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  • Low Expectations Are Easy to Exceed

    "Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he is never disappointed."
    – Alexander Pope

    Have you ever gone to see a movie that was hugely hyped, only to walk out of the theater underwhelmed after deeming it just OK? Conversely, another film that was “just OK” might have impressed you if your friends had all told you it was completely awful.

    Expectations can have an enormous impact on the way we perceive things. Which brings us to this year’s Minnesota Twins. Reality has finally set in for a fan base that was subjected to almost 200 losses over the past two years. Terry Ryan created no illusions of short-term promise with an offseason plan that was clearly not geared toward rapid improvement. What droplets of optimism existed last year around this time – that perhaps 2011 was a fluke, and that with better health the Twins would rebound toward the top of the division – have mostly evaporated.


    Obviously the lack of hope for this season has led to a dearth of excitement surrounding the product. The lacking buzz was noticeable on Opening Day at Target Field, where patches of empty seats spoke to more than just the chilly weather.

    I’d describe the current mood of the fan base at large as ambivalent, which is at least a step up from angry. Most who are paying attention can see a clear direction and long-term plan – more than could have been said the last couple years – but acknowledge that the odds of even staying remotely competitive this year are long. If the Twins dig another early hole, the reaction is more likely to be shoulder shrugs than outrage. Simply put: there’s not much room for disappointment with this team. How much worse can it really get?

    But there’s plenty of room for unexpected outcomes on the other side, and this is where the lowered standards play to the organization’s benefit. Any sort of modest early winning streak will be met with intrigue. If the team comes together after a slow start and begins stringing together some victories in June and July, it will be easy to form (possibly accurate) narratives about a young group beginning to jell.

    The fact that local ball fans aren’t necessarily too amped up about the current product doesn’t mean they’re not itching for a reason to change that outlook. And therein lies an opportunity for Ron Gardenhire and Co. It won't take a stellar team to reverse the trend of falling attendance. It will simply take a watchable team.

    If the Twins up being “just OK” this year, most of us are going to be quite pleased. The team should embrace that dynamic, because this will (hopefully) be the last time in a long while that expectations are so low. Perhaps the lessened pressure will prove to be just what this relatively inexperienced group needs.
    This article was originally published in blog: Low Expectations Are Easy to Exceed started by Nick Nelson
    Comments 54 Comments
    1. jay's Avatar
      jay -
      Quote Originally Posted by tjsyam921 View Post
      Parmelee and Plouffe are definitely going to have to drive in more runs and have better at bats with people on base.
      Let's not get caught up in 1 at-bat, in the first game of the year.

      #samplesizewarning
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Quote Originally Posted by DJ Smith View Post
      Totally agree here. I'm down on Plouffe big time and could see a change coming if there's a short string.
      Who will replace them? It's a legitimate question. In a year where the Twins are obviously kicking the can down the road, what point is there to replacing Plouffe and/or Parmelee with another player, excepting Oswaldo Arcia?
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Quote Originally Posted by snepp View Post
      Hopefully without punting free agency yet again, with even more money to spend.
      Yeah, it all sounds like a mouthwateringly-good scenario to the average mid-size franchise GM, but why do I feel like Terry Ryan, as the veritable Kid-in-the-Candy-Store, will leave said establishment with only Sourballs and Laffy Taffy?
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
      Um, most good FAs have already been signed by their teams.....the pickings will be even more slim next year, so don't count on any FA signings that excite you at all. Not to mention that Ryan has never once, even when he has $30MM laying around lining the org's pockest, spent money. I have no idea why anyone thinks it will ever be different.

      I hope fans stay away in droves. I hope no one buys season tickets in 2014. I hope the Twins' ownership gets what they deserve, for taking our money and not even trying to put a good product on the field.

      And, I think ambivalent is worse than angry. At least angry people care.
      Under this scenario, you can start saying "Hello" to articles linked to "anonymous sources" relating talk about the Charlotte/Nashville/San Antonio/Portland Twins
    1. jay's Avatar
      jay -
      Quote Originally Posted by jokin View Post
      Yeah, it all sounds like a mouthwateringly-good scenario to the average mid-size franchise GM, but why do I feel like Terry Ryan, as the veritable Kid-in-the-Candy-Store, will leave said establishment with only Sourballs and Laffy Taffy?
      Seeing as those two are my favorites... I have no choice but to assume that you mean Josh Johnson and Nelson Cruz.
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Quote Originally Posted by jay View Post
      Seeing as those two are my favorites... I have no choice but to assume that you mean Josh Johnson and Nelson Cruz.
      Somehow, I think that JJ is going to priced more like Godiva or Pierre Marcolini than Laffy Taffy.

      When you think Laffy Taffy, think Terry Tiffee.
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Hey, I like Laffy Taffy.

      Terry Tiffee, not so much.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      If JJ is good, does anyone think he is not re-signed by his current team? if he's hurt and bad, ya, then I can see the Twins signing him. Every team gets $25MM more next year, for free. I'd bet most good players are locked up by their current teams. It is a good time to have guys ready for their first contract extension, or last one.
    1. jay's Avatar
      jay -
      Quote Originally Posted by jokin View Post
      When you think Laffy Taffy, think Terry Tiffee.
      I will do NO such thing, good sir! I'd put a bin of Laffy Taffy right up there next to the pouch of Big League Chew and the sunnies. Plus, where do you think they get all their dugout humor from??
    1. jay's Avatar
      jay -
      Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
      If JJ is good, does anyone think he is not re-signed by his current team?
      I could see it as possible if Toronto doesn't do as well as they are hoping. If they were to go deep in the playoffs, it'd be hard to see them letting him go.
    1. fairweather's Avatar
      fairweather -
      For me it's about the starting pitching. If the Twins get some innings out of Harden and Gibson and they have the type of success that they're capable of then this team will be watchable. This current rotation is FAR from watchable. Deduno should be interesting as well.
    1. USAFChief's Avatar
      USAFChief -
      "It won't take a stellar team to reverse the trend of falling attendance. It will simply take a watchable team." If by "watchable" you mean they win more than they lose, I agree. If by "watchable" you mean lose 90+ games, but do it with young players manning many positions, I disagree. Most fans do not spend part of every day thinking about the Twins, checking Twins Daily, and pouring over minor league stats and reports. Most fans are casual fans. They'll follow the Twins--spend time and money--when they're relevant. Most fans don't care about 2016 in 2013. Another season of 90+ losses is going to have an effect on attendance, TV ratings, and everything associated with it.
    1. ThePuck's Avatar
      ThePuck -
      Quote Originally Posted by USAFChief View Post
      Another season of 90+ losses is going to have an effect on attendance, TV ratings, and everything associated with it.
      Exactly...like it did last year. Big % drop in attendance...and we'll see move of that this year
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Quote Originally Posted by ThePuck View Post
      Exactly...like it did last year. Big % drop in attendance...and we'll see move of that this year
      I can see it already happening. Plenty of walk-up seats available for purchase on opening day. Season ticket sales way down. Media interest cratering is a direct reflection on where the local sports meida producers think the sports consumer interest is at. To wit, today might be the first game at Target Field where the "announced" crowd could be under 30,000 when the season still "matters" (Of course the actual crowd will probably be closer to 20,000).
    1. ThePuck's Avatar
      ThePuck -
      Quote Originally Posted by jokin View Post
      I can see it already happening. Plenty of walk-up seats available for purchase on opening day. Season ticket sales way down. Media interest cratering is a direct reflection on where the local sports meida producers think the sports consumer interest is at. To wit, today might be the first game at Target Field where the "announced" crowd could be under 30,000 when the season still "matters" (Of course the actual crowd will probably be closer to 20,000).
      Heck, like 2 days before opening day there were tickets available right behind home plate, like 13 rows back...on the regular Twins MLB site even. I don't think that would have been possible the first two years...maybe last year, but not sure.
    1. ashburyjohn's Avatar
      ashburyjohn -
      Quote Originally Posted by USAFChief View Post
      Another season of 90+ losses is going to have an effect on attendance, TV ratings, and everything associated with it.
      Yes, and there seems to be a split of opinion whether this would be a good outcome, to punish ownership, or a bad outcome, harmful to the team's long term hopes. A related split was whether there was any value in spending more in 2013 when the only hope would be to improve the team's results closer to .500. It's easy for us armchair GMs to crave one more top-5 draft pick next year, and for fans to take the "teach 'em a lesson" approach to revenue, but I am honestly surprised Terry Ryan as an actual GM wasn't more aggressive in the FA market to reduce the chances of 90 losses.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      Ryan and St. Peter are convinced this is a competitive team. Their words, not mine. So, I think Ryan thinks he was "aggressive" in FA.
    1. ThePuck's Avatar
      ThePuck -
      Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
      Ryan and St. Peter are convinced this is a competitive team. Their words, not mine. So, I think Ryan thinks he was "aggressive" in FA.
      How do we know they are lying? Their lips are moving...
    1. ThePuck's Avatar
      ThePuck -
      It's the same as any other product being provided. If I go to a nice restaurant and the food and service are bad, I may blow it off as a bad night. If I come back another time or two, and it's the same, I'm not going to keep spending my money on it till I hear things have changed...which will likely result in a turnover of management and personnel.

      The only way to voice our concerns is through our pocketbooks...since money is all the Twins management cares about.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      I swear thepuck and I are not the same person.....really.
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