Friday, September 26, 2008

It's Good To Be The King, Er, Twins

I absolutely love being a Twins fan. They aren't the flashiest of teams, and this year they've seen a lot of their fundamentally sound play dissipate. Their bullpen isn't as dominant as it used to be, and statistically speaking they've been incredibly lucky. Yeah, lucky. But the thing is, they're a team that really makes their own luck, and when they get the breaks they feel like they're deserved. Anyone who follows them understands how and why they win games: not just because they do the little things right, but because they persevere. Because they believe.

I read a chat with ESPN analyst Keith Law in which someone (update: not Keith Law) wrote briefly about the Twins and their "luck". The comment read, "I dislike the Twins because their success is largely based on unquantifiable playing style. If I can't measure success, it probably doesn't really exist." Mr. Law's response was, "And it's not "playing style," it's just luck."

Just because you can't quantify something doesn't mean it doesn't exist. The success of the Twins is a very tangible thing. You don't just see the results, but you can also experience the "why" behind those results. As a Twins fan I've been constantly in touch with their success. I see the hustle, hear the excitement, feel the energy within this team. I can't quantify it, but I can certainly experience it. You can't really quantify emotions, but they exist. Same with the success of the Twins. We can call it "playing style" or "heart" or "luck" or whatever we want. But it does exist. Mr. Law doesn't like the Twins because he isn't a believer. He doesn't have the faith.

But there is something out there - something real - called Twins' baseball. Anyone who has been a Twins fan can assure you that it does exist. We might not be able to quite put our finger on it, but we know it's there.

Twins' baseball is an unquantifiable ideal. It's a belief that the Twins can win, no matter the odds. It's a style that culls favor from the baseball gods. It's nobodies becoming somebodies. It's playing baseball the right way, no matter which way we're playing it. Twins' baseball is hustle and heart, taking advantage of the little things and not letting the big things stand in your way. It's can-do and won't-quit. It's the interconnected fans that make up Twins Territory, each one of us believing that if we don't expect success then we're more likely to see it. And it's the justification of those secret hopes.

For those of us who believe, Twins baseball is a reward for our faith.

We're gonna build something this summer


Kendrick Novak said...

Except when they play the Yankees in the play-offs.

The Twins don't deserve the play-offs. Not this year. They've looked so bad this year. I don't know if it their young, bone headed center fielder or their inexperienced, high ERA pitchers they rely on (lowest starting pitcher ERA is 3.39), or their "let's give up several runs a game" bullpen.

The only people the Twins can consistently rely on are Mauer and Morneau. I'm sorry, the Twins, if they make it, will get eliminated the first round. It just isn't their year. Luck or not.

Mike said...

Congrats on the sweep. You guys came up huge right when it was needed.

In the first round, if things hold, the Twins would be facing the Rays. However well the Rays have done this year, experience matters in the playoffs, and they're a young team. Plus, the Twins almost always win in the Metrodome (two World Series championships without a single road victory, right?). Plus, I gotta agree with you that they have the "je ne sais quoi" factor. Maybe the Rays do too. Still, I'm not on board with them definitely getting eliminated first round. But I'm looking forward to the matchup.

Great song quote. I'll counter with the vaguely relevant, "Don't mention Tampa, they'll just know all the rest."

Kendrick Novak said...

The whole Twins are unstoppable at the Metrodome is not accurate any more. I went two years ago to watch the play-offs against the A's. They got swept. Since Gardenhire took over the Metrodome being a sanctuary for the Twins has flown out the window. Maybe it's who they played, I doubt it though.

Plus, the Rays play in a dome. So does it help that much against them?

Matthew B. Novak said...

Kendrick -

I think you're being a little overly negative (but it certainly fits with the "don't expect success" part). Their bullpen has been awesome of late, and Gomez has obviously learned a ton this year. He's been on fire lately, so we can cut him some slack. And Morneau went 0-5 last night. Were you able to catch any of the game? It had the same feel as '06. They deserve the playoffs. They didn't the whole season, but they do now. They'll probably get eliminated right away, but you never know in the playoffs.

Mike -

Kendrick's right about the Metrodome mystique. In recent playoffs it hasn't mattered at all. Then again... it seems to have mattered this season. Then again... the Rays are a dome team too... Who knows. Oh, also, if I remember correctly, the Twins are the only team in baseball younger than the Rays, so actually the Rays will have that on the Twins.

Joel said...

Gomez in September: .329/.372/.543/.915, 6 2B, 3 3B, 1 HR, 20 RBI

That's as good a month as anyone. Even on the season he has his average up to .262, albeit with a still-low OBP and SLG. He just needs time.

As for your argument, Kendrick... never mind. Not going there. Too pumped after watching Span's triple for the 20th time.

Keith Law said...

I think you're confused. I didn't write those comments; a reader, pretending to be me, did, and I responded underneath. My comments are always preceded by the little "sn" logo.

Matthew B. Novak said...

My mistake. I'll make the correction.