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How ’bout those Twins, eh?

September 20, 2017

I was talking with someone this morning about the Minnesota Twins’ poor performances in their last two games in New York and the guy wondered aloud why, when we go to New York, Joe Mauer can’t give the team a pep talk. I don’t necessarily disagree, but Joe Mauer isn’t, and never has been, that type of player. And while I’m fairly certain there’s someone else on the team who is, I’m not sure if a pep talk is what’s needed.

I won’t say the Twins have had a bad season, but when you look at our record this year against the Yankees, Cleveland, Boston, Houston and the Dodgers, all teams on the golden path to and through the post-season, we’re a combined 11-26 (.297), and with that record against the top teams, I don’t think our performance against the Yankees is an aberration, or that it’s a locker room pep talk that we need. These guys need to be roused into upping their game, this is their game.

I believe the issues with this team go well beyond a locker room pep talk or player determination or talent and speak to management’s approach to fielding a team.

This is the team that was, by design, assembled during the off season and during Spring Training and took the field on Opening Day and, with a few exceptions, are the guys we’re watching in September. The team was assembled, I believe, with just one goal: the ability to play competitive baseball (translation: a .500 team) in order to keep fan interest as high as possible for as long as possible. This is big money we’re talking about and interested fans buy tickets and food and merchandise; and ticket, food and merchandise sales is what pays the bills and makes the owner and his family richer. I don’t believe it was ever management’s intent to field a team with a legitimate chance at contending for the post-season or the World Series, but to just make money this summer for as long as possible.

So these guys are playing at their level (or above their level if you listen to most of the local sports commentators) – which is right around .500 – so I don’t know where pep talks are going to make a difference. With all due respect to the team, the reality of the 2017 Twins is that we’re a mediocre team that’s managed by an inexperienced (and maybe not so good?) manager, and because we play in the AL Central – a perennially weak division – we find ourselves in the postseason picture. None of that is bad, even the mediocre part, and I’ve certainly enjoyed this season as much as the next fan, but our position in the standings on September 20th isn’t, in my opinion, necessarily a reason to get all giddy over the post-season potential in front of us. Yeah, it’s fun, but I don’t think it’s anything to be excited about for anyone other than bandwagon jumpers and fair-weather fans.

And not to end on a total downer, considering we finish out the season with three against Cleveland and seven against Detroit (another team we’ve posted a losing record against this year) after today’s Yankees finale, there’s really no guarantee that we won’t get passed by KC and drop to 3rd in the division.

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