Twins trying to make 2011 twice as interesting as 2010

Categories: Twins

Nick Blackburn.jpeg
Keith Allison
Nick Blackburn was one of the few bright spots this weekend.
Let me sum up the Twins' futility this way: After Toronto's Jose Bautista launched his fifth home run this series on Sunday (and third that game), he came within two of matching the Twins entire team output.

The Twins are never going to lead the league in home runs. That's simply not their m.o. However, 18 dingers through 38 games is reminiscent of the days when Babe Ruth would hit more homers in a season than whole teams. You know, back in the days when your uncle died from drinking bathtub gin and ladies like Theda Bara were considered the epitome of sexy.

This is 2011, people, and the Twins probably shouldn't be playing as if eight home runs will lead the league.

Here's a few more numbers: We scored six runs in three games. We gave up 22 runs in that same time span.

You can't blame the pitching: Carl Pavano went 5.1 innings with 0 earned runs on Friday; Nick Blackburn went 7.2 innings and gave up 2 earned runs, not to mention striking out a career-high 8 batters.

I don't know, maybe the Twins are trying to make things more interesting. Comebacks are bit more intriguing than coasting to a division title, right?

Imagine if the Twins do manage to come from behind: won't that make this season one for the ages? I mean, last year was great and all, but mostly it was because of the new stadium. Almost literally we get a Central Division crown and a quick exit from the postseason every year.

But in 2006, things were different, right? It looked as if the Twins were on a downward spiral toward the basement, with a 25-33 record in early June.

As many of us know, the Twins went on a tear, winning 9 out of 10 after that, and going on to taking the division on the last day of the season, overcoming an 8 1/2 game deficit behind Detroit.

Problem is, ever since that once-in-a-lifetime occurrence, Twins fans (and many of the scribes around town) seem to think the Twins'll do the same thing every year they suck. That's all I heard in 2007, when they won 79 games and ended up 17 behind the Cleveland Indians.

Well, if the Twins can pull it off this season, it'll be an ever greater accomplishment. The club is 14 games under .500, 12.5 games out of first. Teams have come back from that kind of deficit. I'm not going to take the time to look it up, but it's happened, trust me.

I'm pretty sure it's never happened to the Twins, but then again, the clubs who have come from that far behind probably didn't see that one coming all that often, either.

File-Puckroundingthebases91.jpeg
Wikipedia
Where's this guy when we need him?
But we all remember 2006. Despite the fact that the A's made short work of us in the playoffs, that one kind of stands out, doesn't it? As would this season, should we pull off a miracle (and we're nearing miracle status.)

I was at both games Saturday and Sunday, and I'll give the crowds credit: they're eager to see something great happen. True, the stands were maybe 3/4 full (less on that rainy, miserable Saturday), but whenever a Twin hit a squibbler through the gap for a lame single, you'd have thought it was Kirby Puckett sending the '91 series to seven games.

Unfortunately, there's a dark side to this as well. Delmon Young, back from injury, had a rough weekend. The dude, who I'll admit is my favorite Twin, went 1 for 12 with 7 strikeouts.

Delmon.Young.jpeg
Keith Allison
Delmon's back, and he was booed mercilessly.
Delmon also missed a line drive and a deep fly, the first of which looked like he should have grabbed it. The other bounced off the wall and, instead of chasing it down, pointed to the ball for Denard Span to retreive.

Like I said, I'm biased, and I thought it was wise of Delmon to point to the ball, since Span, whose job it is to back up another outfielder when the ball gets by them, might miss the thing.

Twins fans were damning--it was the worst I'd heard in two seasons at the park. "Oh, he's a fucking loser again!" someone shouted in my section (323 if you must know.) Every time the guy came to the plate... booing, booing and more booing.

I didn't hear anyone shouting down Danny Valencia after his error on Saturday, which cost the team a run. If that run hadn't scored, the Twins would have won that game 3-2, instead of 9-3 in 11 innings.

For whatever reason, fans and sportswriters love to pile on the "evil" Delmon Young. I can't say why, because I don't honestly don't know or understand. Maybe the kid'll be wishing for a ticket out if he's going to have to shoulder this club's losing ways.

Then again, maybe the Twins will turn it around and people will shower him with conditional affection.

Observations, etc.

Delmon Young continues to intrigue me. Dude put The Shawshank Redemption down as his favorite movie (saw this on Sunday), The Great Gatsby as his favorite novel, has a Misfits tattoo, and someone swears they saw him quaffing a beer at the St. Louis Park Showplace ICON. What was he watching?

Sky-High Dept.: Apropos of nothing at all, except perhaps my continuing obsession with players on LSD, here's a video of Sarah Silverman during a Fox broadcast of a Yanks/Red Sox game. At around the 4:00 mark our girl thinks steroids are awful but that it would be a "treat" for pitchers to hit a tab of windowpane acid. (Joe Buck: "Thanks for not testing our delay, Sarah.") I wish the Twins would hire Sarah to call our games...

Thanks to Mike Blizzard at "Baseball Freaks" group on Facebook.

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