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Thread: Were the "glory years" a fraud?

  1. #1

    Were the "glory years" a fraud?

    I've been thinking a lot about the years 2002-2010 when the Twins were one of the best teams in baseball and trying to figure out what made them so much better than the current team.

    In the beginning they were a scrappy bunch of overachievers who defied the odds.

    In the middle they had two MVPs in their primes, the best pitcher in baseball, the occasional amazing season from Liriano, the always solid Radke, a good bullpen, Torii Hunter, and plenty of role players who did the dirty work well. In hindsight, I'm baffled that we could never do anything in the playoffs.

    Towards the end the pitching was mostly the same "pitch to contact" staff we curse today, Morneau was always hurt, but Thome was there to bring the power in his absence. We had a lot of squandered talent too. (Take a look at the recent All-Star teams and count the ex-Twins).

    But one thing I keep coming back to is the schedule. During that time most games were played against the weak AL Central, and the Twins dominated the AL Central during that time. They also dominated the National League in part because they always played two series against the then weak Brewers and most of the NL in general was weaker then too. (The Sports Guy often joking call it AAAA).

    I'm too lazy to look up the actual numbers but if memory serves we were .500 or better against the AL West and terribad against the AL East (Damn Yankees!).

    So here's the deal: if we weren't playing the weighted schedule during that time and instead played the even schedule of the old days or the every team in the league schedule of today would the days we long for have even existed? I could see a couple pennants with a few years of contending as far as August in there, but the decade long stretch of expecting the playoffs seems unlikely.
    Last edited by Forever34; 10-09-2013 at 01:29 PM.

  2. #2
    Please ban me! All-Star stringer bell's Avatar
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    My opinion is that for much of that time they were the best of a bad lot. The exceptions, to me, are '06 and '10. In '06, they were the best team in baseball in the second half, had a strong relatively deep staff and a well-rounded lineup. In '10, they acquired three players in a "win-now" formula (Thome, Hardy, Hudson), but it all went south about the day they clinched the division.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Big-Leaguer Boom Boom's Avatar
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    They were a good, solid team that took advantage of a weak division. Before the wild card era I don't think any of those Twins teams would have made the playoffs.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boom Boom View Post
    They were a good, solid team that took advantage of a weak division. Before the wild card era I don't think any of those Twins teams would have made the playoffs.
    If you go by actual standings we would have tied for the old AL West lead in 2004 and won it in 2006 and 2010. This is strictly going off actual results and not the change in schedules that would occur with realignment, but I think it works out as I would say those have been our three best teams during the Gardy era.

    In 2004 we would have played NY and we saw how that turned out. We would have played them in 2006 as well and without Liriano and an ailing Radke we would have been crushed in my opinion.

    In 2010 we would have played TB.... but if you recall NY wasn't exactly trying to win the division that season, instead preferring to be wild card so they could play the Twins.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by notoriousgod71 View Post
    If you go by actual standings we would have tied for the old AL West lead in 2004 and won it in 2006 and 2010. This is strictly going off actual results and not the change in schedules that would occur with realignment, but I think it works out as I would say those have been our three best teams during the Gardy era.

    In 2004 we would have played NY and we saw how that turned out. We would have played them in 2006 as well and without Liriano and an ailing Radke we would have been crushed in my opinion.

    In 2010 we would have played TB.... but if you recall NY wasn't exactly trying to win the division that season, instead preferring to be wild card so they could play the Twins.
    Yes, those likely would have been the best three teams, but if still aligned as Al East and Al West, one wonders if our record would have been the same.

    From 2002- 2010, with the exception of 2007 (which boggles the mind with the talent on that team) we have dominated our division. A winning record each year but 2007 against the AL Central.

    With the exception of 2007, I don't think there was more than 4 times where a team in our division had a better record against us than we did against them. Why is that? IMO, we just had better talent.

    2002: 50-25, 2003: 43-33, 2004:46-30, 2005: 40-35, 2006: 41-35, 2008: 43-30, 2009: 46-27, 2010: 47-25. We were also helped by interleague most of those years. One wonders if under the old way, we would have seen the playoffs in any of those years?
    Just remember: You put the lime IN the coconut. Only THEN, can you drink it all up.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Big-Leaguer
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    I think calling it a fraud is a bit harsh. It's not like people were throwing games or juicing up (at least on our team) or playing dirty or anything. Did the schedule weighting help them? Maybe. But if they didn't have the weighted schedule, if they didn't have three divisions instead of two, and those wild card spots, who knows what the effects would have been. Would the Yankees have had such an incredible dynasty if they hadn't been playing so many games against the craptastic Blue Jays, Orioles, and Rays?

    All I know is, that stretch of time is the only period in my entire life where the Twins had three or more winning seasons in a row.

    I'll take that.

  7. #7
    Senior Member All-Star JB_Iowa's Avatar
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    I think the Twins were a very solid baseball team from 2004-2006. They had a strong winning record against the AL East (59-42) with a winning record against every AL East team except the Yankees but they were still 8-10 against the Yanks. They were 127-100 against the AL Central, again beating every team but the White Sox against whom they went 27-29. They were 50-54 against the AL West having some trouble against the Angels (10-15), beating up on Seattle (16-11) and pretty much holding their own against Oakland (12-15) and Texas (12-13). They cleaned up in interleague play where they went 32-19.

    But there is a real turnaround beginning about 2008 and continuing to 2010 when the Twins began to meet with almost utter futility against the A L East with their winning percentage against the division dropping below 40%. They kept it pretty much even against the West (actually an improvement from earlier years) and had a 60% or so win rate against the Central and continued to clean up in interleague play.

    Several years ago I started to keep a spreadsheet of how the Twins did under Gardenhire by team. I used that for the conclusions stated above. I didn't bother updating it this year (and I'm not sure 2012 is complete) because it got too darned depressing.

    Overall, the Twins definitely benefited from a weak Central and from interleague play. But what really hurt was the way the East strengthened -- because they also were representative of what was needed to win in the playoffs not just in the division.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Boom Boom View Post
    They
    were a good, solid team that took advantage of a weak division. Before the wild card era I don't think any of those Twins teams would have made the playoffs.
    Took afvantage of a weak division, yet was still always a #3 seed. Very frustrating the organization let this "success" go to their heads, failing to keep their "success" in perspective. They played in a weak division, taking advantage of the unbalanced schedule, interleague play, and an expanded playoff format.......and literally embarrassed themselves in the playoffs to the tune of a 6-21 record.

  9. #9
    Not a fan of the unbalanced schedule or the wildcard. Ruined the game.

  10. #10
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    From a pure fun fan experience, I enjoyed the winning the Twins did. Obviously disappointed with the playoffs, but I enjoyed the Twins winning all those games for those years. I didn't look at the winning, during the season, with a skeptical eye. I just enjoyed it. I even liked the playoff system before this new one and I like this new one as well. I even enjoy interleague. I think all of the additions add excitement to the game, at least for me.

    Having said that, I wish we had a balanced schedule throughout the AL and another throughout the NL.
    Just remember: You put the lime IN the coconut. Only THEN, can you drink it all up.

  11. #11
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    The weighted schedule is over stated. Rob Neyer ran something on ESPN a few years ago and concluded that, at best, it was a 1 game swing. I also think it's fair to say that if the Twins were in the AL East or West, they'd have created a different type of team to compete against their division opponents. And divisions didn't always run equal. The 2002 AL West was pretty loaded. A 100+ win team and two more that won 93. Twins naturally had a winning record against them (and beat the 100+ team in the playoffs).

    I think the last point is why is this only brought up when it's the Twins? Since 2000, the Tigers, Cubs, Cards, Padres, Phillies, White Sox, Dodgers, Braves and Yankees have all won their division with less than 90 wins. Some multiple times. That the Twins were able to win as much as they did, esp with a loaded White Sox team in the division, with their salary limitations, was quite impressive. There's no need to dismiss those years as a way to diminish Ryan now.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by stringer bell View Post
    My opinion is that for much of that time they were the best of a bad lot. The exceptions, to me, are '06 and '10. In '06, they were the best team in baseball in the second half, had a strong relatively deep staff and a well-rounded lineup. In '10, they acquired three players in a "win-now" formula (Thome, Hardy, Hudson), but it all went south about the day they clinched the division.
    I absolutely loved it when they got Hardy and Hudson. I was excited, especially for Hardy. I predicted 94 wins before the season started. A couple friends of mine didn't understand the excitement over getting those two guys...both of them being fans of teams who shop in a different department than we do, but for me I was like BAM! We made a couple really solid moves there that will help the pitching. Seemed Smith was going for it. Saw some glaring holes from a division winner and filled them.
    Just remember: You put the lime IN the coconut. Only THEN, can you drink it all up.

  13. #13
    Senior Member All-Star Thrylos's Avatar
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    "Glory years"? Not much glory, just a bunch of one and outs. Not a fraud, but a bunch of average teams that were much better than the early Ryan years' teams. But no glory. Just exaggeration of mediocrity.

    The MacPhail years were the Glory years. Parades and WS Rings = glory.
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  14. #14
    Junior Member Rookie FSP's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gunnarthor View Post
    I also think it's fair to say that if the Twins were in the AL East or West, they'd have created a different type of team to compete against their division opponents.
    I don't think that is fair to say at all. In fact, I would suggest that this is precisely why many people are calling for the heads of management.

    Regarding the original question, I agree that 2006 and 2010 would still have been quality teams but I think most if not all of the others were largely the product of a poor division and unbalanced schedule. The teams were pretty decent but usually 4th or 5th best in the AL even with the unbalanced schedule.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Thrylos View Post
    "Glory years"? Not much glory, just a bunch of one and outs. Not a fraud, but a bunch of average teams that were much better than the early Ryan years' teams. But no glory. Just exaggeration of mediocrity.

    The MacPhail years were the Glory years. Parades and WS Rings = glory.
    COULD NOT agree more. 1993-2000 was futility. 2001-2010 was a celebration of mediocrity. Now we've cycled back to futility. I'd give almost anything to have MacPhail/Kelly back in charge.

  16. #16
    The King In The North All-Star Nick Nelson's Avatar
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    The Twins had good teams during those years, but for the most part they didn't have great teams, and in part that was their own doing. How much better is that 2006 team if they don't mess around with Tony Batista and Juan Castro as starting infielders for two months? How many games were cost by feeding starts to the likes of Livan Hernandez, Ramon Ortiz and Sidney Ponson rather than more capable youngsters (or at least more capable free agents)? How much better are the 2008 and 2009 teams if you sub out Delmon Young and sub in Matt Garza and Jason Bartlett?

    I have plenty of respect for Terry Ryan -- he's a very intelligent baseball man who is ingrained in the game. But there's no denying that he's made some very poor decisions that have held good teams back from greatness. I'd like to think he's learned from those mistakes but when his rhetoric never changes, it's hard to say.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marta Shearing View Post
    COULD NOT agree more. 1993-2000 was futility. 2001-2010 was a celebration of mediocrity. Now we've cycled back to futility. I'd give almost anything to have MacPhail/Kelly back in charge.
    While I think Kelly and MacPhail were good at their jobs, the Twins only had 4 winning seasons out of the 8 they worked together (the only winning seasons in macphail's ten years and Kelly's 15 years with the twins)

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by spideyo View Post
    While I think Kelly and MacPhail were good at their jobs, the Twins only had 4 winning seasons out of the 8 they worked together (the only winning seasons in macphail's ten years and Kelly's 15 years with the twins)
    Kelly had one more winning season at the end of his career. But yeah, your point is right.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Nelson View Post
    The Twins had good teams during those years, but for the most part they didn't have great teams, and in part that was their own doing. How much better is that 2006 team if they don't mess around with Tony Batista and Juan Castro as starting infielders for two months? How many games were cost by feeding starts to the likes of Livan Hernandez, Ramon Ortiz and Sidney Ponson rather than more capable youngsters (or at least more capable free agents)? How much better are the 2008 and 2009 teams if you sub out Delmon Young and sub in Matt Garza and Jason Bartlett?

    I have plenty of respect for Terry Ryan -- he's a very intelligent baseball man who is ingrained in the game. But there's no denying that he's made some very poor decisions that have held good teams back from greatness. I'd like to think he's learned from those mistakes but when his rhetoric never changes, it's hard to say.
    Livan Hernandez won 10 games with the Twins for 4 months total--true, he was blessed with luck. The other two were cheap vets (both Ryan and Gardenhire prefer older players). Another reason they were signed was "the pitching cupboard was bare", and this was Ryan's attempt to patch the hole. Reference this all yee who want to blame Smith for the present-day Twins lack of quality pitching--this is a chronic problem and has been nearly forever.

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by spideyo View Post
    While I think Kelly and MacPhail were good at their jobs, the Twins only had 4 winning seasons out of the 8 they worked together (the only winning seasons in macphail's ten years and Kelly's 15 years with the twins)
    The only difference is MacPhail realized baseball is cyclical for small market teams. He realized you go for it when your window is open (Reardon, Gladden), and you rebuild when that window closes (Viola trade). Ryan never makes a splash either way. His goal is always be competitive, which has obviously backfired. When the window is open he refuses to add the final piece, and when the window closes, he refuses to gut it and start over. He never sells high. Imagine if those Redsox rumors were true and they were willing to take on Mauer's entire salary plus give up some top prospects how much better off this team would be. Ryan didnt even answer the phone.

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