I remember going to the Kingdome back in my baseball writing days, which was a pretty depressing experience. This may sound like hometown justification, but going into the Kingdome was 1,000 times worse than going to the Metrodome because it felt like a big, dank basement. The Mariners of that era were terrible and also had a terrible team song, something about how "anything can happen, anything at all."

There always seemed to someone who would add, "but it probably won't."

The Twins probably won't be very good this year. One more time: The team would be a lot more interesting if  concerns about the pitching weren't so deep and frequent. So much else that's promising is dwarfed by that concern. Mauer and Morneau can lead a lineup that'll score five runs, and the pitching will be hard pressed not to give up six.

We know that. Now, let's get on with the season. A team without expectations creates a different set of dramas. Will Gardy make it through the season? How many games will the Twins win before the Gophers have a new basketball coach? What did Terry Ryan and his staff see in Kevin Correia? How cheaply can you buy tickets on the secondary market? (I bought four for Wednesday in the Legends Club for $19.20 each.)

If you care enough not to walk away, you'll find the things that will get you through the season -- even if it isn't with the passion that you follow a contender.

Among other things, I want the Twins to be a team that reclaims its reputation for doing things right. I was amused during Saturday's exhibition season ender to hear Cory 'n' Danny describe what should have been a routine play in which the Twins first baseman, a minor-league fill-in with a number in the 80s, apparently forgot to cover first base on a grounder to second.

"Doing the little things right," I said to myself.

That's not the only thing I want. I want the key players to have the kind of seasons that will at least provide the illusion of playoff contention. In the 10-teams-make-it playoff system, it doesn't take as much as it used to.

No, wait. Let me amend that and be more realistic. I want the Twins to be closer to having that kind of season than to having another season in which the final week's drama is whether they lose 100 games.

The time for harsh judgment will come soon enough. On Opening Day, it's OK to expect a miracle, even if you know better.


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Section 219: Getting interested in the Twins while confronting reality

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Section 219: A few fundamental thoughts going into Game 2