The Minnesota Twins are for real

Minnesota Twins’ Joe Mauer, right, congratulates Eddie Rosario after his second home runs against the Seattle Mariners, during the third inning of a baseball game Tuesday, June 13, 2017, in Minneapolis. Rosario had three home runs. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

A lot of us laughed when an off-season statistics calculation predicted the Minnesota Twins would win nearly 80 games this season, even though the franchise did almost nothing in the off-season to boost their roster, which lost more than 100 games last season.

We were wrong. The Minnesota Twins are for real.

That’s your first-place Minnesota Twins.

This is the part where smart baseball people will remind us that it’s still early (not that early, though), and that any day now, the Twins will fold.

Last night was not that day. The Twins set a franchise record for hits, in a destruction of the Seattle Mariners. It came a night after the team was embarrassed in a 13-to-3 loss.

The Twins starting pitching isn’t that good and the bullpen is shaky. But the team that was supposed to run away in a weak division — Cleveland — is proving that last year’s improbable run to game seven of the World Series was a fluke season.

And maybe that’s what this is for the Twins, too. What does it matter?

Fifty years ago this summer, before baseball was polluted with a playoff format, a flawed team that finished last the year before, won the American League pennant on the last day of the season, a day in which the Twins and Tigers also could’ve won the pennant on the last day, then took Bob Gibson and the mighty St. Louis Cardinals to the seventh game of the World Series.

Maybe the statistics programs — if there were any back then — would have spent the season dismissing what was happening.

But the reality is that if one ignores what one might think will happen, if one ignores what one might thinks should be happening, one has to acknowledge that what’s happening is happening.

The Minnesota Twins are for real.