When Upper Midwest baseball fans look back on the year 2006, they will remember one of the more eventful and uplifting seasons in the history of the Minnesota Twins franchise. The disappointing performance versus Oakland in the American League Division Series notwithstanding, the 2006 Twins had a heck of a season. CONGRATULATIONS to Terry Ryan, Ron Gardenhire, the entire coaching staff and team on winning 96 games en route to winning the club?s fourth American League Central Division title in five seasons. Twins fans far and wide applaud the grit, determination and never-say-die attitude of the 2006 Twins (i.e. The Little Piranhas).

Speaking of the fans, what can you say about the passion and dedication they continue to demonstrate for Twins baseball? They came to the Metrodome in big numbers as the team posted the fourth largest total attendance (Nearly 2.4 million including the postseason) in club history. Those same fans watched and listened in record numbers as Twins fever spread throughout Twins Territory.

I believe that fan support had a lot to do with the reality that these Twins defined the meaning of TEAM as much as any club in recent memory. Well done boys. Thanks for the memories.

Back in late May, in the midst of this memorable season, a new ballpark was approved thus preserving Twins baseball for future generations. Those approvals not only put Hennepin County and the Twins on track to construct a 40,000-seat open-air ballpark in downtown Minneapolis, but they once-and-for-all eliminate the nagging questions about the long-term viability of Twins baseball in this marketplace.

The balance of 2006 will be spent shaping our team for 2007 and beyond. With Terry Ryan and Ron Gardenhire at the helm of a nucleus of returning players featuring the likely Cy Young Award winner, an AL MVP candidate, the AL batting champ and the best bullpen in baseball, we fully expect to once again contend for a World Championship.

Meanwhile, the Twins front office remains focused on shaping and finalizing plans for the new ballpark. The next few months will produce a plethora of new ballpark-related news including the release of an updated conceptual design as well as the launch of a marketing campaign aimed at providing fans their first opportunity to secure premium seats in the new park.

Yes, these are exciting times to be a Twins fan. The team ? currently the second youngest in baseball ? looks to be a prime contender for seasons to come. A new ballpark is on the way meaning the team?s Metrodome era is drawing to a close. April 2010 is just over the horizon as we begin the countdown (three seasons ? 243 regular season home games) to the return of outdoor baseball. 

Dave St. Peter

President, Minnesota Twins

Ballpark Idea of the Week
I think it would be a great idea to have fireworks shoot off every time a Twins player hits a homerun. Just like they do for the White Sox. It would bring so much excitement to the game and it will let Downtown Minneapolis let their Minnesota Twins hit a homerun. ? Steve of Minneapolis.