The similarity between the news conferences at Target Center and Target Field on Monday did not end with the corporate name on each building.
Despite two completely different events — media day at the dawn of a new season for the Timberwolves and the announcement that Ron Gardenhire agreed to a two-year contract extension one day after his Twins wrapped up their third consecutive season with at least 96 losses — the message was the same: the past is the past, and let’s not dwell on it.
The Wolves are eager to forget about last season, in which 341 “man games” were lost to injury — including extensive time by Kevin Love, Ricky Rubio and Nikola Pekovic. The team started with high hopes but maladies ravaged that optimism. With this week’s news that Chase Budinger, who missed much of last year because of a left knee injury, is having trouble with the same knee, it’s tempting to wonder if the Wolves are headed down a similar path this season (or even if they are downright cursed).
“We all know what happened last year, and we just want to move forward and take care of the unfinished business,” Love said early in his session with reporters, one of many times he would express that same theme.
Said coach Rick Adelman: “I feel bad for [Budinger]and I really don’t want it to become a trend. With last year it really became a trend.”
A couple hours later, Twins officials weren’t quite running from the past. They acknowledged how frustrations have mounted in their offices and in the Target Field seats as losses have piled up. But their message, too, was that of trying to wipe the slate clean and fix what has been broken.
“Ultimately, we need to win games at the major league level,” Twins President Dave St. Peter said. “I can tell you, at least from my point of view, in my discussions with ownership, I know this: I know we have the right baseball people in place. They’ve done it before, and I’m confident they’ll do it again.”
It’s hard to say if either team will be basking in their performance a year from now, but we’ll say this: the Twins’ have the steeper climb. It’s easier to fix broken bones than everything that is broken with the Twins.