Ahhhh, to be a fan of the Minnesota Twins.
Thank God for the internet, because if it weren’t for that, I wouldn’t get any media coverage of my favorite team!
Did you hear that Josh Hamilton placed second in the home run derby? I’m sure you did. It was front page news on most of the major sports websites.
Yeah, he hit a bunch of homers in the first round. 28 to be exact.
He didn’t hit more than ten in a round after that, but he did finish second.
Who won, you ask?
It was Minnesota Twins first baseman Justin Morneau.
But he made the mistake of not being a recovering drug addict with flashy tattoos. And he made the mistake of being a Minnesota Twin. So his victory kind of got swept under the rug.
This is par for the course.
If you are a consumer of national media like I am, and don’t get your news exclusively from the local paper and the blogosphere, you
might not know much about one of baseball’s hottest teams.
Which is a shame, because the Twins are the antithesis of the worst parts of baseball.
They don’t sign big name free agents. They develop rookie talent from within. They emerged from the steroid era of baseball with nary a scratch, as no Twin hit more than 29 homers between 1987 and 2007. And they have stuck with the same game plan for more than twenty years, which makes being a fan pretty easy because you know what to expect from your ballclub.
For example, don’t get too attached to that flashy lefthander because the team will trade him at the top of his value to a team
that is willing to give up 3 to 5 pieces of their future for his services. These deals have never backfired. Take a look at the deals Twins management brokered for Frank Viola, Eric Milton, and Johan Santana.
Viola was a stud lefty who dealt a circle changeup that baffled hitters on both sides of the plate. He was an instrumental piece of the Twins 1987 World Series win over the St. Louis Cardinals and a fan favorite.
In a move that was difficult to sell to the Twins fan community, management dealt the mustachioed lefty to the New York Mets for Rick Aguilera, Kevin Tapani, David West, Tim Drummond, and Jack Savage. West, Savage, and Drummond never made much of an impact. But Aguilera was converted into a closer by Twins manager Tom Kelly after being an average starter/middle reliever in New York, and he quickly became one of the league’s best. Tapani warmed up after one season and put together back-to-back 16 win seasons, one of which came during the Twins’ 1991 Championship season.
The Eric Milton deal wasn’t as sweet, but still yielded replacement level players Carlos Silva and Nick Punto, who were far cheaper than Milton, who has conned several National League teams into giving him several million dollars a year for 5+ ERA seasons and a propensity for giving up huge homers on a regular basis. So, still a shrewd trade. The Santana deal has yet to completely reveal itself.
Carlos Gomez has provided a spark at the top of the order, and his defense in
CF has made Twins fans mostly forget about the clubhouse problem that was Torii Hunter. He’s now the Angels’ problem, where he apparently showed a minor league outfielder his massive check stub, for what he called “motivation.” I
guess, Torii. Kind of like you motivated Justin Morneau by punching him in the
face. Great clubhouse move. But I digress.
Oh, actually, no I don’t! That’s another part of the Twins philosophy. You’ll never see an a%$hole sticking around Minnesota for
very long. The team’s belief in developing young players and great baseball citizens doesn’t allow it. If you aren’t a fit in the Twins system, no matter the talent level, you will be let go. No individual player is bigger than the team, Giants fans.
Sometimes these baseball decisions fall through and disappoint Twins fans, like letting David Ortiz go in 2002. In case you missed
it, he’s gone on to become one of the meanest hitters in baseball over the last six years. But hey, they tried to trade him, and no other GMs in baseball wanted him! So we weren’t alone!!
The Twins are one of baseball’s hottest teams. Since halfway through July, they are 19-6. They’ve drawn games against some of
baseball’s toughest pitchers and shown they can manufacture runs and win behind starting pitching that is consistent and solid, rather than overpowering.
The fact that the national media ignores this team consistently is a reason that it should be more attractive to the discerning
citizen. So be a rebel, go underground, and get back to the roots! The Twins are baseball’s green movement. Get on board before it becomes trendy and played out like Ugg boots and shorts.