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Thread: The "ebbs and flows" of long-time fans: When were your Dark Ages?

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    The "ebbs and flows" of long-time fans: When were your Dark Ages?

    Thinking about something JB_Iowa said in another thread about being a longtime Twins fan with some "ebbs and flows." Life events usually have something to do with it, as well, but when were you least interested in the Twins and what turned you off? (Saying "now" is not allowed!). For me it was the advent of free-agency and all the ugliness about the Bert Blyleven trade in mid-1976 (would never have believed that he would come back, be instrumental in winning their first World Series, and become their broadcaster).


    I was absolutely right, of course, in that all my favorite players would depart as free agents in the late 1970s. The 1980 season is a particular blur to me, I can remember Ken Landreaux's hitting streak and Gene Mauch's resigning, but little else. It was what a friend termed "the Dark Ages." What brought me back was a rookie who grew up in Bloomington (!), playing in his first game and winning it in extra innings with a homerun in Yankee Stadium. Calvin selling the team would help also.


    When were your Dark Ages? Did something in particular bring you back?

  2. #2
    Senior Member All-Star Sconnie's Avatar
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    September 28, 1995 Kirby Puckett gets hit in the face by a pitch, breaking his jaw. Spring training brought hope anew as my childhood hero tore the cover off the ball until March 28, 1996 he woke up blind in one eye and retired later that season. It would be 5 long years until the 2001 season when the Soul Patrol brought new life to my favorite team.

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    Senior Member Triple-A Don't Feed the Greed Guy's Avatar
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    April and May of 1982: Roy Smalley and Butch Wynegar traded to the Evil Empire.

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    Senior Member Big-Leaguer Oldgoat_MN's Avatar
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    Every baseball strike has been a sword to my heart.

    I can enjoy baseball even when the Twins are having a bad year (or several in a row), but those strike years hurt bad.
    I'm on a whiskey diet. I've lost 3 days already.

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    Senior Member Big-Leaguer
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    Since I am not allowed to say "now" I will say I have not had one....

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    Senior Member All-Star LaBombo's Avatar
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    1998 and 1999. Moved back to Minnesota after 10 years away, my first chance to see more than a few games a year. Had followed them even when they were bad in the mid-90's and knew not to expect much, but... man.

    At the same time, the internet was expanding at a geometric rate and I got my first high speed connection in '99, making exotic new metrics and fan blogs instantly available to dissect and chronicle just how awful they were.

    The only redeeming feature of the '99 team was the first glimmer of hope for the future, but that '98 team made me feel stupid for missing the ability to go to games all those years.

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    Senior Member All-Star Thrylos's Avatar
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    '94 on. Terry Ryan methodically dismantling the championship squad that Macphail built, with the zenith (or nadir , depending on how you look at it) being the contraction time.
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    Senior Member All-Star cmathewson's Avatar
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    The darkest day had to be when Old Man Pohlad offered his team for contraction just as it was on the verge of being good again.

    But my darkest period as a fan was after the Carew trade. It wasn't just that trade. But Bostock and Hisle had left and now Carew. I thought '77 was the beginning of something great and it was the end of something good. I was disillusioned and disgusted. I didn't follow the team again until the '84 season.
    "If you'da been thinkin' you wouldn't 'a thought that.."

  12. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Don't Feed the Greed Guy View Post
    April and May of 1982: Roy Smalley and Butch Wynegar traded to the Evil Empire.
    Yeah, I get that one, too, although living in New York City, I didn't mind having a couple of Yankees that I could root for. Since my disillusionment came in 1976, when Wynegar was a rookie and Smalley was the young player we got for Blyleven, it sure felt like things had gone full circle. But, I think in some intuitive sense I felt that things had hit rock bottom when it came to losing players, and that it would have to get better.

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    Senior Member Triple-A Jerr's Avatar
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    Dark days? Not sure if I have had them, been a fan since day one, at 10 yrs. old.
    Now as I have aged, I still enjoy that every season brings a chance. I did enjoy it more when players didn't get the big contracts, as I feel their desire has diminished.
    And now that I can pay more attention to the games, as my kids are on their own; I feel the next 2 years may be dark and gloomy.....yet on day one of the season we are in first place

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    Bah, I had a long post, and lost it.......but I'll re-type one bit....

    I was on the field for camera day, and spoke to Bostock about signing an extension (I would have been 12, or so). He was very nice to me. Then he was gone from MN. Then he was gone totally. That was a down point.
    Last edited by mike wants wins; 03-28-2014 at 03:02 PM.
    Lighten up Francis....

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    Senior Member All-Star crarko's Avatar
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    1600, when they burned Bruno at the stake. This was before he became the Twins hitting coach.

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    Senior Member Big-Leaguer Monkeypaws's Avatar
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    My darkest age in over 40 years of watching the Twins: Don Beaver and North Carolina.

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    Senior Member Triple-A Jerr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jerr View Post
    Dark days? Not sure if I have had them, been a fan since day one, at 10 yrs. old.
    Now as I have aged, I still enjoy that every season brings a chance. I did enjoy it more when players didn't get the big contracts, as I feel their desire has diminished.
    And now that I can pay more attention to the games, as my kids are on their own; I feel the next 2 years may be dark and gloomy.....yet on day one of the season we are in first place
    Now that brought back the memory of me and my son seeing and talking to Ortiz at 2 Twins clinics, he was awesome....huge and friendly and funny..... but, he never woulda become Big Papi if, he stayed here.

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    Twins Moderator MVP USAFChief's Avatar
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    Talk of contraction, even if I didnt fully believe they'd do it.
    Every post is not every other post. - a wise man

  21. #16
    Senior Member Double-A scottz's Avatar
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    Post All-Star Break 1993 through 2000 was a pretty dark time to be a Twins fan. Particularly the 1994-1995 strike (in general, this greatly changed how I viewed sports), Puckett getting hit in the face to end 1995 and never coming back due to glaucoma, and contraction talk after the 2000 season. 1997-2000 was just awful baseball for the Twins (270-376). It's interesting to note that this year's team would have to go 75-85 to match that four years of futility (the Twins only played 160 games in 1999).

    Hey, that gives me something to judge them on this year. The drive for 75! (I'll take the under.)

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    Senior Member All-Star Bark's Lounge's Avatar
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    1997-1999 were my years of disgust.

    I started getting into baseball at the start of the 1987 season when I was 11 going on 12 years old. Before that I was not very interested in professional sports, but my friends that were into baseball at the time kept buzzing about Kirby Puckett (coming off his breakout 1986 season). I invested some time in the game and I was hooked.

    Obviously, I chose a great time to become a MN Twins fan and the game brought me a ton of joy from 1987-1994. Then the strike happened. It was a bummer, but I was 19 years old and had other interests, etc. I shrugged off the strike and was happy they were able to have a 1995 season (although abbreviated). The Twins were not that great of team in 1995 or 1996, but they had some offensive pieces that made the game fun to watch. I was sad that Puckett was not a part of the 1996 season. That was a fun offense.

    The 1997-1999 seasons were awful. I still caught a few games here and there, but it seemed like a waste of time. It is not very enjoyable to watch a middling AAA team playing in MLB. The pitching was as bad as it can get and in an era where most teams had a 30+HR hitter or more, we were lucky to have one guy who could hit 20HRs.

    1998 was especially frustrating. The one player on that team that was exciting to watch was David Ortiz and they sent him to the minors after a few months into the season. If my memory serves me correct, he was having a pretty good year but was sent down for disciplinary reasons.

    My rock bottom was the David Wells perfect game, and unfortunately or fortunately, that was one of the handful of games I watched that season (Sunday was my clothes washing day). I was so angry and out of sorts. At that moment, if I was in possession of a device where I could push a button and the world would explode, I would have pushed the button.
    Last edited by Bark's Lounge; 03-28-2014 at 05:41 PM.

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    Twins Moderator MVP Riverbrian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cmathewson View Post
    The darkest day had to be when Old Man Pohlad offered his team for contraction just as it was on the verge of being good again.

    But my darkest period as a fan was after the Carew trade. It wasn't just that trade. But Bostock and Hisle had left and now Carew. I thought '77 was the beginning of something great and it was the end of something good. I was disillusioned and disgusted. I didn't follow the team again until the '84 season.
    This was mine... I was 13 years old and Carew was the Twins to me. I remember trying to use his batting stance. That imitation probably killed a year of my baseball development.

    I liked Landreaux and Engle and Havens... But Carew was my favorite Twin and I just couldn't understand why as a young 13 year old.

    I never forgave Griffith... His Racist Rasslin Ring comment that drove Carew away and drove me away with him. I didn't want my state of Minnesota painted like Griffith painted it. Along with the feeling that we could never hang on to a free agent ever!!! The Carew trade just flipped the anti Griffith switch.

    I kept on forgiving Carl Pohlad because he wasn't Griffith.

    I'm older now and have gotten over what was once deep seeded Griffith hate. Hate that mixed up my faithful Twins fanaticism that I never lost.
    A Skeleton walks into a bar and says... "Give me a beer... And a mop".

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  25. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Thrylos View Post
    '94 on. Terry Ryan methodically dismantling the championship squad that Macphail built, with the zenith (or nadir , depending on how you look at it) being the contraction time.
    Exactly what I was going to say. Losing MacPhail hurt bad. They've never recovered. In the 20 years since he left, its been 75% futility and 25% mediocrity.

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  27. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Riverbrian View Post
    This was mine... I was 13 years old and Carew was the Twins to me. I remember trying to use his batting stance. That imitation probably killed a year of my baseball development.

    I liked Landreaux and Engle and Havens... But Carew was my favorite Twin and I just couldn't understand why as a young 13 year old.

    I never forgave Griffith... His Racist Rasslin Ring comment that drove Carew away and drove me away with him. I didn't want my state of Minnesota painted like Griffith painted it. Along with the feeling that we could never hang on to a free agent ever!!! The Carew trade just flipped the anti Griffith switch.

    I kept on forgiving Carl Pohlad because he wasn't Griffith.

    I'm older now and have gotten over what was once deep seeded Griffith hate. Hate that mixed up my faithful Twins fanaticism that I never lost.
    Say what you want about Griffith, but 87&91 were Griffith's players.

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