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History proves contraction talk was ridiculous

During the heat of the Minnesota Twins' push for a new stadium, Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig openly floated the idea of contracting the number of teams in the league, with the Twins as one of the teams to be folded.

Twins fans knew it then, but history has underlined and put an exclamation point at the end of their argument: the Twins are the last team the league should be looking to fold. Instead, most teams should be admiring and trying to replicate the Twins' success as a franchise.

On Tuesday, 54,088 fans packed the Metrodome -- the largest regular-season crowd in the history of the franchise's days under the dome. The scrappy Twins, which had trailed Detroit by as many as 7 games in September, completed the unlikely comeback and overtook Detroit for first place for the first time all season. It came in game number 163.

It was the fifth division title for the Twins in eight years, which is staggering considering the Twins' relatively small payroll, and its inability to keep its star players like Johann Santana and Torii Hunter. Add to that the idea that the Twins are never, ever part of any discussion to sign the high-priced free agents that the Yankees load up on every year.

Despite a checkbook imbalance, the Twins have found ways to win ball games. When the product on the field is good, the fans show up. And they often show up when the product leaves a bit to be desired, if only to get a glimpse of the next prospect from the Twins' farm system that could be tomorrow's Joe Mauer or Justin Morneau.

Contract the Twins? A serious discussion about improving the product of Major League Baseball would be better spent talking about contracting the Yankees.

The Twins play great fundamental baseball, hustle on every play and never give up. They are baseball.

Today's editorial was written by Steve Schulz, the Pioneer Journal's editor and publisher.