On the topic of the original post, I often wonder why do we care what the national perspective is? It doesn't change how many games they're going to win or how any of the players will perform. And from having read forecast articles in the past in places like Sports Illustrated, ESPN, etc, they are often comically mis-informed on facts, so the opinions based on those facts seem to have little value.
I know it sounds hokey and a bit cliche, but maybe it's not a bad thing if everyone expects the twins to suck. We've got young kids trying to prove they belong in the big leagues, injured guys trying to prove they can recover, and a handful of vets trying to pump up their value for their next big contract. Maybe everyone else thinking they're gonna suck will help pull these guys together to try and defy the odds.
The one encouraging thing I see about the Twins right now is they have a lot of question marks. I know it sounds odd, but I'd rather have a lot of guys where we don't know what they're going to give us, than a team full of guys who we KNOW will suck.
The Twins just need to believe they can win. Yes... Baseball can be fantasyland that way.
If the Pitching can keep them in games... They will win a few and they will believe they can win.
If you think you have a chance... It's a whole new ball game. Its gonna come down to pitching.
National Media--read major market "journalists". They are much like the beat reporters, except there beat is much, much larger. They pander to "their audience" just like the local yokels pander to the Twins or the rest of the local teams. The national types just breakout the cliches and write what their audience wants to read--not necessarily facts but previous perceptions. There is a very good reason that many refer to ESPN as "The Eastern Sports Programming Network"--they pander to "their audience".
When there is no evidence to support it, it's irresponsible to report likelihood of success. This doesn't mean the Twins can't or won't win the division. It does mean they will need to collectively play at a higher level than their recent track records. Except for the guys who have payed well, of course.