Patrick Reusse has been covering sports in the Twin Cities since 1968. He has been a Star Tribune sports columnist since 1988. His sportswriting credo is twofold: 1. God will provide an angle; 2. The smaller the ball, the better the writing.


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Twins fans so grumpy they get mad at win

Posted by: Patrick Reusse Updated: May 29, 2014 - 7:50 AM

The Twins and then the Chicago Cubs came into AT&T Park in San Francisco for a six-game homestand that ended on Wednesday afternoon. The Giants swept the Twins and won two of three against the Cubs.


This improved the Giants’ major league-best record to 34-19 and also sent their consecutive sellout streak to 274. Obviously, in modern sports, all attendance is based on tickets sold (or distributed) and not on actual bodies in the stadium or arena.


The Giants have had plenty of empty seats both early and late in the schedules during this streak, but that wasn’t the case vs. the Twins and the Cubs. I was there for five games and the ballpark by the bay was bursting with customers of all ages and ethnic backgrounds in their Giants garb.


The Bay Area long has been a true melting pot, and to see that carry over to the ballpark is a wonderful surprise for a person raised on Minnesota’s big-league sports crowds.


More than anything, this was a reminder as to what enjoyment baseball can bring when the sporting public has a strong affection for the product offered by the home team.


An unlikely collection of Giants brought the first World Series title to San Francisco in 2010, and then repeated with a similar roster: outstanding pitching supported by a lineup with a couple of stars and otherwise pieced together with effective parts.


The 2014 Giants have used that formula through the first one-third schedule to get a small cushion over the mega-buck Dodgers in the National League West. Across the bay, the Oakland A’s have used the same elements – pitching and patchwork – to great effect for three seasons.


It was interesting to leave the outstanding baseball vibe in the Bay Area and return to the Twin Cities at daybreak on Wednesday. A few hours earlier, the Twins had rallied for two runs in the ninth to beat Texas, 4-3, and end a four-game losing streak.


Normally, this brings at least a hint of happiness to a team’s followers, but all I could find in the public forums were complaints:


Unhappiness with the squibber and Texas misplay that scored the winning run, unhappiness with the exuberance of the Twins’ winning celebration, unhappiness with Aaron Hicks’ attempt to become solely a right-handed hitter on the fly in the big leagues and, of course, unhappiness with Joe Mauer.


We’ve been unhappy with Joe since the historic day in St. Petersburg, Fla. in April 2011 when manager Ron Gardenhire offered the Twins’ diagnosis for Mauer’s absence from the lineup – something about the condition of his legs – and that’s not going to change until he assists in a significant improvement in the team’s position in the standings.


Yet, it was instructive to be back in Minnesota to take in the venom toward the Twins after a WIN. You probably have to go back to October 1969, when Calvin Griffith fired Billy Martin, to find a time when such a large share of the local sporting public was fully down on the Twins.


And the difference then was the Twins had one more tremendous ballclub – in 1970 – before settling into the franchise’s first long decline. Apathy became the main response in those final seasons at Met Stadium, and again during the eight losing seasons in the Metrodome from 1993 through 2000.


Again, the Twins are facing a large serving of apathy after the worst three-season stretch in Minnesota, but there’s also flat-out anger.


Maybe it’s always been this way in bad times and people now have forums to express their outrage. Maybe some of it is economic, as people living check-to-check can’t understand why a guy making $23 million can be stuck at 15 RBI entering his team’s 50th game of the season.


Whatever the actuality, I’ve been an ardent follower of the Twins since Day One and I’ve never been aware of a situation to equal this level of disdain for stealing one in the bottom of the ninth.


I’ve been ripping Hicks for his passive approach to hitting. I’ve contended that his left-handed swing was not going to work in the big leagues. At the same time, I think the team’s followers could have spent more time celebrating his over-the-fence catch to save three runs, and Oswaldo Arcia’s slugging, and getting those two runs in the ninth, rather than bitterness over victory.
 

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Toronto - LP: D. Hutchison 2 FINAL
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Boston - WP: J. Kelly 3 FINAL
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Cleveland - WP: C. Kluber 7 FINAL
Minnesota - LP: A. Swarzak 2
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Texas - WP: S. Tolleson 2 FINAL
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San Francisco - LP: R. Vogelsong 2 FINAL
San Diego - WP: I. Kennedy 8
Arizona - LP: W. Miley 3 FINAL
Colorado - WP: C. Bergman 8
Cincinnati - WP: A. Simon 7 FINAL
St. Louis - LP: L. Lynn 2
San Diego 22 FINAL
Buffalo 10
Dallas 34 FINAL
St. Louis 31
Washington 34 FINAL
Philadelphia 37
Houston 17 FINAL
NY Giants 30
Minnesota 9 FINAL
New Orleans 20
Tennessee 7 FINAL
Cincinnati 33
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Cleveland 21
Green Bay 7 FINAL
Detroit 19
Indianapolis 44 FINAL
Jacksonville 17
Oakland 9 FINAL
New England 16
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Arizona 23
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Seattle 26
Kansas City 34 FINAL
Miami 15
Pittsburgh 37 FINAL
Carolina 19
Chicago 9/22/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
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Washington
Columbus 4 FINAL
Carolina 3
Buffalo 0 FINAL
Washington 1
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Rice 42
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(12) Georgia 66
Georgia Tech 27 FINAL
Virginia Tech 24
Eastern Mich 14 FINAL
(9) Michigan State 73
Iowa 24 FINAL
Pittsburgh 20
Bowling Green 17 FINAL
(19) Wisconsin 68
Maryland 34 FINAL
Syracuse 20
Tulane 13 FINAL
Duke 47
Hawaii 12 FINAL
Colorado 21
Marshall 48 FINAL
Akron 17
North Carolina 41 FINAL
(23) East Carolina 70
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Wake Forest 24
Virginia 33 FINAL
(20) BYU 41
(6) Texas A&M 58 FINAL
SMU 6
Rutgers 31 FINAL
Navy 24
Central Mich 10 FINAL
Kansas 24
Utah 26 FINAL
Michigan 10
Florida 21 FINAL
(3) Alabama 42
Louisville 34 FINAL
FIU 3
Fla Atlantic 19 FINAL
Wyoming 20
Indiana 31 FINAL
Missouri 27
San Jose St 7 FINAL
Minnesota 24
Texas State 35 FINAL
Illinois 42
Massachusetts 7 FINAL
Penn State 48
Georgia State 14 FINAL
Washington 45
Appalachian St 20 FINAL
Southern Miss 21
(14) Miss State 34 FINAL
(17) LSU 29
Northern Ill 14 FINAL
Arkansas 52
Middle Tennessee 17 FINAL
Memphis 36
Utah State 14 FINAL
Arkansas State 21
Miami-Ohio 24 FINAL
Cincinnati 31
Idaho 24 FINAL
Ohio U 36
Ball State 23 FINAL
Toledo 34
(13) So Carolina 48 FINAL
Vanderbilt 34
(4) Oklahoma 45 FINAL
West Virginia 33
Ga Southern 28 FINAL
South Alabama 6
UNLV 14 FINAL
Houston 47
Miami-Florida 31 FINAL
(21) Nebraska 41
New Mexico 38 FINAL
New Mexico St 35
Clemson 17 FINAL
(1) Florida State 23
California 45 FINAL
Arizona 49
San Diego St 7 FINAL
Oregon State 28
(2) Oregon 38 FINAL
Washington St 31
Louisiana 9 FINAL
Boise State 34
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(24) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(11) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Middle Tennessee 9/26/14 7:00 PM
Old Dominion
Fresno State 9/26/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
Texas-El Paso 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(25) Kansas State
Tennessee 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(12) Georgia
Vanderbilt 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Kentucky
Wyoming 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(9) Michigan State
Northwestern 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
TCU 9/27/14 11:00 AM
SMU
Iowa 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Tulane 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers
So Florida 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Colorado State 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Western Mich 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
Maryland 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Indiana
Akron 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/27/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Arkansas 9/27/14 2:30 PM
(6) Texas A&M
Kent State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Virginia
Western Ky 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Minnesota 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Wake Forest 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Louisville
FIU 9/27/14 2:30 PM
UAB
(1) Florida State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
NC State
Miami-Ohio 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Colorado 9/27/14 3:00 PM
California
Louisiana Tech 9/27/14 3:00 PM
(5) Auburn
Texas 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Kansas
Temple 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Connecticut
(16) Stanford 9/27/14 3:15 PM
Washington
TX-San Antonio 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
South Alabama 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Idaho
Cincinnati 9/27/14 5:00 PM
(22) Ohio State
Rice 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Missouri 9/27/14 6:00 PM
(13) So Carolina
Boise State 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Air Force
North Carolina 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Clemson
Central Mich 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
Troy 9/27/14 6:00 PM
ULM
New Mexico St 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(17) LSU
Memphis 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(10) Ole Miss
Duke 9/27/14 6:30 PM
Miami-Florida
Texas State 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Washington St 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Utah
(8) Notre Dame 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Syracuse
(7) Baylor 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Iowa State
UNLV 9/27/14 7:00 PM
San Diego St
Illinois 9/27/14 8:00 PM
(21) Nebraska
Oregon State 9/27/14 9:30 PM
(18) USC
Nevada 9/27/14 9:30 PM
San Jose St
Chivas USA 0 FINAL
Toronto FC 3
Toronto 40 FINAL
Brt Columbia 23
Edmonton 23 FINAL
Hamilton 25
Calgary 15 FINAL
Montreal 31
Ottawa 32 FINAL
Saskatchewan 35
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