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Present Hurts but Future Looks Good

October 14, 2002|Jason Reid | Times Staff Writer

The Twins accomplished more than even they expected, escaping the contraction gallows, winning the American League Central division and upsetting the Oakland Athletics in a division series.

So the upstart pennant contenders chose to focus on everything that went right in their wild ride to the AL championship series, which ended Sunday in a 13-5 loss to the Angels in Game 5 at Edison Field.

Qualifying for the World Series would have been great, the Twins said, but they're proud of what they've done.

"We had a good year, we're a good young club, we've got a lot of upside and this is the first time through for us," General Manager Terry Ryan said. "We have to take some of the positives out of what happened here, and hopefully we'll benefit next year by some of the things we've experienced."

The Twins have a talented young nucleus and a rich minor league system, providing optimism about future postseason runs.

"Our farm system is healthy and we're a relatively young roster, especially our position players, and we've got the pitching and the defense," Ryan said. "With that, you would think that we've got some of the ingredients to carry this over."

Players are determined to keep the ball rolling.

"I know I wouldn't mind doing this again and I'm sure the other guys wouldn't mind either," All-Star center fielder Torii Hunter said. "I had so much fun the whole playoffs; all the intensity and adrenaline.

"We're going to get older, smarter and a little more experienced. Now, we know what it takes. We know the way the game is and what the playoffs are about. We've got a taste and want to taste it again."


Angel fans, considered among the most passive in baseball, left a lasting impression on the Twins, energizing the home team with Thunder Stix and cheers.

The Twins were certainly impressed.

"These people were into those games and they were beating those things," Manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Our crowd gets us going, and theirs got them going. That's what it's all about."


Leadoff batter Jacque Jones went two for 20 in the series without a walk.

"I didn't do my job," he said.

"I feel like if I would have been more productive in this series, maybe we would have done a better job of winning some games.

"All I can do is just work hard this winter, learn from this and try to come back better. That's what I'm going to do."


Eddie Guardado appreciated the kind comments of Angel Manager Mike Scioscia, who sought out the Minnesota closer while the Angels celebrated.

"He stopped me when I was walking off the field and said we're a hell of a club," Guardado said. "He just wanted to let me know he liked the way we play, which tells me a lot about Mike Scioscia.

"When another manager does something like that, you know he's really a class act. You have to respect that."

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