Stereotypes are based on kernels of truth, and it can make telling a true story about a stereotyped group sound like a fabrication even if it’s not. For instance, during my collegiate study abroad program, my friend and I met the most painfully American-looking tourist of all time while we were all waiting for the train at Pompeii to pick us up. Less than 30 seconds after our conversation started, this man proudly stated he was from St. Louis and asked the two of us what high school we graduated from.
Likewise, when my family took a trip to Minneapolis a few years ago, we caught a Royals game—wearing our Royals gear, of course—at Target Field. After the Twins beat the Royals, we were walking back to our car alongside an older couple decked out in Twins gear. They, uh, apologized that the Twins won and told us they hoped the next time we were in Minnesota we got to see our team win.
Minnesotans are so famous for being nice that there is an entire Wikipedia article about it. That makes it incredibly hard to dislike or hate anything from Minnesota. Why would you? I don’t know of anyone who has any hard feelings for the place. Maybe you’re put off by the niceness, but nobody speaks ill of Minneapolis area sports fans for a reason.
So I, at least, have felt awful for the poor Twins fans who have suffered through nearly two decades of playoff futility. Kansas City Chiefs fans know this all too well (no Taylor Swift pun intended, I promise) themselves: getting to the playoffs but losing. And losing. And losing. The Chiefs’ awful playoff victory drought lasted 22 years, a period of time where they lost seven consecutive games.
The Twins? Ohh, man. The Twins. They last won a playoff series in 2002, and they last won a playoff game in 2004. In the years after that win, the Twins lost not seven. Not eight. Not nine. The Twins lost 15 consecutive playoff games. Most painfully, they won 101 games in 2019—only to get swept.
Until this year.
This week, the Twins beat the Toronto Blue Jays and then beat them again to advance past the Wild Card round and go into the Divisional round. As you might imagine, Twins fans were very happy. But this blog is not about why the Twins fans should root for the Twins. That much is obvious. No, this is why Royals fans should root for the Twins.
There are a few reasons why this is the case. At the very least, the Twins don’t have a lot of competition. No one in Kansas City is interested in rooting for the Houston Astros, Los Angeles Dodgers, Philadelphia Phillies, or Baltimore Orioles. The Arizona Diamondbacks and Texas Rangers are fine enough options if there weren’t a team like the Twins.
Another big reason for why this is the case is that the Twins are a perfect model for what the Royals should be doing. Even though they’re a small market club, they’ve managed to remain relatively competitive for a long time. Since 2015, they’ve made the playoffs four times and only lost more than 90 games once; they’ve done so with an Opening Day payroll that hasn’t ranked any higher than 16th (and any lower than 21st) over that span. And they backed it up with the signing of Carlos Correa to secure a free agent star to anchor the team.
And, of course, there’s the kindred spirit aspect to it as well. Minneapolis-St. Paul and Kansas City are similarly sized cities with similar types of people and, importantly, a history of similarly tortured sports fandoms. We’ve been through what the Twins have been going through. We’ve seen the light on the other side of the tunnel, which is glorious. It’s only fair that we root for the Twins to experience the same.
Does it matter that the Twins are in the same division as the Royals? Absolutely not. The Royals play in the American League Central, for Christ’s sake. That’s not a division where you worry about the long-term dominance of any individual team. Let the Twins have their fun. And have your fun by rooting for them.