, that stretch of time is the only period in my entire life where the Twins had three or more winning seasons in a row.

I'll take that.

JB_Iowa
10-09-2013, 03:22 PM
I think the Twins were a very solid baseball team from 2004-2006. They had a strong winning record against the AL East (59-42) with a winning record against every AL East team except the Yankees but they were still 8-10 against the Yanks. They were 127-100 against the AL Central, again beating every team but the White Sox against whom they went 27-29. They were 50-54 against the AL West having some trouble against the Angels (10-15), beating up on Seattle (16-11) and pretty much holding their own against Oakland (12-15) and Texas (12-13). They cleaned up in interleague play where they went 32-19.

But there is a real turnaround beginning about 2008 and continuing to 2010 when the Twins began to meet with almost utter futility against the A L East with their winning percentage against the division dropping below 40%. They kept it pretty much even against the West (actually an improvement from earlier years) and had a 60% or so win rate against the Central and continued to clean up in interleague play.

Several years ago I started to keep a spreadsheet of how the Twins did under Gardenhire by team. I used that for the conclusions stated above. I didn't bother updating it this year (and I'm not sure 2012 is complete) because it got too darned depressing.

Overall, the Twins definitely benefited from a weak Central and from interleague play. But what really hurt was the way the East strengthened -- because they also were representative of what was needed to win in the playoffs not just in the division.

Marta Shearing
10-09-2013, 03:55 PM
They
were a good, solid team that took advantage of a weak division. Before the wild card era I don't think any of those Twins teams would have made the playoffs.
Took afvantage of a weak division, yet was still always a #3 seed. Very frustrating the organization let this "success" go to their heads, failing to keep their "success" in perspective. They played in a weak division, taking advantage of the unbalanced schedule, interleague play, and an expanded playoff format.......and literally embarrassed themselves in the playoffs to the tune of a 6-21 record.

Marta Shearing
10-09-2013, 03:58 PM
Not a fan of the unbalanced schedule or the wildcard. Ruined the game.

ThePuck
10-09-2013, 04:05 PM
From a pure fun fan experience, I enjoyed the winning the Twins did. Obviously disappointed with the playoffs, but I enjoyed the Twins winning all those games for those years. I didn't look at the winning, during the season, with a skeptical eye. I just enjoyed it. I even liked the playoff system before this new one and I like this new one as well. I even enjoy interleague. I think all of the additions add excitement to the game, at least for me.

Having said that, I wish we had a balanced schedule throughout the AL and another throughout the NL.

gunnarthor
10-09-2013, 04:13 PM
The weighted schedule is over stated. Rob Neyer ran something on ESPN a few years ago and concluded that, at best, it was a 1 game swing. I also think it's fair to say that if the Twins were in the AL East or West, they'd have created a different type of team to compete against their division opponents. And divisions didn't always run equal. The 2002 AL West was pretty loaded. A 100+ win team and two more that won 93. Twins naturally had a winning record against them (and beat the 100+ team in the playoffs).

I think the last point is why is this only brought up when it's the Twins? Since 2000, the Tigers, Cubs, Cards, Padres, Phillies, White Sox, Dodgers, Braves and Yankees have all won their division with less than 90 wins. Some multiple times. That the Twins were able to win as much as they did, esp with a loaded White Sox team in the division, with their salary limitations, was quite impressive. There's no need to dismiss those years as a way to diminish Ryan now.

ThePuck
10-09-2013, 04:27 PM
My opinion is that for much of that time they were the best of a bad lot. The exceptions, to me, are '06 and '10. In '06, they were the best team in baseball in the second half, had a strong relatively deep staff and a well-rounded lineup. In '10, they acquired three players in a "win-now" formula (Thome, Hardy, Hudson), but it all went south about the day they clinched the division.

I absolutely loved it when they got Hardy and Hudson. I was excited, especially for Hardy. I predicted 94 wins before the season started. A couple friends of mine didn't understand the excitement over getting those two guys...both of them being fans of teams who shop in a different department than we do, but for me I was like BAM! We made a couple really solid moves there that will help the pitching. Seemed Smith was going for it. Saw some glaring holes from a division winner and filled them.

Thrylos
10-09-2013, 05:00 PM
"Glory years"? Not much glory, just a bunch of one and outs. Not a fraud, but a bunch of average teams that were much better than the early Ryan years' teams. But no glory. Just exaggeration of mediocrity.

The MacPhail years were the Glory years. Parades and WS Rings = glory.

FSP
10-09-2013, 05:16 PM
I also think it's fair to say that if the Twins were in the AL East or West, they'd have created a different type of team to compete against their division opponents.

I don't think that is fair to say at all. In fact, I would suggest that this is precisely why many people are calling for the heads of management.

Regarding the original question, I agree that 2006 and 2010 would still have been quality teams but I think most if not all of the others were largely the product of a poor division and unbalanced schedule. The teams were pretty decent but usually 4th or 5th best in the AL even with the unbalanced schedule.

Marta Shearing
10-09-2013, 05:21 PM
"Glory years"? Not much glory, just a bunch of one and outs. Not a fraud, but a bunch of average teams that were much better than the early Ryan years' teams. But no glory. Just exaggeration of mediocrity.

The MacPhail years were the Glory years. Parades and WS Rings = glory.

COULD NOT agree more. 1993-2000 was futility. 2001-2010 was a celebration of mediocrity. Now we've cycled back to futility. I'd give almost anything to have MacPhail/Kelly back in charge.

Nick Nelson
10-09-2013, 05:43 PM
The Twins had good teams during those years, but for the most part they didn't have great teams, and in part that was their own doing. How much better is that 2006 team if they don't mess around with Tony Batista and Juan Castro as starting infielders for two months? How many games were cost by feeding starts to the likes of Livan Hernandez, Ramon Ortiz and Sidney Ponson rather than more capable youngsters (or at least more capable free agents)? How much better are the 2008 and 2009 teams if you sub out Delmon Young and sub in Matt Garza and Jason Bartlett?

I have plenty of respect for Terry Ryan -- he's a very intelligent baseball man who is ingrained in the game. But there's no denying that he's made some very poor decisions that have held good teams back from greatness. I'd like to think he's learned from those mistakes but when his rhetoric never changes, it's hard to say.

spideyo
10-09-2013, 06:38 PM
COULD NOT agree more. 1993-2000 was futility. 2001-2010 was a celebration of mediocrity. Now we've cycled back to futility. I'd give almost anything to have MacPhail/Kelly back in charge.

While I think Kelly and MacPhail were good at their jobs, the Twins only had 4 winning seasons out of the 8 they worked together (the only winning seasons in macphail's ten years and Kelly's 15 years with the twins)

gunnarthor
10-09-2013, 06:48 PM
While I think Kelly and MacPhail were good at their jobs, the Twins only had 4 winning seasons out of the 8 they worked together (the only winning seasons in macphail's ten years and Kelly's 15 years with the twins)

Kelly had one more winning season at the end of his career. But yeah, your point is right.

Kwak
10-09-2013, 07:17 PM
The Twins had good teams during those years, but for the most part they didn't have great teams, and in part that was their own doing. How much better is that 2006 team if they don't mess around with Tony Batista and Juan Castro as starting infielders for two months? How many games were cost by feeding starts to the likes of Livan Hernandez, Ramon Ortiz and Sidney Ponson rather than more capable youngsters (or at least more capable free agents)? How much better are the 2008 and 2009 teams if you sub out Delmon Young and sub in Matt Garza and Jason Bartlett?

I have plenty of respect for Terry Ryan -- he's a very intelligent baseball man who is ingrained in the game. But there's no denying that he's made some very poor decisions that have held good teams back from greatness. I'd like to think he's learned from those mistakes but when his rhetoric never changes, it's hard to say.

Livan Hernandez won 10 games with the Twins for 4 months total--true, he was blessed with luck. The other two were cheap vets (both Ryan and Gardenhire prefer older players). Another reason they were signed was "the pitching cupboard was bare", and this was Ryan's attempt to patch the hole. Reference this all yee who want to blame Smith for the present-day Twins lack of quality pitching--this is a chronic problem and has been nearly forever.

Marta Shearing
10-10-2013, 04:40 AM
While I think Kelly and MacPhail were good at their jobs, the Twins only had 4 winning seasons out of the 8 they worked together (the only winning seasons in macphail's ten years and Kelly's 15 years with the twins)

The only difference is MacPhail realized baseball is cyclical for small market teams. He realized you go for it when your window is open (Reardon, Gladden), and you rebuild when that window closes (Viola trade). Ryan never makes a splash either way. His goal is always be competitive, which has obviously backfired. When the window is open he refuses to add the final piece, and when the window closes, he refuses to gut it and start over. He never sells high. Imagine if those Redsox rumors were true and they were willing to take on Mauer's entire salary plus give up some top prospects how much better off this team would be. Ryan didnt even answer the phone.

gunnarthor
10-10-2013, 07:04 AM
He never sells high. Imagine if those Redsox rumors were true and they were willing to take on Mauer's entire salary plus give up some top prospects how much better off this team would be. Ryan didnt even answer the phone.

First, the Red Sox would never have given up top prospects and taken on Mauer's salary. That's just false. Secondly, I think one could very reasonably argue that Ryan traded Knoblauch, AJ, Aggie, Span, Revere, Buchanan, Romero, Milton, Hollins etc at pretty high points.

Riverbrian
10-10-2013, 11:44 AM
Winning a division weak or not is always an accomplishment. When I look back at those squads... Ozzie Guillen was right... They were Piranhas.

Those Twin Teams were not loaded with superstars but they limited mistakes and executed more often then they did not execute.

After you got past Johan Santana... The Starting pitching kept you in the game and the offense and defense took it from there.

The Defense was great and helped the starters immensely. Nick Punto is often attacked by some because of his offensive numbers but the guy made plays in the field and some plays that he shouldn't have made and in my opinion was a leader by playing the game at full tilt and it wasn't like Nick Punto didn't get a key hit at a key moment from time to time. There is a reason that Nick Punto is still playing in the majors and a reason that Nick Punto has played for a lot of winning teams during what has become a long career.

Offensively... We didn't have overwhelming numbers but we pressured defenses by taking the extra base and because the defense and Starting pitching didn't let games get away. They were clutch enough to produce when they needed to produce.

I will always look back fondly at those teams. It was a pleasure to watch them play. They played the game the way it should be played and they played with pride. The little things mattered.

If you are good enough to make the major leagues... You are good enough to help teams win games... If you are strong enough to hit a home run... You have the ability to hit a double of a single. If you believe that you can win... You will win. There is a difference between baseball teams on the field and baseball teams on paper. Those teams believed that they could win games.

So Yeah... Bring back Nick Punto and we are good to go. :talk028:

Willihammer
10-10-2013, 12:09 PM
Between 2002 and 2010 the Twins scored 2830 runs against ALE and ALW opponents, while allowing 2842 runs. They were a .500 ballclub essentially, against those opponents.

During this time the Twins scored 162 regular season runs against their eventual LDS opponents, and allowed 216 (a .373 Pythagorean WP%).

In the LDS games, they scored 70 runs while allowing 111 - a .303 Pythagorean WP%.

So they did in fact play more poorly in the playoffs than they did against those same opponents in the regular season, according to raw runs scored/allowed.

In reality, the Twins won 5 of 22 ALDS games during this time, for an even worse .227 WP%.

I don't know how else you can slice it, the Twins were out of their league pretty much every time they went to the postseason and then played even worse once they got there, for whatever reason.

Seth Stohs
10-10-2013, 12:13 PM
Short answer - No.

Alex
10-10-2013, 01:22 PM
The Twins had good teams during those years, but for the most part they didn't have great teams, and in part that was their own doing. How much better is that 2006 team if they don't mess around with Tony Batista and Juan Castro as starting infielders for two months? How many games were cost by feeding starts to the likes of Livan Hernandez, Ramon Ortiz and Sidney Ponson rather than more capable youngsters (or at least more capable free agents)? How much better are the 2008 and 2009 teams if you sub out Delmon Young and sub in Matt Garza and Jason Bartlett?

I have plenty of respect for Terry Ryan -- he's a very intelligent baseball man who is ingrained in the game. But there's no denying that he's made some very poor decisions that have held good teams back from greatness. I'd like to think he's learned from those mistakes but when his rhetoric never changes, it's hard to say.

I think this is spot on, though I'm slightly more forgiving of it at that time since the situation was far different. I don't consider them a fraud, if only because they did pretty well with the resources they had, even if there were mistakes. However, I think that some people hold up those years higher than they should be.

Marta Shearing
10-10-2013, 01:23 PM
Short answer - No.
Willihammer put up some pretty telling statistics. They were outscored by the east and west divisions, while mopping up in the weak Central. And of course their playoff performance speaks for itself. At the least 2002-2010 deserves one of these *

Blackjack
10-10-2013, 01:23 PM
One fact that nobody has brought up is that the Twins philosophy has always been that if they make the playoffs, anything can happen. So they built teams that would win the division and then hoped for the best.

I would settle for those teams again, teams that had a chance to win every series vs. the team that we have now.

I shake my head at all the 'World Series or bust' posters, you're setting yourself up to always be unhappy, only one team can win the series every year.

gunnarthor
10-10-2013, 01:23 PM
In reality, the Twins won 5 of 22 ALDS games during this time, for an even worse .227 WP%.

I don't know how else you can slice it, the Twins were out of their league pretty much every time they went to the postseason and then played even worse once they got there, for whatever reason.

As mentioned before, the Twins played 4 teams that won over 100 games. In fact, the 06 A's and the 10 Yanks were the only team that didn't win at least 99 games (the 06 Twins being the only team that won more than 94). The avg Twins record in those 5 years was 92 wins. Their opponents avg 100 wins/season. Their best teams also had the happy coincidence of being unhealthy while playing teams stacked with known PED users. Not sure why it's surprising that they lost. Or why it should be used to devalue how good those teams were.

ThePuck
10-10-2013, 01:28 PM
One fact that nobody has brought up is that the Twins philosophy has always been that if they make the playoffs, anything can happen. So they built teams that would win the division and then hoped for the best.

I would settle for those teams again, teams that had a chance to win every series vs. the team that we have now.

I shake my head at all the 'World Series or bust' posters, you're setting yourself up to always be unhappy, only one team can win the series every year.

This point has been brought up many times, perhaps just not on this therad, but it's a good reminder. I'd make an adjustment to that though. I think the Twins have, most of the time under Ryan, built the team to be competitive within the division...then if we win the division, yeah, 'anything can happen' is the rally cry. I think this was more acceptable during the times where we really had to be on a low budget, but now I don't think it's unreasonable to expect the team to be build not only to win the division, but built with enough pitching to go far in the playoffs.

Boom Boom
10-10-2013, 01:29 PM
As mentioned before, the Twins played 4 teams that won over 100 games. In fact, the 06 A's were the only team that didn't win at least 99 games (the 06 Twins being the only team that won more than 94). The avg Twins record in those 5 years was 92 wins. Their opponents avg 100 wins/season. Their best teams also had the happy coincidence of being unhealthy while playing teams stacked with known PED users. Not sure why it's surprising that they lost. Or why it should be used to devalue how good those teams were.

You lost me there. The Twins have had their fair share of PED users. Juan Rincon, Matt Lawton, Rondell White, JC Romero all come to mind. And those are just the ones we know about.

Alex
10-10-2013, 01:35 PM
You lost me there. The Twins have had their fair share of PED users. Juan Rincon, Matt Lawton, Rondell White, JC Romero all come to mind. And those are just the ones we know about.

This one tends to get hard to debate because we tend to think "our guys" (whoever they are) aren't doing it.

Boom Boom
10-10-2013, 01:36 PM
This one tends to get hard to debate because we tend to think "our guys" (whoever they are) aren't doing it.

I think we tend to forget that guys who don't throw 100 mph and guys who don't hit 40 home runs are just as capable of using PEDs as the ones who do.

Alex
10-10-2013, 01:43 PM
I think we tend to forget that guys who don't throw 100 mph and guys who don't hit 40 home runs are just as capable of using PEDs as the ones who do.

Absolutely, or it's just not looked at as such an egregious offense because they're not "wrecking baseball" with gaudy numbers.

gunnarthor
10-10-2013, 01:46 PM
Willihammer put up some pretty telling statistics. They were outscored by the east and west divisions, while mopping up in the weak Central. And of course their playoff performance speaks for itself. At the least 2002-2010 deserves one of these *

How telling are the stats? The six playoff seasons, the Twins avg 92 wins and had a 213-203 record against the AL East and West (avg of +2 per season). This years Tigers won 93 games while going 34-32 against the AL east and west. Cleveland won 92 this year and went 37-29 against the east/west. Teams interdivison games matter more. The 2011 Rays won 91 games and were a +2 against the central and west. The 2010 Rangers were +1 against the central and east.

JB_Iowa
10-10-2013, 02:17 PM
One fact that nobody has brought up is that the Twins philosophy has always been that if they make the playoffs, anything can happen. So they built teams that would win the division and then hoped for the best.

I would settle for those teams again, teams that had a chance to win every series vs. the team that we have now.

I shake my head at all the 'World Series or bust' posters, you're setting yourself up to always be unhappy, only one team can win the series every year.


I actually think this is the crux of the issue -- not the "fraud" question but "would you be satisfied with JUST a return to the success of those teams in the 2000's"?

And for me, the answer is NO. It isn't "World Series or Bust". It is "SOME PLAYOFF SUCCESS or Bust". To me there is a vast difference between being unwilling to take the chances needed to add pieces to give you a stronger chance in the playoffs and saying you HAVE to win the World Series. I'm not convinced that Terry Ryan will ever take those risks.

I would consider a repeat of 2002-2010 with the same playoff record to be a gigantic organizational failure.

ashburyjohn
10-10-2013, 02:51 PM
I would consider a repeat of 2002-2010 with the same playoff record to be a gigantic organizational failure.

Is there some bigger category than "gigantic" to describe worse failures in other organizations that occurred in the same time span?

Willihammer
10-10-2013, 03:00 PM
As mentioned before, the Twins played 4 teams that won over 100 games. In fact, the 06 A's and the 10 Yanks were the only team that didn't win at least 99 games (the 06 Twins being the only team that won more than 94). The avg Twins record in those 5 years was 92 wins. Their opponents avg 100 wins/season. Their best teams also had the happy coincidence of being unhealthy while playing teams stacked with known PED users. Not sure why it's surprising that they lost. Or why it should be used to devalue how good those teams were.

I didn't mean to devalue the Twins accomplishments in the 2000s, just put them in context. As others have said, they were good, but not as good as their win totals indicated. By the same token, their ALDS opponents were actually better than their regular season win totals, after weighting for divisional strength and the unbalanced schedules. So I agree, they were overmatched most of the time.

YourHouseIsMyHouse
10-10-2013, 04:10 PM
I think we tend to forget that guys who don't throw 100 mph and guys who don't hit 40 home runs are just as capable of using PEDs as the ones who do.

So the point is that Twins players did use steroids, but just not enough.

Seth Stohs
10-10-2013, 04:44 PM
Willihammer put up some pretty telling statistics. They were outscored by the east and west divisions, while mopping up in the weak Central. And of course their playoff performance speaks for itself. At the least 2002-2010 deserves one of these *

Those teams weren't a "fraud." They were what they were. They were very good teams that won the division that they're in. We know they weren't perfect. We know the playoff success. Those years are what they are, just like any year or any team, they're not a fraud.

Boom Boom
10-10-2013, 07:32 PM
So the point is that Twins players did use steroids, but just not enough.

No, the point is that good players on steriods > mediocre players on steroids. There's not enough 'roids in the world to turn Doug Mientkiewicz into Mark McGwire.

mike wants wins
10-11-2013, 09:58 AM
No....you can only play the schedule you are dealt, and they won what they won based on that schedule. The issue, as pointed out, is that Ryan is NOT McPhail, and refused to add the missing piece to get over the top. Oh, and McPhail did it while constrained by dome revenues.......

spycake
10-11-2013, 11:15 AM
"Fraud" isn't the word I would use. But that playoff record was off-the-charts bad. Not just the streak of sweeps, but even the streak of "one-win-then-lose-the-rest" before that. That's not luck or a curse, that suggests something fundamentally wrong with how you approach the playoffs. Even with a similar frequency of early exits, Oakland and Tampa have generally been pretty competitive in their playoff series -- one break here or there and they could have advanced (and Tampa did actually advance to the World Series one year). Most of the time, the Twins needed that one break just to win a game.

Obviously, first and foremost the Twins need to get back to contention first. But that playoff record is the "elephant just outside the room" so to speak.

gunnarthor
10-11-2013, 11:32 AM
"Fraud" isn't the word I would use. But that playoff record was off-the-charts bad. Not just the streak of sweeps, but even the streak of "one-win-then-lose-the-rest" before that. That's not luck or a curse, that suggests something fundamentally wrong with how you approach the playoffs. Even with a similar frequency of early exits, Oakland and Tampa have generally been pretty competitive in their playoff series -- one break here or there and they could have advanced (and Tampa did actually advance to the World Series one year). Most of the time, the Twins needed that one break just to win a game.

Obviously, first and foremost the Twins need to get back to contention first. But that playoff record is the "elephant just outside the room" so to speak.

Interesting point on Oakland - since 2000, they are 1-7 in playoff series with their one win coming against us in 06. (And the Twins one win was against them). They just set the ML record for losing 6 straight winner moves on games and every one of those 6 series, the A's had the better regular season record (twice they had over 100 wins and twice their opponents had 88 or fewer wins). That's gotta hurt.