Friday, July 24, 2009

An Open Letter to Twins Management

Dear Dave St. Peter,

What follows is a letter from your fans. It is our hope that you take the time to read and consider our words.

First off, congratulations are in order. The Twins have historically been one of the most effectively operated franchises in sports. Your front office has shown a remarkable ability to balance less than ideal economic circumstances with a sincere desire to compete for division titles.

Your farm system has (at times) been considered the envy of the league and for years Terry Ryan carved out a reputation as one of baseball's most shrewd (if handcuffed) GMs. Season after season you've fielded teams that are generally in contention and always entertaining. Above all else, the Twins have brought Minnesota two Championships — that's two more than any other pro team in the state can claim.

For these and myriad other reasons you have earned our adoration and, along with it, a certain level of understanding.

We understood when you told us you needed a new stadium (frankly, anyone who has ever endured a game at Metrodome on a perfect summer evening understood).

We understood when you told us a new stadium would mean the ability to compete not only aesthetically but, more importantly, financially with other MLB teams.

We understood that, in spite of a generous commitment from the Pohlad family, a new Twins stadium would require public investment as well.

We understood that a new stadium on the horizon wouldn't guarantee the ability to resign players like Torii Hunter and Johan Santana.

We understood and appreciated Bill Smith's willingness to break with tradition by trading from a position of strength (pitching) in an attempt to acquire a position of need (hitting) early in his tenure.

The trouble, Dave, is that there are some things we simply don't understand...

We don't understand why, during a season in which your club has once again played well enough to put itself in contention they have not been rewarded with a key move or two that could put them over the top.

We don't understand why the Twins are seemingly content to play for division titles when other teams talk about and aim for (see: add requisite pieces to get to) the World Series.

We don't understand the claim that the Twins are a 'small market' team when our attendance — in Metrodome, this year — is actually among the league's best and our media market is, in fact, in the top third of MLB markets.

We don't understand your willingness to watch as career years from your three best hitters are dashed upon the rocks of front office inaction.

Simply put, Dave, we're calling your bluff.

You told us a new stadium would bring much needed revenue. We listened.

You told us said revenue would enable the Twins to compete. We agreed.

So, let's compete.

The time has come for a philosophical shift — ever so slightly — away from 'the way we've always done things.'

We're not asking you to spend like the Yankees. We don't want you to.

What we are asking is for you to realize that your fans, while loyal, were not born yesterday.

We are Twins fans.

We are a ninety year old in Shoreview who listens to every game and still attends when his legs allow.

We are a schoolteacher in Brainerd who lets her kids watch day games during class.

We are a family from Austin who found just enough in the budget to take a trip to Minneapolis for a night at the dome.

We are a group of college students who skip study sessions to consume mediocre hotdogs and cheer for your team on Wednesday nights.

We are all of these people and thousands more.

And we are watching.

We are not general managers... but, strangely, we can see what's wrong with your team (evidently Joe Mauer can, too).

It's a problem that runs deeper than the glaring holes in our roster (that should have been filled last spring). It's the reluctance — or inability? — of Bill Smith to make aggressive moves designed to improve this team now and going forward.

If the issue is Mr. Smith then he should be fired. Promptly.

On the other hand, if the issue is the continuation of that time-honored mandate from on high to pinch pennies (with stellar numbers this year and a new stadium gift-wrapped by taxpayers) then you, sir, should be ashamed.

We encourage you to take a look at the team that shares your current home. Notice how much they talk about championships and spend wisely (yet aggressively) to pursue them.

It's time for the Twins to start talking about championships again.

Sincerely and hopefully,

Your Fans