MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins are in the midst of their most impressive streak in 20 years. And it has nothing to do with the action on the field. The club has drawn 30,000 fans or more in 17 consecutive home games. The last time the Twins had a longer streak was when they drew over 30,000 in a club-record 26 consecutive games from June 22-August 24, 1988. "Our fans are obliviously very excited about what's happened on the field over the course of the last few months," team president Dave St. Peter said. "This team has developed a very fond following, and we've had a lot of success over the last decade ... Now we find ourselves in the middle of a pennant race, so I expect those crowds to continue to build as we get into September."
It helps that the faithful have a pretty good chance to see a win whenever they make a trip to the Metrodome. Prior to the completion of Saturday's game against the Mariners, the Twins' home record of 42-22 was fifth best in the Majors, trailing only the Rays, Red Sox, White Sox and Cubs. "Wins have a lot to do with [attendance]," St. Peter said. "But I also think that this is a good group of guys. We have a long history here of not only having good baseball players but good human beings. There are some characters. I think fans have really taken to this team and have a connection to this team and to this group of players." Minnesota has had 30,000 or more fans at 28 home games this year. They really started to draw after beginning a 10-game winning steak in mid-June. Since beating Arizona on June 22 to pull within a game-and-a-half of the AL Central lead, the Twins have drawn 30,000 or more in 22 of 25 home games after having done so in only six of the first 40. St. Peter attributes the early season difficulties at the box office to a loss of a pair of stars over the winter. Heading into action on Saturday, Minnesota ranked 21st in baseball with an average attendance of 27,359. "We had a very challenging offseason where we said goodbye to two of our stalwart players," St. Peter said. "When you lose a Torii Hunter, when you lose a Johan Santana, it's going to have an impact. But to our manager's credit and our coaches' credit and our player's credit, they have put themselves in a position to compete for a world championship. I think our fans appreciate that." The players have noticed the increased support. "Yeah, I know!" Alexi Casilla said when asked about the increased fan presence at the Dome. "Because we are winning, it's more interesting now. People want to see the players playing good." The Twins have struggled on the road. They are 26-31 away from the Dome this year. "This is where we've played our best baseball," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. Casilla said he forgets about the fans once the game starts, but St. Peter said fans have a "huge" effect on home-field advantage. "Our fans, the noise, the unique nature of the Metrodome -- when it's filled, it's one of the most difficult places to play in baseball, bar none," he said.
Thor Nystrom is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.