This Twins season has probably exceeded the bare minimum of accomplishment given that 90 games into it, Minnesota was 50-40 – a 90-win pace after four consecutive 90-loss seasons.
But even if you don’t buy into the notion of exceeding the bare minimum, let’s at least try to agree that by one simple measure this Twins team did at least meet the bare minimum: the spring training rallying cry from fans everywhere pleading that they at least wanted the Twins to be competitive until the Vikings started playing.
In a perfect world, this would refer to the regular season opener in mid-September, and recent trends notwithstanding we still can’t rule out that the Twins will be in the Wild Card race then (even if MLB.com’s playoff probability calculations had them at just 5 percent even before Sunday’s clunker, down from a season high of 48 percent just a few weeks ago on July 17).
But beggars – and Twins fans wanting even a marginally successful season qualify as such – cannot be choosers. So we will mark the start of the Vikings season as the first preseason game.
Even though it seemingly came early this year because of the Hall of Fame game, the first Vikings preseason game has generally occurred around this spot in the Twins season lately. Here is how the Twins have been situated each of the past four seasons:
*2014: 51-63 on the date of Vikings first preseason game.
*2013: 51-62 on the date of Vikings first preseason game.
*2012: 49-63 on the date of Vikings first preseason game.
*2011: 52-67 on the date of Vikings first preseason game.
That’s a combined 52 games under .500, all seasons that were easily over in terms of competitive hope by the time the Vikings started play.
So yes, feel free to look at the 2015 Twins season as a whole: the hapless beginning, the “where did this come from?” stretch that catapulted the Twins to surprising relevance, the first hint of a slide, the resilient rebound before the All-Star break and now what sure seems to be a disappointing albeit somewhat predictable regression toward the mean.
But don’t forget this was a season that was a season that involved a meaningful (though tepid in the end) trade deadline, real discussion about lineups and strategy and at least what feels like a different kind of disappointment.
If your hope was that the Twins would take you seamlessly from the distraction of baseball to the distraction of football without making you engage in hopeless baseball or the real world, consider this season’s mission accomplished.
The Twins reached .500 for the first time this season on May 2 and didn’t officially fall below that mark until a few hours before kickoff Sunday.