Growing up on northern Minnesota’s Iron Range through the 1980s and ’90s meant coming of age around an unremitting economic recession. However it also meant being a wide-eyed kid both times the Minnesota Twins won Major League Baseball’s World Series in 1987 and 1991.
So in other words, we learned that the world sucked but not too bad. I could list a few dozen really crappy things that happened to my family or my friends’ families during this time, but those memories linger with no greater intensity than of watching the bright green and white tones of the Metrodome on our television sets as they beat much more talented teams, the ’87 Cardinals and ’91 Braves.
My favorite player was Kent Hrbek. I could justify this by saying that I was a big admirer of his hitting power, his quick hands or the Number 14 (I’ve caught myself saying all of these). But really, the reason I liked Kent Hrbek was because as his career wore on he was a fat guy. I was a fat kid. If a fat guy could grow up to play professional baseball, then life for any given fat kid could also achieve some higher purpose.
So let’s repeat the lesson I learned from the Twins as a kid. You can be who you are (eat what you want), do impossible things amid difficult circumstances and reach paramount goals as part of some indescribable Minnesota manifest destiny. This was freaking awesome and, without question, this attitude improved my life ten-fold even as the Twins faded for several weak years after the ’91 glory.
This weekend the Minnesota Twins lost their divisional series against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium in the Big Apple. The decisive third game, just like the two they dropped at our beautiful new Target Field last week, went like most playoff games for the Twins in their five postseason campaigns over the past decade. Weak hitting from the stars. Starting pitchers who fall apart in the 6th or 7th inning. A pervasive sense that any lead will crumble, all deficits are permanent.
It’s easy to feel the pessimism, much like the economic woes that have so many worried and frothed. Why would it ever get better? Just look at the Yankees, always signing new all stars, swinging for the fences and eating in fine restaurants after the games. They are too big to fail.
But the children of 1987 and 1991 know that the Twins always win, and will again soon. Work is abundant even when money isn’t. Maybe next year. Let us distract ourselves with our toil, our families and by surviving the winter. Spring always comes. We know this is true.
This post was written by Aaron J. Brown and originally published on Minnesota Brown. Follow Aaron on Twitter: @http://twitter.com/minnesotabrown