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Death to MN Sports Pessimism: A Bold Twins Postseason Prediction

The snakebitten, hangdog demeanor of local sports fans has gotten old. This October? LFG.

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The Twins soberly celebrating Wednesday’s victory of the Blue Jays.

Look, I’m not gonna dwell on the details of the Twins' postseason losing streak because it’s been done to death this week. It's over. After 18 attempts in 19 years, the Minnesota Twins have finally done it: won a single playoff baseball game, followed by bonus W the next day. Wednesday's 2-0 wild-card sweep of the Toronto Blue Jays counted as the team's first playoff series victory in 21 (!) years.

And the Twins did it after a forgettable 85-74 regular season. They lurched to an easy playoff berth over possibly the worst division in baseball history, often in bizarre and unsatisfying ways. They struck out at a record pace, and took forever to pull away from the Cleveland Guardians, a not-good team that ultimately finished third in the division. “Fun prank to play on yourself: Be a fan of the Minnesota Twins,” someone tweeted as the August trade deadline slid shut without the team doing literally anything to improve. A mystical vibes-based barroom contraption possibly helped the team finally secure the AL Central. It was that kind of year. In the end, the Twins slightly exceeded preseason expectations, though many of us discovered ways to be absolutely miserable about it most of the time.

I get where it comes from. Decades of sports-related PTSD have conditioned Minnesota fans of all leagues to adopt this hangdog demeanor. Even if something good happens, it must be just the setup to another cruel joke. That happens when your town suffers from one of the longest championship droughts in pro sports. When your football team has seven-part documentaries made about its cosmic bad luck. When your basketball team, a replacement for the dynastic original, becomes the historic worst in major American sports. When your hockey team also skips town, only to be replaced by one that reliably steps on a rake every postseason. When your baseball team... well, we've already covered that.

And you know what? I think I’m actually ready to say “Fuck that.” I'm sick of calculated pessimism. I'm sick of Minnesota sports fans thinking they can avoid embarrassment by cloaking themselves in a protective, browbeaten carapace of misery. You can’t. Because being a sports fan is already embarrassing. If you're like me, you've spent the past week flirting with the temptation to buy the shirt of a guy who was starting kindergarten when I was getting ready to graduate Bloomington Jefferson High School. Even if your boys ultimately lay an ALDS egg out there against the defending champ Houston Astros, what's the point of being like, "Ah yes, just as I suspected?" 

As a quote popularly attributed to famed inventor/virulent antisemite Henry Ford goes, "Whether you think you can, or you think you can't—you're right.” Well, guess what babe: It actually doesn't really matter whether you think these guys can or not. Your brain is simply not powerful enough to affect the outcome one way or another. In fact, there’s a very good chance that your brain is currently becoming less powerful by the moment, just from the mere act of reading this article. Sorry about that.

There are two possible outcomes here for the Minnesota Twins postseason. They're either gonna eat shit or they're not. And here's the thing about being a pessimist: You don't get anything for being right.

So what I'm proposing is sort of a sports fan equivalent of Pascal's wager. If you think the Twins are gonna rip your frosty little Midwestern heart out again and they do, it's still gonna suck. Knowing the gut punch is coming is not going to make it hurt less. You'll live. (I mean, yeah, it might be how Houdini died but I don’t think sports work like that...)

On the other hand, if you start talking an absolute mountain of shit right now, and this ends up being the year they somehow go all the way, you're going to feel like a fucking god. Trust me—by my math, the Twins have thus far accomplished two-thirteenths of the task I laid out for them. Plus, as we laid out in this postseason guide, the team is stacked with lively arms, hyper-athletic youth, stingy defense, surplus depth, and, crucially, that enviable intangible known as grit—Kyle Farmer's head almost exploded and he's out there taking swings!

I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but you already can’t tell me shit. Sure, you could point out within earshot of me that the Twins only managed five runs in two games against the Blue Jays, or that they’re about to go from a home series against a wild card team to visiting the defending World Series champions. But that would only register as a faint buzzing noise. Come on, man. This is your chance to steal yourself a little shard of joy from a world that absolutely does not want you to have it! This is supposed to be fun, goddammit. Do you really want to treat a little optimism like it’s a weakness or a burden?

So I'm planting my flag right here. The Minnesota Twins are going to win the damn 2023 World Series. (Please keep in mind that this essay should not—SHOULD NOT—be considered gambling advice.) And if I do end up being totally, horrendously wrong, possibly as soon as early next week, you can go ahead and laugh. But you won’t be able to make me feel stupid because I will have moved on to caring about something else. So there.

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