It's a tough day to be a Twins fan, but days like today are part of the journey. I dug out the following article I wrote for my college newspaper in 1985, two years before the Twins won their first World Series, and it cheered me up. Thought I'd share, as I think the community needs it.
People have often asked me why I love the Twins. They ask as if being a Twins' fan must be an inescapable condition which is ultimately under genetic control, or the result of a traumatic childhood experience. I immediately assure my inquirers that my fanaticism is completely voluntary, but have trouble pinpointing exactly what hooked me. Maybe I simply enjoyed defying parental authority by listening to the Twins on the transistor radio under my pillow long after I was supposed to be asleep. Whatever the reasons, it happened, and I love the Twins.
During my formative years as a Twins fan I suffered the same delusions common to most Twins' fans of that era. I believed that Craig Kusick was the second coming of Harmon Killebrew, and that Rod Carew must be moved to first base to make room for a budding star named Jerry Terrell. I expected my time investment to quickly yield dividends and a pennant flag.
As I waited, I turned my eyes to the outfield and saw Norwood, Powell, and Sofield where Bostock, Ford, and Hisle used to stand. It was then that I discovered a reality about baseball. It was then that I discovered a reality about life. The Twinkies, as they were jeeringly or lovingly called, became a reminder of the struggles that lead to any success. They became a lesson about the valley that must precede any mountain.
How can one know the thrill of victory without first tasting of defeat? Can there ever be a mountain without a valley? If everything was mountain, all would be flat.
Much has been written about the woes of being a Twins' fan, but I see it as a great preparation. I pity the Yankee fan, for he can never fully savor victory. He is like the 4.0 student who whines about a B+ but never really appreciates the A's he usually gets.
Ardent Twins' fans will soon be rewarded for their devotion. There can never be a valley without a mountain. For every Bob Gorinski there is a Tom Brunansky; and from each Eddie Bane rises a Frank Viola. For every 60-102 season, there is a World Championship in store for the Minnesota Twins.
The only question now is "when?" I believe the day is coming soon, but if not, time will only sweeten the taste of victory. The deeper the valley - the higher the mountain.
I am not one to quickly criticize the fans who jump on the bandwagon when the Twins start to do well. I know that their rapture at the top will never be as great, for they did not climb the mountain. When the day comes, and the Twins are crowned as champs, the newcomers will rush out and guzzle down a six-pack of Schlitz to celebrate. Myself, and others like me, will walk slowly to the cellar to get the vintage wine that has been aging for the occasion. Before we sip, we will smell the cork and say, "1965 - it was a very good year."