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Tim Bouvine: Vikes, Wolves have hope, Twins not so much

Suffering through losing seasons is plenty painful enough, but losing often without hopes of a better future really takes the life out of a devoted fan base.

The Minnesota Twins currently sit at 6-16 following Monday night’s continuation of losing fatigue as the club lost to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 4-3. The ineptitude will undoubtedly continue as the West Coast has never been too kind to the Twins.

Following a 99-loss season in 2011 the club looks to be on pace to match their futility of a year ago that “rewarded” them with the 2nd overall pick in next month’s MLB Draft. At first blush this appears to be a glimpse at progress except the drafting of baseball players is incomparable in professional sports as potential future stars will still be years away from the major leagues.

College age draftees generally are at least two years away from joining the big league club while high school age picks are light years away at best normally requiring at least four years in the minors to hone their skills.

With the absence of impact prospects in the Twins organization at the upper levels of the minor league progression the cupboard is bare and there appears to be little hope until 2015 when the high picks from last year’s futility and this year’s expected cellar dweller season that will leave them looking up at all of Major League Baseball, but may possibly give them the top pick in 2013.

Last week’s NFL Draft provides instant spark to franchises and a schedule that rewards futility with an easier path to success gives the Minnesota Vikings some hope for the upcoming season despite their dismal 3-13 record of 2011-12.

Two first-round impact draftees will strengthen the team and the second and third seasons are normally the break-out campaigns for young quarterbacks like 2011 number one draft pick Christian Ponder. A healthy return of running back Adrian Peterson could lift the Vikings to respectability as early as this fall.

With only five players on the court at one time, the NBA is tailor made for quick turnarounds with the right additions. The arrival of electric point guard Rick Rubio and the continued emergence of star forward Kevin Love gave the Minnesota Timberwolves the spotlight this past winter for a time until Rubio went down with a season ending knee injury.

The Wolves were a borderline playoff team until Rubio collided with Lakers star Kobe Bryant and tore the ACL in his left knee that will keep him out of action until next December, but the future looks incredibly bright for the once perennially putrid Timberwolves as Rubio’s presence gives potential free agents a strong incentive to join the Wolves and benefit from his passing talents.

The club has Utah’s first-round draft pick that could land them a much needed outside sharpshooter at the guard position opposite Rubio and round out the starting five with quality offensive threats.

While the Vikings, Wolves and even the Wild have some semblance of optimism the Twins are in a no-win situation for the near future as Twins General Manager Terry Ryan was forced to sign somewhat pedestrian free-agents to attempt to stem the losing tide without sacrificing future payroll liabilities to at least try and field a competitive team in the interim until Ryan undoubtedly turns around the organization’s draft and develop capabilities.

Fans of the Twins will just have to be content with watching outdoor baseball at Target Field or tune out the team until they awaken from their slumber several seasons from now when the year 2020 will be closer than 2010’s last playoff appearance.

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