Tuesday, October 12, 2010

An Ode to the 2010 Season

2010 was an exciting season for Minnesota.  They played in a brand new ballpark, Target Field, and that meant for the first time since 1981 home games equaled outdoor baseball.  They signed their all-world catcher to a deal that will keep him a Twin until his mid-thirties.  They made some relatively big splashes in the free agent market by picking up Jim Thome and Orlando Hudson.

And the season itself saw plenty of positive moments.  We watched as Francisco Liriano finally regained most of his dominance from that 2006 season which now seems ages ago.  We saw Jason Kubel hit a grand slam off of Mariano Rivera at Yankee Stadium to complete a come-from-behind victory against the Yankees.  We were awed as Justin Morneau hit like a man possessed before the All-Star break.  We cheered as the Twins ran off win after win in the second half, culminating with a decisive 3-game road sweep of the White Sox in September.  We celebrated their second straight division championship and their sixth in nine seasons.

But, as with all seasons, there were low moments too.  Joe Nathan never stepped on the mound as he underwent Tommy John surgery before the season began.  Justin Morneau took a seemingly innocuous hit to the head in July and he still isn't able to play baseball.  The starting pitchers behind Liriano and Carl Pavano all struggled through ineffectiveness and injuries.  Joe Mauer did not win his third consecutive batting title (okay, that one was a joke... mostly).  And, of course, the Twins lost in the first round of the playoffs, to the Yankees, without winning a single game, again.

But overall, it was another great year to be a Twins fan.  Once more, the highlights clearly outnumbered the low-lights, as the Twins put together their eighth winning season in nine years and finished with 94 wins.  Yes, it was a somber moment Saturday when the Twins listlessly wasted away their postseason opportunity, but looking back on the season as a whole is a good memory.  And, as fans of 24 other teams are also saying right now, there's always next year.

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