The Twins begin spring training this week. They will follow the marketing guidebook and tell you that they are hopeful, and that if Pitcher A and shortstop B and center fielder C found just the right yoga class this winter, they could win the division, the World Series, even a Grammy or two.

It is bad business to admit that you are at least a year away from contending, that your goal this season is to be better even if that does not mean good. The Twins have tickets to sell. They are not going to run a negative campaign against their own product.

The downside of the Twins' approach is that it ignores the historical strength and the true promise of their franchise.

The key people running the show today helped build the last championship team the Twin Cities has produced, the World Series title in 1991. They also built the team that saved Major League Baseball in the Twin Cities, built a stadium and contended for most of 10 years. If there is any group in town that has earned patience and trust, it a front office headed by Terry Ryan.