We talked some during MLB spring training about the seeming similarities between the Vikings and Twins this year -- two teams who had great success the year before, who were both attempting to replicate that success this year with very similar rosters to the previous year. As the Twins struggled with injuries, etc., during spring training we started to casually joke that they could be headed for a similar slide to their purple counterparts. And when they started slow in the first 15 games or so, we urged everyone to remain calm -- just as we did with the Vikings.
Folks, it is no longer a joke.
Through the first one-fifth of the season -- yes, the baseball season is more than 20 percent done for the Twins, who by our calculations are 10 games under .500 for the first time since the end of the 2000 season -- pretty much anything that could go wrong for the local baseball club has gone wrong, just as it did for the Vikings. The clincher was last night's brief hail storm -- a weather event not as strange as the FSN crew might have led us to believe and not nearly as calamitous as the Metrodome roof collapse, but still a palpable "what the [redacted] did we do to deserve this?" occasion.
You can make your own specific Vikings/Twins comparisons between injuries, shoddy play and general dysfunction. There are plenty to be made. The worst part is we could sense it from the opening game in both cases. There was just a feeling of "this isn't the team we remember" with the Vikings and Twins. It hasn't stopped yet.
In terms of relative seasons, this was the point where the Vikings hit the panic button. They were three games in (one-fifth, in equivalent terms, of their season) when they went out and got Randy Moss during the bye week. That Hail Mary, of course, fell incomplete. The Twins, no doubt, still have plenty of time to turn their season around, particularly when you consider that nine critical players -- Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, Delmon Young, Michael Cuddyer, Jim Thome, Tsuyoshi Nishioka, Francisco Liriano, Carl Pavano and Joe Nathan -- have all given them far less than what they would have expected.
But we would also say we kept waiting for a similar core group of Vikings to turn the season around. It never happened.