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How Twins fans have been spoiled by a lack of mediocrity for two decades


Brock Beauchamp
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11 minutes ago, KFEY93 said:

What would you call that then? Good. Because they weren't that word either. 

They lost 100 games one year and 90 several more. That’s not mediocre, that’s awful.

I also suspect they would have been good (90+ wins) had 2020 been a normal season. 

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28 minutes ago, Brock Beauchamp said:

They lost 100 games one year and 90 several more. That’s not mediocre, that’s awful.

I also suspect they would have been good (90+ wins) had 2020 been a normal season. 

Ah, I guess I was sort of using mediocre and awful interchangeably. But I agree with you. 

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I think the whole premise of the article is wrong, do I as a fan feel spoiled by the twins for the last 20 years, hell no, I feel a lot of things (lucky, deserving, pissed, let down, kicked in the gut, and others) but spoiled isn't one of them.

In the first 10 years of the article, us fans weren't spoiled because we had some of the best baseball players on earth, and a couple of the greatest individual years in history, we were deserving for having to put up with that crap in the 90's.

Then for 6 years they were terrible again and everybody dreamed of the of the minor league prospects that would soon come up.

They came up and did really well, there were not as crazy good as the 2000's teams

But IMO besides 2019, 2010, 2006, 2004, 2003, 2002 (excluding 2020), for the most part they have been mediocre to bad to terrible since 1993.

And as fan and I see this, when a team is doing really well in a season you have to go for it, because that doesn't come along that often for a team like the Twins.

As a 50 year old twins fan, I am sure I have never used the words "I have been spoiled by the Twins"

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9 minutes ago, chopper0080 said:

I understand your frustration with some of the responses but I also understand where those responses are coming from. Just because you define mediocrity a certain way doesn't mean that others will agree with that definition. Just saying.

Disagreement is fine, rebutting points I’m not making and running the thread in a different direction are not.

Not a single person has actually articulated why my definition of mediocrity is wrong or suggested an actual alternative to it. 

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6 hours ago, Brock Beauchamp said:

Disagreement is fine, rebutting points I’m not making and running the thread in a different direction are not.

Not a single person has actually articulated why my definition of mediocrity is wrong or suggested an actual alternative to it. 

and I think that is because a lot of people take post-season success into the conversation of organizational mediocrity. For me, not winning a playoff series in nearly 19 years and not winning a playoff game since 2004 but still making the postseason 9 times is the exact definition of mediocre. Essentially not always a terrible team but not close to contending either. The difference in this is that you are counting that as "good" and a lot of folks don't. And frankly, if the top end of the spectrum is a non-competitive playoff team and the bottom end is a terrible team, that averages out to mediocre in my book.

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9 hours ago, Brock Beauchamp said:

Disagreement is fine, rebutting points I’m not making and running the thread in a different direction are not.

Not a single person has actually articulated why my definition of mediocrity is wrong or suggested an actual alternative to it. 

I don't think your definition is "wrong," but I'd tweak it a bit. Namely, I'd expand it a little. 

WIth the definition of "mediocre" as 76-86 wins, there were only eight mediocre teams this year, with 12 "good" teams and 10 "bad" teams. I didn't look at prior years to see whether that's a normal distribution, but I'd expect a little more of a bell curve. 

In many ways, this is as productive as arguing what an "ace" is, but I'd be inclined to use a range more like 73-89 wins. That's saying you have to be a 90-win team to be "good" and a 90-loss team to be "bad." Otherwise you're mediocre. 

Of course in doing that, we've just crowned a "mediocre" team World Champion, since Atlanta went 88-73. And one of the two Twins WS winners would also classify as "mediocre." With the WS win, I doubt Atlanta fans will consider this a mediocre season, but I also don't think they'll rank it with the dominant teams in franchise history. Similarly, I think most of us realize that the 1987 Twins team used the playoffs and WS to turn a mediocre-ish to slightly better than mediocre team into a wonderful fan experience.

It may also be worth noting that by that definition, the Twins were "mediocre" this year, rather than bad. Don't get me wrong -- I've told plenty of folks that this was the most disappointing year I've ever had as a Twins fan, given the high expectations that I had going in. But that speaks to the inherent challenge of definitions like this. Not only was the team a disappointment, but they finished LAST, by golly. Behind Detroit, no less. So how could it be considered anything but horrible?

What the last place finish and complete unfulfillment of expectations ignores is the REALLY bad records by Baltimore and Texas. And in the National League, this year's team wouldn't have finished last in any division. They beat two teams in the East and two teams in the Central, and they beat one team and were within a game of matching a second team in the West. They finished 16 games under, but were 14 under through 42 games, so they were basically horrible (54-win pace) through the first quarter of the season and then almost the definition of average over the last 120 games (59-61). But because the horrible 42 were the first 42, it colors our perception of the whole year and our perception of what needs to happen now. 

So related to your point (I think), I do think that the regular season "success" (i.e., lack of mediocrity) of Twins teams over the past two decades leads to over-reactions on the part of many. It creates a lot of "tear everything down, sack every player who didn't live up to expectations last year, get rid of every contract that sniffs of overpriced, and bring up everyone who had some success in the minors" reactions when you have a year like this year.

In this particular off season, that strong overreaction is the result of that 42-game stretch from April to mid-May. If that's kind of overhaul is what people are expecting, I think there's going to be a lot of disappointed folks this offseason.

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On 11/2/2021 at 3:14 PM, Brock Beauchamp said:

Yeah, I forget how many ticker tape parades have been celebrated in ALC cities over the past two decades. Oh, wait, I know the number. Two.

It's super-irritating to create a thread that specifically talks about regular season performance and constantly be hit with "herr derr POSTSEASON" because that's all Twins fans can ever talk about.

We're all aware of the Twins postseason futility. I literally mention it in the first sentence of this topic.

No one can claim mediocrity for the post seasons.

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Really interesting topic, Brock. For those who want to conflate postseason success with regular season results, here you go:

Winning percentages

1991 .586 WS title, and there was great rejoicing

1992 .556 2nd in division of 7

1993 .438 5th of 7

1994 .469 4th of 5 strike-shortened season

1995 .389 5th

1996 .481 4th  Mediocre!  Yay!

1997 ,420 4th

1998 .432 4th

1999 ..394 5th

2000 .426 5th

I don't remember spending the '90s basking in the glow of two WS titles. I remember being really unhappy about my miserable Twins team. Mediocrity would have been a huge upgrade.

 

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1 hour ago, big dog said:

Really interesting topic, Brock. For those who want to conflate postseason success with regular season results, here you go:

Winning percentages

1991 .586 WS title, and there was great rejoicing

1992 .556 2nd in division of 7

1993 .438 5th of 7

1994 .469 4th of 5 strike-shortened season

1995 .389 5th

1996 .481 4th  Mediocre!  Yay!

1997 ,420 4th

1998 .432 4th

1999 ..394 5th

2000 .426 5th

I don't remember spending the '90s basking in the glow of two WS titles. I remember being really unhappy about my miserable Twins team. Mediocrity would have been a huge upgrade.

 

The above  "Omnibus Aut Nihil Chart" was made famous by the old professor from New York University, Dr. Stengel, who  taught abundant supply-side economics for years in the 1950's.  

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On 11/2/2021 at 3:14 PM, Brock Beauchamp said:

Yeah, I forget how many ticker tape parades have been celebrated in ALC cities over the past two decades. Oh, wait, I know the number. Two.

It's super-irritating to create a thread that specifically talks about regular season performance and constantly be hit with "herr derr POSTSEASON" because that's all Twins fans can ever talk about.

We're all aware of the Twins postseason futility. I literally mention it in the first sentence of this topic.

Let's look at the regular season then.  The Twins have gone 32-109 against the Yankees since 2002.  That .227 Winning% is worse than the New York Mets baseline of 40-120 that is commonly used as replacement level.  Seeing the Twins getting dominated by the Yankees year after year and seeing the Twins and AL Central have so many issues in the postseason make me think that we need to weight your "mediocre" scale.  In FIP they often have a ballpark rating to adjust expected ERA up or down depending on ease of hitting HR and such.  I am going to apply a factor to teams in the AL Central.  An 81-81 team in the AL East is better than an 81-81 team in the Central so while you used +-10 games to get to 76-86 and 86-76 I am going to use 80 as my starting point and go 80-82 and 90-72 which means requiring 4 additional wins per season to get out of "mediocre" for an AL Central team.  This adjusts your table to the following:

2002: 94-67 - Good
2003: 90-72 - Mediocre
2004: 92-70 - Good
2005: 83-79 - Mediocre
2006: 96-66 - Good
2007: 79-83 - Bad
2008: 88-75 - Mediocre
2009: 87-76 - Mediocre
2010: 94-68 - Good
2011: 63-99 - Bad
2012: 66-96 - Bad
2013: 66-96 - Bad
2014: 70-92 - Bad
2015: 83-79 - Mediocre
2016: 59-103 - Bad
2017: 85-77 - Mediocre
2018: 78-84 - Bad
2019: 101-61 - Good
2020: Too short to compare
2021: 73-89 - Bad

I personally view 14 of the past 20 season as either mediocre or bad.

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On 11/3/2021 at 8:01 AM, Brock Beauchamp said:

Dude, it kinda feels like you're trolling me at this point. You keep reframing my statements into something they absolutely are not. I was very clear with. my statements and definitions here.

 

I thought I responded, but maybe I didn't? I'm not trying to troll anybody and I'm not trying to re-frame your statements, I was just paraphrasing 81-81 meaning .500ish. 

I don't think the mediocrity you're talking about is exists outside of extreme anomaly. The 1995-2010ish Blue Jays, and a little more recently, the Mets, but I can't think of any other teams which really fit that description. Both the Blue Jays and Mets had major ownership/GM issues.

Being in a position where the team is constantly around .500-ish, never makes a post season appearance, but never really sucks, either would be pretty frustrating for sure. It's not worse than being awful year in and year out with ownership that doesn't even care to put anything decent on the field, but that's not where the Twins have been. Anyway, extending the season is often about luck. The 1 run ball game luck across a season or a Pythagorean which suggests a record should be different than it is or the missed strike out call that turns into a home run to extend the season. I think medicore team fans always some hope. Look at the Vikings fans. "This is our year" is the mantra of Vikings fans despite extreme mediocrity from the team. Teams which are close, but never make the move always have hope. I've lived in San Francisco and Denver. The Rockies fans have hope, but it's guarded. All it takes is a few career years at the same time and a mediocre team suddenly becomes a real contender, like the 2019 Twins. That's luck, and it can strike any time. Is a constant mediocre team worse than a team which follows the cycle the Twins have? Would fans be more apathetic? I'd say no. The Twins themselves carry an atmosphere of insecurity and the fans follow. Even in the up years, hope exists, but confidence in taking the next step is nowhere to be found. You say it would be worse if the owner appeared apathetic and fans would be more demoralized. I say, the vast majority of fans are already in that state.

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I don't know how many of you are old enough to remember the Twins from the there first year, but after the sixties they became MEH at best with  exceptions of being good or just plain losers.

Since 1970 they have only won at least 90 games 9 times, winning a World Series during one of their MEH years.

They lost 90 games in 1961 and turned it around; it was 21 years before they lost 90 or more games again(  ignoring the short 1981 season ) ; starting in 1982 they lost 90 or more games 13 times, they have been on the whole a lot worse than mediocre way too often.

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On 11/3/2021 at 11:31 AM, Brock Beauchamp said:

Disagreement is fine, rebutting points I’m not making and running the thread in a different direction are not.

Not a single person has actually articulated why my definition of mediocrity is wrong or suggested an actual alternative to it. 

Brock, I give you props for a taking a reasonable approach.  You defined mediocrity in a reasonable way and you used a significant sample size.  It would have added validity if you had compared other clubs with similar revenue.  However, it would not have mattered.  A lot of people don’t care about a reasonable definition which is why none of them challenged your definition.  In any academic or business setting that would be the primary focus.  If posters accept your definition, it’s very difficult to dispute your conclusion.  That’s not going to happen universally here.  Fans are fanatical.  Their expectation is well beyond reason and what they really want to do is bitch about those expectations not being met.  You framing it in a reasonable way to quantify results provides a reasonable way to draw a conclusion.  Some fans are not interested in such a thought process.

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The Author has drank the MN Kool-Aid for too long.  He needs to ask himself how many times in those 20 years have the fans REALLY thought that the team had a chance to not just get to the playoffs but actually go deep and possible get to the World Series. The answer for most fans would be either ZERO or 1-2 times. Without committing dollars to getting an ACE AND a competent 2 & 3 slot pitchers the hope for success in the playoffs is non-existent!!

If the author really means his point is they have not been the worst in baseball that is true. But much beyond that has been a stretch. Tying up so much money in the Mauer contracts proved to be a bad decision. As soon as he was gone they took that 20 million, put it into 4 quality players and made it to the Playoffs.

 

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On 11/4/2021 at 10:48 PM, RpR said:

I don't know how many of you are old enough to remember the Twins from the there first year, but after the sixties they became MEH at best with  exceptions of being good or just plain losers.

Since 1970 they have only won at least 90 games 9 times, winning a World Series during one of their MEH years.

They lost 90 games in 1961 and turned it around; it was 21 years before they lost 90 or more games again(  ignoring the short 1981 season ) ; starting in 1982 they lost 90 or more games 13 times, they have been on the whole a lot worse than mediocre way too often.

I’m not old enough to remember those 60s and 70s teams but this was what kinda spurred a lot of the motivation for me to make this post. 

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On 11/5/2021 at 7:53 AM, Major League Ready said:

That’s not going to happen universally here.  Fans are fanatical.  Their expectation is well beyond reason and what they really want to do is bitch about those expectations not being met.

Man, I did not want to jump back into this thread, but this ....

First of all TwinsDaily is chock full of thoughtful passionate human beings. You can disagree with their conclusions and bemoan what you think is a lack of reason, but there's always good stuff here by good people, both in the article AND the comments. This comment applies that all you find here is a sort of "bitching" rabble, which is just pretty insulting.

Second, I appreciated Brock's argument. However, there are two points worth contending:

1) "Mediocre" is an evaluation of quality, not of quantity. Brock argument is that one can use a single quantity - a benchmark of W/L record - to define what was a mediocre season. To me, that's like saying a steak was mediocre because it's a certain weight or size or a beer was mediocre because of it's alcohol content. In short, I don't personally find numbers like these helpful framework for discussing the quality of something as complex as a baseball season.

2) Brock's argument is also that Twins fans are fortunate because we have merely experienced the W/L record extremes, and not the muddling middles. My response to this was that Twins fans are about as unfortunate as they come. Only one other team in all of MLB has had as long of a drought of playoff victories, and I contend that the playoffs are THE REASON why the season exists. I used the cake and frosting metaphor before, and I stand by it.

I think a lot of people are expressing the same points of contention to this article here, but maybe not in so many words. It doesn't mean they lack reason, but that their passion and their frustration over so many seasons of missed opportunities (and plenty of excuses from FO staff and ownership) is palpable. At this point, the team is pretty lucky to even still have a passionate fan base.

BTW, and expectation that the team win maybe just ONE playoff game in 18 tries doesn't seem "well beyond reason" to me, but what do I know.

But as for the back and forth in the comments - from the rational numbers arguments and the hot-blooded heart takes - I always love it. I hope you will, too.

 

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1 hour ago, LastOnePicked said:

Man, I did not want to jump back into this thread, but this ....

First of all TwinsDaily is chock full of thoughtful passionate human beings. You can disagree with their conclusions and bemoan what you think is a lack of reason, but there's always good stuff here by good people, both in the article AND the comments. This comment applies that all you find here is a sort of "bitching" rabble, which is just pretty insulting.

Second, I appreciated Brock's argument. However, there are two points worth contending:

1) "Mediocre" is an evaluation of quality, not of quantity. Brock argument is that one can use a single quantity - a benchmark of W/L record - to define what was a mediocre season. To me, that's like saying a steak was mediocre because it's a certain weight or size or a beer was mediocre because of it's alcohol content. In short, I don't personally find numbers like these helpful framework for discussing the quality of something as complex as a baseball season.

2) Brock's argument is also that Twins fans are fortunate because we have merely experienced the W/L record extremes, and not the muddling middles. My response to this was that Twins fans are about as unfortunate as they come. Only one other team in all of MLB has had as long of a drought of playoff victories, and I contend that the playoffs are THE REASON why the season exists. I used the cake and frosting metaphor before, and I stand by it.

I think a lot of people are expressing the same points of contention to this article here, but maybe not in so many words. It doesn't mean they lack reason, but that their passion and their frustration over so many seasons of missed opportunities (and plenty of excuses from FO staff and ownership) is palpable. At this point, the team is pretty lucky to even still have a passionate fan base.

BTW, and expectation that the team win maybe just ONE playoff game in 18 tries doesn't seem "well beyond reason" to me, but what do I know.

But as for the back and forth in the comments - from the rational numbers arguments and the hot-blooded heart takes - I always love it. I hope you will, too.

 

For starters, quality is obviously always a relative term and the way to make sense of a relative term is through quantification.  Brock provided a reasonable framework to provide quantification and I bet he would have welcomed thoughtful debate on how he quantified "mediocre".

Secondly, the presumption that pointing out that certain posters response is fanatical does not even come close to asserting that "all you find here is a sort of "bitching" rabble" and it's insulting that you twist it to this degree.  It's really incredible you go there when I complemented Brock in this very thread for his approach.  Agree with him or not he applied a logical approach which was meant with a lot of squaking supported by nothing of consequence.  How does there win record compare to the rest of the division or how does it compare to teams with similar revenue.  God or bad requires a basis of comparison which was not present here. 

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13 hours ago, Brock Beauchamp said:

I’m not old enough to remember those 60s and 70s teams but this was what kinda spurred a lot of the motivation for me to make this post. 

You don't remember Julio Bequer at 3rd base??  Earl Battery's amazing catch in the '65 World Series?  From 1962 until the early 70's the Twins put really good teams on the field and life was good.  

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3 hours ago, LastOnePicked said:

2) Brock's argument is also that Twins fans are fortunate because we have merely experienced the W/L record extremes, and not the muddling middles. My response to this was that Twins fans are about as unfortunate as they come. Only one other team in all of MLB has had as long of a drought of playoff victories, and I contend that the playoffs are THE REASON why the season exists. I used the cake and frosting metaphor before, and I stand by it.

I go back and forth on this and what Brock is trying to say. There have been a lot of fun seasons in the years he mentions ... and then great disappointment in the post season. I mean, I get that the goal is to win it all ... but only one team can do that. And there are a lot of reasons why many teams, not just the Twins, are not that one, but that would be worthy of another thread. I think what some are saying is that the disappointment outweighs any fun we had to get there. That is certainly a valid point to make that allows an opinion contrary to Brock's statements; and that is something we can either agree or disagree with all day long. If you remove the post-season play from the equation, we had some great, fun seasons. Yes, it's gotten to the point where the disappointment becomes the focus, but it isn't the whole story, at least not for me. It makes it difficult since that's where things end, on the disappointment, and we all tend to carry that forward and forget what got us there. For me, personally, I've always tempered my expectations with the mantra "It's just a game." That works for me ... and I'm not suggesting that anyone else follow my lead on that ... but that's what I do. I can enjoy or not enjoy each and every individual game. They either add up to a more fun or less fun season. And then I regard the post-season as something else. I don't know ... but compartmentalizing sports like this still allows me to enjoy the sport ... most of the time. What irks me the most isn't the conversations of post-season disappointment, because that I get, whether or not that is my personal view. But what irks me the most is all the bemoaning some do each and every game from game 1 of a new season. It makes trying to watch a game very unpleasant when I'm just trying to take a 'each day is new' approach to get through the season and enjoy that one game, one game at a time. 

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