My fellow fans, today I have the privilege of addressing Twins Territory, just as the leader of the free world addresses the country. Nobody elected me, I don’t get to live in a fancy white mansion and I do not fly around in Air Force One, but I am still willing to go the extra mile to inform and inspire our team’s fanbase.
Today I am here to tell you that the State of the Twins is murky, but hopeful.
We as a Territory have endured much suffering over the last year. A year ago, we believed in the Twins Dream: the dream that our team would be able to work hard and achieve its goals: another division championship, a chance to gain revenge on the Yankees, and a shot at the World Series. That dream did not come true. Instead, we watched in fascinated horror as our team dismantled itself from the inside out. Previously invincible players suffered catastrophic injuries. Innocent beer vendors were unjustly fired. The Twins teased us with no-hitters and long June winning streaks only to follow them up with hideous losses. The stopgap players who backed up the ailing stars could not carry the team, and the Twins suffered a season-long recession. Only a pair of season-ending victories over the fledgling Royals kept our Twins from the embarrassment of a 100 loss season.
The offseason was a time for bold action, and bold actions were taken. The Twins fired General Manager Bill Smith and re-elected Terry Ryan to provide clear direction and leadership in the front office. Bold new solutions arrived for shortstop, outfield, catcher, and the pitching staff. And three old friends, Jason Kubel, Joe Nathan, and Michael Cuddyer, left for greener pastures. Not all of these were popular choices, but they were the tough, smart decisions that true leaders have to make.
Still, we are now a mere 25 days from the day that pitchers and catchers report, and there is much uncertainty in the air. Can a 38 year old shortstop handle the rigors of everyday play? Can our former MVPs play every day and hit like they did in their heyday? Is there anyone left on this team who can battle his tail off?
I hope so, and in my heart I believe it to be true. Because there is nothing that is wrong with the Twins that cannot be cured by what is right with the Twins. Our team knows how to pull itself up by its bootstraps. After all, what was the first team to go from worst to first? True, that was 21 years ago, but this team has plenty of talent remaining. Scott Baker, Francisco Liriano, and Carl Pavano can all be very effective starters. This year, they’ll have some speedy outfielders to back them up, and a handful of new acquisitions will help the Twins’ hitters get on base and score more runs. Looking further into the future, Miguel Sano, Eddie Rosario, and this year’s second overall draft pick will energize a new generation of Twins.
We should be optimistic about our team, mostly because it’s not a lot of fun to be a pessimistic fan. But with that optimism, there must also be action. Therefore, I present my plan for the Twins in 2012:
First, we must take drastic action on environmental issues. We must replant the pine trees in center field so that our children and grandchildren will be able to enjoy their majestic beauty. Also, I’m pretty sure that removing the trees cursed the Twins, and I endorse a firm anti-curse policy.
We must also reform the Twins education system. Too many young players came up last year unprepared for the realities of the Big Leagues and unable to field and hit The Twins Way. Bunts were unexecuted, grounders were booted, and fans were unimpressed. Let us build up the farm system so that there will be No Prospect Left Behind!
At the same time, we cannot ignore the needs of our older players, who need quality health care so that their strained obliques and sore shoulders do not keep them out of the lineup for weeks at a time. We can end the suffering with a better team health care system. Twins Territory, I challenge you to make Bilateral Leg Weakness a thing of the past!
Finally, the Twins must improve foreign relations. Twins Territory has maintained excellent relations with Australia, and we need to strengthen those ties, because they bring overseas jobs here to America. But we must reach out more to countries like Korea, Venezuela, and the Dominican Republic to bring their best and brightest young players here. Finally, I propose an embargo on players from the nation of Japan – unless we verify that they can play defense.
My fellow Twins Territorians, this team can again be the strongest and the greatest in the world. It will happen if we put our minds to it.