A colleague was digging through some Star Tribune archives and found a full-page advertisement the Twins took out in the Star Tribune (and presumably other outlets) Sunday, Oct. 2, 2011.
It was a fairly benign advertisement, reflecting on the few positives of 2011 and thanking fans for coming to games. It mentioned injuries, though not exactly as an excuse. Most of all, it had a tone of accountability -- and a tone that things would get better quickly.
"But ultimately, this season failed to live up to the high standards of baseball for which the Minnesota Twins organization has become known. And we are just as disappointed as you are. But we promise to use this disappointment to motivate us to a better 2012. We will rally."
Those last three words, "We will rally," also appeared in large print as the headline, so to speak, of the entire ad.
A year later, the Twins have improved in some areas. The free agent signings of Josh Willingham, Jamey Carroll and Ryan Doumit were somewhere between good and fantastic. Joe Mauer is back to being Joe Mauer. Justin Morneau stayed healthy and had productive stretches. Trevor Plouffe had a power binge. Denard Span and Ben Revere gave the Twins far more than they did last season.
And yet, here we are, with the Twins headed for another 60-something victory season. The pitching is a mess. And the organizational tone? Well, it seems different. The notion of a quick fix seems like a thing of the past. An example from today's story:
"Our best pitching is low [in the minors], and that's not good," Twins General Manager Terry Ryan said.
The brass is being realistic and setting up not for a total rebuild, but for a slow process toward winning again. It's probably the right message. But it does stand in stark contrast to what was offered a year ago.
The Twins surely had the best intentions that they would, indeed, rally. It just hasn't happened, and now they are faced with reality. Here is the full ad, if you care to have a look: