Mother's Day Massacree
Could pink pull the Twins from their troubles? On this Mother's Day, the Twins donned pink sweatbands and festooned their jerseys with pink ribbon pins. Six players actually swung bright pink bats. All of this festivity was to show the team's support for breast cancer research, a worthy cause. But considering the Twins had their best offensive game of the year, in a 16-4 clubbing of the Detroit Tigers, well, you have to ask: why not wear pink all year, if the results are this good?
Behold these numbers: sixteen runs on twenty-two hits, four home runs, two from Torii Hunter, who knocked in seven RBI all by himself. Every Twin had a hit this evening. And I mean every single one, including Luis Rodriguez and Jason Tyner, both of whom came into the game in the eighth and proceeded to get hits in their only at-bats. All but Nick Punto and Tyner scored a run (Rodriguez went home on Cuddyer's late homer). The team itself scored at least once every damned inning except the second and the ninth (which, of course, they didn't play). They broke every offensive record as a club for this short season, more runs, hits, and RBIs, which, considering their prior output, was admittedly was not difficult.
At first, it seemed that we might chalk up tonight's victory to the shaky debut of Tigers pitcher Virgil Vasquez. This young pup, up to replace Jeremy Bonderman (who's out with a blister on his middle finger) worked just 2 2/3 innings and gave up six runs and nine hits. His folks were in town to watch his first game, as was his girlfriend from Germany. Jim Leyland had the best advice for this kid, apropos of his performance: "Better tell them to get to the game early, in case we have to take you out."
Take him out they did, and handed over the game to the trio of Jason Grilli, Wilfredo Ledezma, and Jose Mesa. Now, you'd think the Twins would calm down a bit with new pitchers, but no, they just kept on hitting as if the ball were on a tee. We would still have taken this game with that six-run cushion young Vasquez gave us, even though it looked, at first, like it was going to be close. The Tigers scored first on a Magglio Ordonez two-run homer, and again in the second when Curtis Granderson sent Craig Monroe home on a nice double. The Boof was hardly dominant, giving up four runs in five innings, struggling a bit but earning his first victory. After the second, when the score 4-3, our boys knocked in two more in the third, a pair in the fourth, one more in the fifth, and Boofus was sitting on a five-run lead. But the fun wouldn't end there, for we still had seven more runs to push across the plate. And this team that couldn't hit against a last-place American Legion club, who shut down entirely in the face of decent pitching and failed more miserably against bad-to-worse hurlers (see the series against the Devil Rays, Royals, and even Yankees), suddenly came alive against possibly the best team in the American League.
You're really telling me it's not the pink?
Look, perhaps the Twins were buoyed by the news that Sidney Ponson was sent down, hopefully never to return. Perhaps they were sick and tired of losing at home, and especially in front of mother. It is, after all, not a good thing to give one's dear mom another crushing loss on her special day. But this game turned out to be the equivalent of a dessert buffet, with a night of yardwork and housecleaning thrown in for good measure. I mean, Mike Redmond, who in the seventh was the only Twin without a hit, blasted his first home run in over a year, for Christ's sake. "Well, I don't play much, and I certainly don't swing for the fences," he admitted later, when ruminating on the gap between four-baggers.
Like the thunderbolt patch in The Natural, which spurred the hapless New York Knights to race to the top of the standings, I think it would behoove this club to start wearing the pink sweatbands, pink ribbon pins, and swing pink bats. They don't look bad--the bats especially are actually kind of cool. And it's not like this could actually hurt the club, or, God forbid, cost them a lot of money, like a decent hitter would. It's not as if they have to wear pink hats and uniforms. After all, what's more embarrassing? A pink bat and you win like this, or black bats and ash bats and a slow, steady march toward last place?