All Minnesota summers are good. But some bring special pleasures — years when mosquitoes are few, sweet corn is abundant, and the Twins are contenders in a tough American League Central Division at the All-Star Break.
Minnesotans aren't a giddy lot. But this state's Twins fans are prone to unprovoked grins and optimistic outbursts as they reflect on their team's surprisingly strong performance in the season's first half.
After four years of failure and frustration, few expected that Tuesday's Midsummer Classic would arrive with the Twins owning the American League's second-best winning percentage and a strong second-place position in the AL Central — behind league-leading Kansas City, a club that was itself synonymous with futility not long ago.
Neither did fans foresee that the Twins would wind up the season's first half with three emphatic victories over the Detroit Tigers, a team that until Thursday had been the Twins' nemesis. Or that Saturday's game would be punctuated with an 11th-hour announcement that second baseman Brian Dozier, the season's clutch-hitting star, would join closer Glen Perkins on the AL All-Star squad in Cincinnati Tuesday night. Or that a cohort of young players would emerge in unison this year as reliable contributors to the team's success.
All of that warrants appreciation, encouragement and optimism — but not too much. Baseball fans tend to believe that their game has a mystical side. We don't want to be accused of jinxing this surprising team with excessive praise.
Instead, count us among the Minnesotans who nodded in approval at reports about the words of manager Paul Molitor, a St. Paul native with more than passing familiarity with the local mind-set about sporting success. When a celebratory mood took hold in the dugout Sunday, Mollie reportedly reminded team members that their work this season has just begun. We trust he won't mind if we add that it's well begun.