MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- With Tuesday's vote to eliminate two franchises, major league baseball owners could be on the verge of breaking up one of the game's most promising teams.
After eight straight losing seasons, the Minnesota Twins had finally become a contender again. But because they still rank near baseball's bottom in attendance and lag behind most of the league in revenue, the Twins are also a candidate for elimination.
"We don't need to lose our team," center fielder Torii Hunter said Tuesday from his home in Texas. "We worked so hard to get where we are. Our whole team has been building and building. Now we've got owners who want to fold."
Playing in a dingy, increasingly empty Metrodome with one of the game's lowest payrolls, Minnesota became a joke for most of the 1990s after winning the World Series in 1987 and 1991.
But a surprising second-place finish in the AL Central this year by an enthusiastic, close-knit bunch of young players gave reason to believe the Twins' future would've been full of a lot more wins.
"If they'd done this last year at this time, I'd understand," first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz said on ESPN Tuesday. "But now ... I feel we can contend for years, and it's a shame this is going to happen.
"We have so many questions with no answers."
A terrible second-half slump (30-45) pushed a pennant out of the Twins' reach and made clear their need for more power and a big boost for the bullpen. Still, the players left after their season finale full of hope.
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