I think we're a bit like parents when its comes to the Twins. If we graded their performance this millennium on a curve, they'd probably get an A-minus for all of those division titles. A tougher grader would probably give them a B or B+.

As parents in either case, many of us would call TC Bear or Gardy or Bill Smith into the living room for a little chat.

Us: You've been doing pretty good, right?

TC (or whomever): Yup

Us: You satisfied?

Gardy (or whomever): Pretty much.

Us: Think you can do better?

Bill (or whomever): Uh-huh.

And so it would go, until everyone hugs and goes about their jobs.

The Twins have vowed to be better than they've been in their title-winning years. That's why Orlando Hudson is here instead of Orlando Cabrera and why Jim Thome is bat-ready on the bench instead of Brian Buscher. Just as the light bulb can go off in a student's head at some point -- which is how a 3.3 high-school GPA can become a 3.9 in college -- GM Bill Smith picked up the pace toward the end of last season, bringing in players who were vital to the spectacular September that led to the postseason.

With fattened resources and the ability to juice the payroll, the Twins took the next step with their off-season moves. You can disagree with some of the choices, but you can't deny that the moves were made with the idea of making the Twins more than division winners.

Going into tonight's game, the Twins, Yankees and San Diego are all tied for the third-best record in baseball -- behind blazing Tampa Bay and a half-game worse than Philadelphia.

That's a pretty good start. But the 1 out of 5 record at New York and Boston last week, the inability to finish off series sweeps of weaker teams, leading the league (tied with the Yankees, actually) in runners left on base per game...

Conquering those things would be the difference between the B+ grades the Twins have been getting and the A's we think they're capable of achieving.


I'll be doing a Twins Chat sat noon today. Stop by and share your opinions and questions.


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