Twins gave hope to fans everywhere

Published 12:00 am Monday, October 14, 2002

The Anaheim Angels on Sunday did what Bud Selig, Carl Pohlad, the Chicago White Sox, the Cleveland Indians, a mess of injuries, and the Oakland A’s feared pitchers could not do: make the Minnesota Twins go away.

A season filled with accomplishments of mythical proportions won’t end with a World Series ring for the scrappy, low-budget Twins, but the team has left its fans with enough memories to last for the four months until pitchers and catchers report to spring training in Ft. Meyers, Fla. &045; and long beyond.

They also showed baseball the folly of its effort to clear away two or four of the sport’s perennial bottom feeders. They showed that even with a miniscule payroll, inexperienced players and an outdated stadium only a hometown fan could love, last year’s bottom feeder can be this year’s division champion. The Twins gave hope to the other punching-bag franchises in baseball; suddenly, Kansas City, Detroit, Florida and Montreal are wondering if they can be the next Minnesota Twins. By focusing on player development and executing shrewd trades rather than signing big-money talent from other teams, the Twins have helped demonstrate a

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viable blueprint for low-revenue teams to succeed.

The best part is that they will be back next year. Baseball’s labor agreement, which averted a strike this year, guarantees at least four more years of Twins baseball. That’s good news for a state that seems to have finally regained its interest in the hometown nine. And with a nucleus of talented players and the league’s best minor-league system, it’s a safe bet this won’t be the Twins’ last playoff appearance.

Looking back, it was a season to remember for Minnesota baseball fans. Looking forward, it may be the start of even better things.