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Twins more competitive in National League? Maybe

by Josh Newman
It was such a crazy thought that I decided to hold my tongue for a while. But then I started to think: they have had such success against them, including the good teams, that I began to ponder something just the other day:

How would the Twins fare in the National League?

I realize that numbers do not tell the whole story, but the Twins have done very well in interleague play. There have been a few hitches along the way of course, but believe me, the success can – and should – be noted.

Naysayers might argue that the Twins will struggle on the road. Remember the good old days when the Twins could not buy a victory in a National League ballpark? The team went a combined 0-6 in St. Louis and Atlanta in 1987 and 1991, respectively. Questions immediately entered my head prior to their first-ever interleague series against Houston back in 1997. Even though the Astros were not the kind of team that would blow everybody out of the water, they were still a solid team – they did win the NL Central that year with a record of 84-78, which would not have gotten them anywhere in the East or the West. They were solid, sure, but that was not why I was concerned: I was concerned because it was in a National League stadium.

All of my worries were put to rest after the series opener, which the Twins won 4-2. Not only that, but they took two out of three in the series. Not a clean sweep, but it was still a load off my mind.

Since the beginning of that series, the Twins have now gone 44-13 against the National League following their three-game sweep of the Brewers last weekend.

Naysayers might also argue that it would break up the great rivalries we have with Cleveland and the White Sox. Like all Twins fans, I hate the White Sox. I love it when the two teams face each other because teams always come to play against the team they might consider to be their archrival. I also am not too fond of the Indians, primarily because they are a division opponent. Rivalries are one of the best things for sports because the fans will always either go to those games or watch them on television. A move to the National League would mean no more big rivalries with those teams.

In fact, except for Milwaukee, I can’t immediately think of any team with which we could have a serious rivalry. I love a good rivalry, and this might be one big reason I would oppose an idea like this.

Could we have a rivalry with St. Louis? There has been no real history between the teams in interleague play. Of course, Twins fans will remember the 1987 World Series. But other than a three-game road series against the Redbirds in 1997, there are no real grounds to call this a rivalry. However, it is one of the closer cities to the Twin Cities, and perhaps fans might be devoted enough to travel to St. Louis once in a while? Nah! Other than 1987, I cannot think of a real reason for a big rivalry with these guys. That is, unless during interleague play, some bad blood develops between the two teams.

What about the Cubs? The team has some of the most devoted fans in all of sports. Night in and night out, fans fill the stadium. They appreciate the great game of baseball. Even after a century of ineptitude from this team, fans flock to these seats. No matter what the record, they seem to be the pride and joy of Chicago. In addition, the White Sox are in their neck of the woods.

Nah. It could develop over time, but the Cubs just are not the White Sox.

Other than the Brewers, there are no real grounds to call any of those teams a rival. In my opinion, rivalries develop over time. Bad blood usually exists between the teams. What’s more, they must actually face each other!
So is this a stupid topic? You are entitled to your opinion. But after noting the Twins’ success in interleague play – despite the palette of teams we have faced being so limited – it seemed only feasible to wonder.

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