It has been a magical and unnecessarily long ride, and it is finally coming to an end with the final entry in my decade retrospective series. We laughed. We cried. We did other clichéd things. Good times were had by somewhere between some and all. If you missed any of the entries, catch up via the sidebar.
2006 was, well, quite simply the best season of the decade. Between having the best regular season of the decade, and going on one of the most impressive mid-summer runs in franchise history, there was plenty to love about the 2006 Twins.
Oh, sure, the season didn’t end how any of us expected or wanted, but overall, it was the best year of the 2000s. Besides, I believe, to this day, that if Francisco Liriano hadn’t gotten injured, the Twins would have won the World Series, and nobody can convince me otherwise.
In reality, the Twins ended winning the Central Division with a 96-66 record via one of the most exciting regular seasons in franchise history.
For the final time, here are the rules:
Successfulness: This one is pretty simple. Most successful team gets the highest score, least successful team gets the lowest score, and the rest fall somewhere in between. More cut and dry than the others, but there is some room for debate.
Memorableness: First off, yes, I know memorableness isn’t a word. I don’t care. Deal with it. This category is simply both how memorable the year was as a whole, and how many single moments stand out.
Likeability: This will be mostly about how likeable the team was, and how enjoyable they were to watch as a fan.
Intangibles: Other basic randomness that makes the year more or less enjoyable.
And now, without further ado, the ratings for the Twins best season of the decade:
Successfulness – 9
En route to their beset regular season of the decade, the Twins put together an amazing run of baseball that included, among other things, somewhere around -2 losses in interleague play. Roughly.
In one of the most memorable summers of Twins baseball to date, the Twins made everyone believe they were a true contender. Yes, that belief ultimately led to disappointment in the playoffs, but every season of the decade ended in playoff disappointment.
Taking the entire 2006 season into account, it is hard to argue with the success that team achieved. Especially considering they started out slow and still managed to put together one of the most successful regular seasons in franchise history.
Memorableness – 10
Joe Mauer. Justin Morneau. Franciso Liriano. Johan Santana.
Batting champ. MVP. Best pitcher in baseball. Cy Young.
And that doesn’t even include Torii Hunter, and Brad Radke’s amazing torn labrum swan song. One of the most underrated pitching seasons in Twins history. Say what you will about Radke being overrated, but his 2006 season was one of the gutsiest performances in team history.
Adding everything up, the summer of 2006 provided fans with memorable moments almost on a nightly basis. Any Liriano game was must see TV. Any Mauer or Morneau at-bat meant grabbing another beer could wait. And, while Santana had almost become cache by 2006, he was still the best pitcher in baseball not named Liriano.
(For those of you questioning my Liriano as the best pitcher in baseball claim, go back and look at his stats. He put up one of the most impressive runs not only of the decade, but in baseball history. I would put the 16 starts he made up against almost any in the history of baseball.)
Ultimately, what all those players provided was not only the best season of the decade, but one of the best moments of the decade as well on the last day of the season. Yes, they already had the wild card wrapped up, but when the team took care of the White Sox and stayed around to watch with the fans as the Royals upset the Tigers to give the Twins another division championship, it gave every Twins fans chills. Even those of us who weren’t lucky enough to actually be there.
Likeability – 10
There was almost nothing not to like about the 2006 Twins.
Do you like dreamy, side-burned catchers who finally fulfill their promise by winning the battle title and becoming the best catcher in baseball?
Meet Joe Mauer.
Are burly Canadian MVP’s more of your thing?
Say hello to Justin Morneau.
Or maybe you prefer cutsey nicknames handed out by a crazy Latino man?
Then don’t forget about the Pirhanas.
And that doesn’t even include Hunter, Santana, Liriano, Nathan, Pat Neshek’s crazy side armed delivery, and of course Tony Batisita (just kidding).
Basically, the 2006 Twins had something for everyone. If you couldn’t find something to like about the 2006 Twins, well, I have to question your ability to feel human emotions you fucking robot.
Intangibles – 10
There were a lot of random things to enjoy about 2006. However, there is one random thing about 2006 that I feel is underrated: the homoerotic relationship between Mauer and Morneau.
We’ve all heard the story about how Morneau moved in with Mauer because he needed to stop partying so much – or doing body shots off hookers, as I put it earlier. However, I feel like fans don’t appreciate how ridiculous this is.
Mauer and Morneau are not only professional athletes, but two of the best players in baseball. They both had plenty of money, and could essentially live anywhere they wanted to. They weren’t in college, they weren’t high school athletes, THEY WERE PROFESSIONAL ATHLETES!
These people don’t just move in together.
Now, what actually happened at their house was probably about what you would expect from two 20-something-year-old guys living together. The fact that they were – and stop me if I mentioned this – professional athletes just makes the whole thing seem so ridiculous.
I mean, am I the only one who pictures Morneau laying on the couch on a Sunday morning, completely hungover, while Mauer stands in the kitchen wearing an apron (and nothing else) and making scrambled eggs while calling out, “breakfast’s ready” as Morneau groans, rolls over and stumbles his way to the table?
Ok, probably. Still, I just feel like people don’t make enough out of the whole Mauer and Morneau lived together thing.
Then again, they both became MVPs so whatever.
Overall – 39
With only one point below a perfect score, the 2006 Minnesota Twins take home the award for best team of the decade. And, while every Twins team fell short of winning the World Series, the 2000s was one of the greatest in Twins history so taking that first spot is really pretty impressive.
Here's to hoping the next decade is even better.