How Hamilton Explains This Lousy Twins Season

In the midst of one of the most disappointing Twins seasons in memory, it's natural to look around for something, anything, to explain or distract from what promises to be a long, hard campaign.

That's where pulitizer-winning, grammy-winning, genius-crafted (even if said genius is a Yankees fan), best-selling, award-monopolizing musical Hamilton comes in. Sure you can listen to it and distract yourself from the announcement of yet another dropped fly ball, blown lead, or ill-timed strike out. But you can also catch a glimpse of what how it might feel and what can still be done this year.

My favorite example of Hamilton as metaphor for the Twins Season comes from the voice of George Washington in his first appearance on stage (starting at 0:52)

So how does this explain...and offer a possible solution to the Twins situation? I'm glad you asked

We are outgunned (witness the Pitching); outmanned (witness the ill-timed injuries); outnumbered (witness the teams lack of statistical acumen); outplanned (witness seemingly every decision that the manager or front office has made in the past six months).

Still, we have model of a "modern major (field) general", the "venerated...veteran" Joe Mauer, who must be dumbstruck that just as he gets back into form, the entire squad built to support him has gotten blown into smithereens. The players he could be leading "keep retreating", regressing in their performance or being sent back down to Rochester to work out their kinks. And great as Joe has been, he "cannot be everywhere at once people", and remains: outgunned, outmanned, outnumbered, outplanned.

While some, including me, have long preached patience, confidence and trust in that the same tactics that led to past success, it may be time to stop admiring "how [we] fire...from a distance" and just see "how things work out" and try something different.

Mauer (L) and an unnamed rookie (R)
Or Christopher Jackson (L) and Lin Manuel Miranda (R)
So, Mauer needs a "right hand" man, a Hamilton to his Washington. Someone fearless enough to stick it out through the problems, and get aggressive now and then. Someone who is optimistic, ready to "rise up", and capable of acknowledging that doing the same thing over and over can end your career, but adapting and adjusting is what's necessary to survive. Put another way, in the big leagues: "dying is easy, living is harder."

We can't expect that the "right hand man" is going to come galloping to our rescue from outside the organization. Mauer and company can do battle on the field, but they're going to have to make do with "what our Congress [aka the Twins Front Office] has promised". We can't beat other teams at their own games, but for all the rookies who rise up "young, scrappy, and hungry" we can't afford to "throw away their shot".

We are outgunned, outmanned: so whichever youngster is ready to step up, they can and should help to lead the way and promote the culture of winning with the fellow prospects who fought with them on the fields of Fort Meyers, Chattanooga and Rochester.

We are outnumbered, outplanned: but if you can adapt and bring in a few strong skills from outside the organization (maybe defensive metrics? maybe different attitudes about pitch selection) you can "master the element of surprise" and even if we lose the battle, we can win the war.

So, who is it going to be? Berrios? Sano? Buxton? Chargois? Any of them...all of them...because while our general might need a right hand man, there's more to it that one silver bullet, or one pump up song


#ParkBloom: The lost poetics of Byung-Ho's bombs

On perhaps the most beautiful day Minnesotans have seen in 2016, fans of the local ball club were treated to sunshine, cold beer and a dream-like state in which, we we had gone almost 48 whole hours without a loss.

But still there was unrest, muttering and snarls at the young hitters. "NOT A HOME RUN, MAUER!" when the resurgent catcher ripped a screamer up the middle, straight into a second baseman's glove. "SWING THE BAT, BIG BOY!" when Miguel Sano spat on border line pitch after border line pitch. "ARCIA, WHAT ARE YOU EVEN...I JUST...UGH...." they bemoaned and the erstwhile fan favorite.

Somewhere, I like to think that the newest target of fan abuse, Korean slugger Byung-Ho Park, was blissfully unaware of the groans and ignorant remarks about him. ("He don't speak any English," and "Bung-hole" were two particular gems.) I like to think, even though I speak no Korean and have know way of knowing for sure, that there are things he feels that he cannot say, thoughts and ideas lost in translation.

Mercifully, one large thing not lost in translation is this power.

After celebrating with teammates, in the approved, high-fiving, helmet-slapping way, Park was left alone with his thoughts. His pride. The honor of being able to play at the highest level. His new friends and the cheers of the people so far from home.

All too suddenly, the reporters were there to squeeze into strange and foreign words all the personal feelings of the moment. How did he feel about this bomb?...like a gentle zephyr had caught hold of his heart, like he was buoyant, airborne, "the wind is back," he smiled...

...and his interpreter explained "the wind was blowing out."

Korea's Reunification Arch
How did it feel to win again? Of course it felt good, but better than good: "affirming, invigorating, as though the storm clouds of our souls have been broken apart, and the rain drop tears of fans have stopped, and now we make the beautiful music of bat, and ball, and glove and tong-il a unification and coherence of all the team..."

...and his interpreter explained "it feels good, yesterday we broke the losing streak, today it's a two game winning streak. It feels good to hear music again."

The reporters smiled, Park smiled, the translator smiled.

Words may vanish like gossamer in the summer air, but the memories of this home run would last for everyone, and perhaps that's the true poetry.