Yesterday for mother's day I helped honor the woman who taught me how to irrationally love a bunch of wild, punk kids...she had practice with my brothers and I, and it's clearly served her well as a baseball fan too.
My mother is a die-hard, eternally loyal and unflaggingly optimistic, and permanently enamored of the Twins. She cheers for Mauer when others boo, she cheers for Nishioka when others leave him for dead, somehow-someway, she even cheers for Matt Capps. But over mother's day brunch yesterday, after I told the whole table "we're rebuilding this year," she looked me dead in the eye and said, "Thank God!"
|We can't believe it either Ron|
(Credit Pioneer Press)
It wasn't supposed to be like this. Truth be told, I still find it hard to fathom that it IS like this. I mean...for a decade the Twins average record was 89 and 73, their average runs scored was 775 while giving up only 720 (that +55 is well above the league average). We had two sluggers still ascending into the prime of their careers who hadn't had a WAR under 3 since they were punk kids. Did last year stink? Sure! But it seemed like a one-off aberration, a trick of the light or the ghosts of pine trees or something.
That the Twins are the worst team in baseball right now is staggering. Last in runs scored. Last in home runs AND home runs allowed (we don't hit them and our opponents do). Last in total bases. Last in ERA. Last in strikeouts per 9 innings. Last, Last, Last.
It is, as the cliche puts it, a very short trip from the penthouse to the outhouse, but the Twins didn't so much take an express elevator as they took a Wil-E-Coyote Style Face plant to the bottom of the standings.
Could we spend time analyzing how and why it all went so wrong? Second guessing signing Jason Marquis, triple guessing the Nishioka deal, dectuple guessing Bill Smith's Santana trade? Yeah, but why bother? It happened. It can't un-happen. Move on.
|I'd say Joe looks sad but I don't|
Have much to compare it to.
(Credit: Sam's Spam)
Could we spend time fixating on the failures of certain players we've come to expect more from: the sudden aging of Carl Pavano, the power outage of Joe Mauer, the utter debacle that is Senor Francisco Liriano? Yeah, but again, why bother? I'm not as intelligent in analyzing such matters as others (see Nelson, Nick; Bonnes, John; Strohs, Seth; Hageman, Parker; Walter, Peter; Christie, Cody, etc.) so I doubt that the players, coaches or fellow fans would gain much from reading my thought that "boy, Danny Valencia sure does stink, eh?"
So, if I'm not going to analyze and critique management, and if I'm not going to whinge and bellyache about players, what else is left to do for a losing ballclub? Clearly, now would be the time to turn tail and run. To shut down the blog, to cut the cable cost, and to hide away until the Twins are once again competitive and then reemerge claiming that "I knew it all along!"
That might be the intelligent thing to do...but, and here's a shocker...I'M NOT VERY SMART. So I'll keep writing, keep finding little things in the game to make myself laugh, keep looking for players to root for and reasons to get excited. I'll plug away little by little, because that's what the Twins themselves are doing. I'll keep hoping and wishing and appreciating the little things, saving up for the cheapest season tickets available, and loving every minute of fresh air, sunshine and baseball.
My mother raised me right. Play nice. Work hard. Make dumb jokes if it makes you happy. And above all else: love everybody (even when it's tough). She loved me when I was an insufferable teenager, and no matter how bad the Twins are they aren't pubescent teens.
So, as mind-boggling as this boondoggle of a season is. I'll keep going, just like my mom will. Just like the Twins will.