Well, we're starting to think sports operate in very much the same way. If a collective team has a lightning-in-the-bottle kind of year, the temptation is to not change anything -- to attempt not to upset the flow of whatever was working the previous season and hope that it carries over to the next. The problem, again, is that the mixture often times doesn't blend together in the same way. A little too much of this ... not enough of that ... and suddenly the whole thing is off.
We're not saying this is definitely what has happened to the Twins this year. The year is only nine games old, not even the equivalent of one full NFL game in terms of fractions of a season. But this 3-6 start, manufactured largely by a roster full of holdovers (particularly in the rotation and starting lineup), does at least raise some red flags. A season ago, so many things fell into place in the regular season -- the weather, the timely hitting, the Pavstache, for example -- that helped the Twins offset the losses of mainstays Justin Morneau and Joe Nathan to injuries. The temptation was to think that getting both back without doing a whole lot else would make a good team even better.
Right now, though, it seems like everyone is waiting for something great to happen instead of making it happen.
We went through this very recently with the 2009 to 2010 Vikings, a holdover group that believed in the power of continuation right until it led them into the ground. We went through this when the Timberwolves sputtered from first in the West in 2003-04 to out of the playoffs in 2004-05 despite having arguably a deeper roster in that follow-up year and still championing the Big Three.
We waited expectantly for both of those previously charmed squads to turn things around. If you're a Twins fan, you're hoping all this is right now is a little slump and not a season-long trend.