I’ve learned in almost 17 years of ministry never to evaluate the church’s ministry based on one worship service. I always look for trends and try to remember the expectations I had at certain dates.
These ideas come in handy when evaluating the Twins’ recent season. Put most simply the season was a success—the Twins won the weakest division in baseball on the 163rd game and were swept in the playoffs by the team with the best regular season record. At a basic level it was a success.
Yes, but push deeper and the results are more confusing.
If someone had said to a Twins' fan on April 6, the first game of the regular season, that the Twins would win the weakest division in baseball on the 163rd game and then be swept in the playoffs by the team with the best regular season record, would you be satisfied? I don’t know.
If someone had said this on Tuesday, July 14th, the day of the All-Star game, would you be satisfied? Probably
If someone had said this in September when they were seven games behind, would you be satisfied? Most definitely
If someone had said this when the Twins were three games out with four games to play, would you be satisfied? Oh yes—you would have thought that the person telling you this was delusional.
If someone had said this when the Twins were entering the bottom of the ninth last Friday, October 9 ahead 3-1, would you have been satisfied? No. At that moment my nephews were already looking ahead to the Twins playing in the American League Championship series.
I would guess that most Twins fans so enjoyed the drama of the season’s last week, that we will think of the season as a success. Most of us will forget that the drama only happened because the Twins failed to deliver on what many fans expected.
So can we be satisfied with wonderful drama that shouldn’t have happened?
Yes, but …
And I think “Yes, but …” describes the Twins’ season.
The Twins have managed to tamper fans’ expectations. Most of us have bought into the Twins’ managements’ argument that because the Twins are a small-market team just making the playoffs is a success. And for the most part these are realistic expectations. Fans in Kansas City would be more than satisfied to trade results with the Twins in 2009.
Yes, but professional sports teams are asked to give championships every now and then to their fans. I can tell you stories about the 1987 and 1991 Twins seasons off the top of my head. I enjoy sharing them. I can hardly remember the years the Twins won Division Championships in the first decade of 2000. The Twins have won five.
So I have to evaluate the Twins’ season as a “Yes, but …” They gave us some wonderful memories. (The 163rd game against the Tigers easily will go on my top five list of memorable Twins’ games.) But we were in the lead in each playoff game against the Yankees and ended up losing.
Yes, but. . .