The Minnesota Twins hosted an open house for current and prospective season ticket holders early this month. While I typically attend 10-12 games per year, I haven’t yet made the plunge into the partial season ticket pond. I’ve considered it, but I haven’t yet committed to it in my budget or my schedule. So, I admit that I was as excited for the tour, hospitality, and speakers as I was for the sales pitch I anticipated.
I was pleasantly surprised that the organization didn’t push a strong-arm approach on the season ticket front. In fact, discussing packages and deals was almost completely avoidable, if one really was there to enjoy the wining and dining. It seemed that the team’s approach was to let the organization and the ballpark persuade a potential client through a sense of transparency (from the organization) and numerous benefits (found at Target Field).
After two 96+ loss seasons, letting the team and the organization speak for themselves was a pretty gutsy move.
The three main speakers during the evening’s program were Minnesota Twins President Dave St. Peter and former Twins World Series team members Kent Hrbek and Tim Laudner. The program happened to fall on the day that Ben Revere was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies for Vance Worley and Trevor May. St. Peter spoke first, and the players followed. After each round of speeches, questions were taken from the audience. With all the excitement of Revere’s trade that day and Denard Span‘s trade shortly before then, the assembly of fans and season ticket holders had some very pointed questions about the the organization’s expectations and plans for the the Twins.
Emphatically, all three speakers claimed that the Twins weren’t simply banking on the future at the expense of today, but insisted that the Twins moves were meant to improve the team immediately and sustain and further improve the team beyond 2013. As someone who believes I am a good judge of character and can spot a prevaricator from a mile away, I would have called “shenanigans” on St. Peter, Hrbek, and Laudner if I thought I was being fed a line.
The thing is, I am quite certain they believed what they were telling us in the audience.
Hrbek cited the 2012 Baltimore Orioles as an example of a team who turned things around in one off-season, following a 95-loss season with a 93-win season. And of course, he cited the 88-loss 1990 Twins team that morphed into the 95-win World Champion Twins team the follow year. Hrbek, Laudner, and St. Peter all seemed to be genuine in their assertions. Have the Twins given up on the 2013 season? Certainly, some in the front office think the team stands a fighting chance.
As much as I wish the Twins will be contending again, I don’t have confidence in the 2013 team. The recent additions of Worley, Kevin Correia, and Mike Pelfrey to the major league rotation are likely to be an improvement over 2012, but they aren’t likely to turn it around. Pitching prospects have been added. Some, like May, could have a cup of coffee in 2013, but they won’t make an impact. Despite what the Twins office are saying (and what they seem to believe), the first time one could expect the possibility of contention is 2014. That’s if the Twins have every break go their way next offseason and on the field in 2014.
The best part about being a blogger, rather than a reporter, is that I can share a theory – whether it is thoroughly laid out or just half-baked – and give you the opportunity to give your opinion for or against. I love to see passionate discussion about my favorite team. Like the ideas I proposed? Disagree? Have an alternative idea? Discuss in the comments below. #MNTwinsHotStove