…Why’d it have to be the Twins?
First of all, I’m going to be very careful not to get too jinxy here – ahem, Mayor Bloomberg, what the hell?! – because of course it’s entirely possible that the Twins will come back; they’re plenty good enough to win three games in a row. (Not that I actually believe in jinxes, of course. I would never walk all the way down five flights and two blocks over to find a tree so I could knock on wood because there was none in my platic-metal-glass office, for example. Nope, never done anything like that, certainly not during the 2005 postseason, not that it worked anyway).
That said, it’s not looking good for the Twinkies right now, and although of course I want to see the Yanks move on, I wish it could be any other team. Minnesota’s been my second-favorite AL club for a long time now: I like how they’ve managed to succeed with a small market and a relatively small payroll; I loved reading about them on Bat-Girl back in the day; I have issues with some of his strategic movies but I find Ron Gardenhire to be a likeable and twinkly little baseball gnome; I am in awe of Joe Mauer even though there’s no way he’s actually that wholesome and one day I’m sure they’ll find a bunch of heads in his freezer or something. I liked Joe Nathan, I like Orlando Hudson, because I am a red-blooded American I of course adore Jim Thome, and then I always root for my guy Denard Span, the only other Span I’ve ever come across outside of immediate family.
The presence of useless wretch Carl Pavano helps, of course, but even he can’t make the Twins unlikeable all by his lonesome.
Back in August, I went to Minnesota for a college friend’s wedding on a bison farm outside of Rochester (not a typo). My traveling companion and I figured, how the hell often are we gonna be in Minnesota? So we flew in a day early, got standing-room tickets, and drove our rental car the 90 miles up to the Twin Cities. The park itself is lovely (only complaint: they need to get something better than a few dull-looking trees out there in center field), but I was more impressed by how psyched the fans were – for outdoor baseball, for their first-place club, for Jim Thome.
Also, the cheese curds. Mmmm… cheese curds.
Their fans were enthusiastic and engaged without being quite so rabid as I’m used to here in New York – which has both advantages and drawbacks, I suppose (I grew up surrounded by rabid fanbases, and a game watched without surrounding spittle and bile doesn’t quite seem like a game to me). Almost everyone at the ballpark seemed to have some kind of Twins gear, and even though Carl Pavano got crushed by the White Sox, the crowd never turned sour or hostile. (They did boo A.J. Pierzynski every time he came up, but that’s both understandable and praiseworthy). It was just a nice atmosphere, and while I’m generally used to shrugging it off and enjoying myself when the Yankees crush small-market competitors, I feel no bloodlust for the Twins. I hope they lose tomorrow, but I want the best for them.
If they do come back and beat the Yanks somehow, then as soon as I get past a brief mourning period, they’ll have my support all the way. And if they don’t… well, I hope they run into somebody else next year.
[Photo via 1) http://www.gephartelectric.com and 2) stolen from my traveling companion without even asking]