There are no participation ribbons in professional sports. Just winners and losers.
After being swept by the Yankees in the American League Divisional Series, the Twins packed up the clubhouse at Target Field and entered the offseason as one of what will eventually be 31 losing teams.
Same goes for the Yankees, who were walked off by Jose Altuve's ninth-inning homer in Game 6 of the American League Championship Series against the Astros on Saturday.
This is where the different mindsets of the Twins and Yankees becomes evident: What's great for the Twins is a failure for the Yankees.
"It's a failure," Judge said Saturday night, via ESPN. "In spring training, we talked about winning the division and putting ourselves in a good spot in the postseason to win a World Series. We came up short. No matter how many games we won in the regular season or what else we did, this season is a failure."
Asked a similar question after the Yankees sent the Twins to their 14th, 15th and 16th consecutive playoff losses, Twins manager Rocco Baldelli took Judge's glass half-empty and called it half-full.
“It was a great year,” Baldelli said, via the Twins. “I got to be a part of something that I consider very special, and I think we have a very unique, special group of people. We got a chance to watch some players reach new heights in their careers. We got a chance to go out there. We won 101 games. It was a group that meshed and came together exceptionally well.”
Good enough exists in Minnesota. It's all-or-nothing in New York.
Celebrating history is fine. Just ask the 1998 Minnesota Vikings, who provided one of the most memorable seasons in Minnesota sports history. Everyone remembers the exciting offense led by Randy Moss and Cris Carter making highlight-reel catches, but none of that overshadows the pain of taking a knee and then Gary Anderson missing wide left.
But hey, all those memories are good enough in Minnesota.
The same goes for the numerous home run records the Twins set this season. Great memories that you'll find in Minnesota's very full filing cabinet of loser seasons.
Imagine how excited the Twins and fans alike would be if the Twins took the Astros to Game 6 of the ALCS. The loss would be devastating, but the chance would've been good enough.
Because, you know, Minnesota's glass if half-full.
Imagine what Judge would say if he played for a Twins team that got swept and hasn't won a playoff game since 2004. "Failure" would be preceded by another F-word.
103 victories, a division title, a postseason series victory and 306 homers – just one fewer than the Twins – garnered a "tough, tough year" response from veteran Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner.
In Minnesota: "It was definitely fun,” said Nelson Cruz.
You know what would be a lot more fun? Winning a World Series.
The Yankees haven't won a World Series in a decade (2009 their last) and it's panic mode. The Twins haven't won a playoff game in 15 years and everything is fine.
Remember the 2001 Seattle Mariners? They won an MLB record 116 games but got bounced in the ALCS by the team that's always looking for more: The Yankees.
The Mariners haven't been to the playoffs since, but hey, all those memories...