Every year about this time, Minnesotans focus on fall colors.
Browns, yellows and oranges, among other markers of fall foliage. But also purple, or maroon and gold, as the Vikings and Golden Gophers take to the gridiron. (Both are undefeated, by the way.) Soon the Wild and Timberwolves will put their colors on display again, too.
But especially this fall, fans shouldn’t let the blues and reds (and road grays) of the Minnesota Twins fade away too soon. The team has had an extraordinary season, hitting home runs at a record pace and hitting it off with fans whose patience had been tested by tepid lineups in recent years.
The team is in a tighter division race than anticipated in August. For that, credit the Cleveland Indians, who have fought back from injuries — a challenge now faced by the Twins. Some are season-ending, including the shoulder injury Byron Buxton suffered after playing like he always does and giving it all against an outfield wall in a game against the Miami Marlins.
Other injuries have benched players like the versatile and valuable Marwin Gonzales for weeks, while Max Kepler, Nelson Cruz, Miguel Sano and C.J. Cron, among others, have health issues that make their status day-to-day. And that’s despite rookie manager Rocco Baldelli’s admirable plan to rest players and reduce the grind of a 162-game season.
(One benching, unfortunately, was self-inflicted: Michael Pineda, one of the Twins’ best pitchers in the second half of the season, was suspended for using a banned substance.)
The cohesive team seems to take it all in stride. Their fans, however, are at times a different story, frequently fretting — or venting — via social media about the tightening pennant race even though it’s a development that’s expected during the stretch drive to a division title.
Win or lose, it’s already been a magical season — one that’s given fans plenty of reasons to stick with the boys of summer throughout the days of fall.