The Twins sold out 10 consecutive home openers from the debut of Target Field in 2010 through 2019.
They were able to continue the streak in the years following the worst four-season stretch in team history (2011-14). They did so again following the record 103 losses in 2016.
The pandemic arrived to create a mini-season without fans in 2020 and then strict attendance limits to start 2021.
There was a one-week delay this time due to an owners-imposed lockout that stretched from December to mid-March.
This did not change a schedule that had the Twins home opener vs. Seattle on April 7 – or the fact rain, snow and cold would postpone that to Friday afternoon under a cool sun.
What was different was this: The Twins for the first time failed to sell out a full-capacity opener at Target Field.
The one-day delay actually allowed the Twins to sell a few hundred more tickets in advance, and there was a walk-up of 1,200 on Friday when fence-sitters saw the sunshine.
That left the announced attendance at 35,462, in comparison to the 39,519 for the last unrestricted opener vs. Cleveland on March 28, 2019.
The Twins won that, 2-0, on a combined two-hitter from Jose Berrios and Taylor Rogers, and the time of game was 2 hours, 18 minutes.
Since then, the Indians have become the Guardians, Berrios has become a Blue Jay, Rogers has become a Padre, and Friday's 2-1 game being played in 2 hours, 53 minutes was a lightning pace.
The matchup was Twins righthander Joe Ryan, a rookie with five prior big-league appearances, vs. lefthander Robbie Ray, the 2021 Cy Young Award winner in Toronto, and signed by Seattle to a five-year, $115 million contract.
Ryan threw a hit-me fastball to Mitch Haniger in the first inning, it went for a two-run home run, and the Twins couldn't take the rook off the hook for the rest of the afternoon.
The 2021 season didn't go off the rails until Opening Day in Milwaukee, when Josh Donaldson hit a first-inning double and limped into second base, followed by new closer Alex Colome making the dumbest throw to a base imaginable to trigger a Brewers comeback win.
The Twins finished last in the AL Central at 73-89. Combine that flop of a season with a dawdling pace that has MLB trying to fight off the American Cornhole Championships in national TV ratings and, frankly, the surprise here was that the Twins reached 35 grand Friday.
It was less than four weeks from the end of the lockout to the submission of Opening Day rosters on Thursday, and the activity from Derek Falvey and his front office was nonstop.
The No. 1 move with a bullet was to accept agent Scott Boras' offer to add the terrific shortstop Carlos Correa at a pay of $36 million for what's likely to be one season.
An example of the Twins' current shaky status with Upper Midwest sports consumers is the fact the signing of the outstanding Correa was greeted with less excitement than a contract extension for Vikings quarterback Kirk ".500 or Bust'' Cousins.
On Friday, Correa came to plate in the first inning and received an ovation lasting 8 seconds.
This is Carlos Correa, folks. He's as good as any of them as a big-league shortstop.
Correa did get a hit in that first at-bat. Later, he came up with two on twice, hitting into a double play and flying out.
Byron Buxton was hitting ahead of him, struck out in both those situations and went 0-for-4.
Ray befuddled the Twins with his mix of pitches for seven innings. A home run by new guy Gio Urshela … that was it off Ray.
Things were quiet for the Twins from inning 6 through 8, and then Luis Arraez came up to pinch-hit leading off the ninth.
The 20,000 fans still in the yard were excited, because everyone likes Luis. He battled closer Drew Steckenrider and then blooped a single.
Here came Miguel Sano. One swing, big man. He skied out foul to the catcher. Here came Alex Kirilloff, the young guy who's certain to be a hitter. He struck out.
That left Gary Sanchez, banished from the Yankees in the Josh Donaldson trade. He hung in against Steckenrider, and then sent a high fly deep to left.
The voices rose. The ball hung in the air. Left fielder Jesse Winker looked upward and backed to the fence.
"When Gary hit that same ball at Yankee Stadium, it was 10 rows deep,'' Twins reliever Tyler Duffey said.
This was Minneapolis, not the Bronx. Winker caught it at the wall. The Twins must wait for another day to recapture excitement from the locals.