The great silent film comedian Buster Keaton never broke a smile in his movies. Nor, however, did he bust out weeping at his fate, which was usually cruel, but always comic. In his films, Keaton lost his true loves, couldn't find work, fell from skyscrapers eluding police, watched his house torn apart by a train, tried his damnedest to kill himself (to no avail), sailed a leaky homemade ship into the maw of a storm, and slid head over heels into home plate only to land two feet shy of scoring. Buster took his myriad hits square on the noggin, ass flying out from under him, feet in the air, and then stood up, brushed himself off, and went right on trying. It was no wonder baseball was his favorite game.
After tonight's contest, which the Twins lost 8-1 (with only five hits), your radio home of the Twins, KSTP, seemed to fall utterly apart, as if part of some Keaton comedy. First, our boys in the booth lost after-game interviewee (and first base coach) Jerry White somewhere in the guts of Shea. Then Kris Atteberry, who hosts what's called the Post-Game Download sounded utterly dispirited, mumbling about the vanishing White, mumbling that the Mets have lost 11 of 13 and that "the Twins were just what they needed" and then, best of all, mumbling that there really weren't many highlights to keep you listening after the ads. But he soldiered on, he soldiered on...
Now, every once in awhile, a team just loses. The slapstick in question wasn't on the part of the Twins themselves, who simply got knocked on the noggin. I've been grousing about the Twins for quite a few weeks now, but tonight they were fairly patient at the plate, which has not always been the case, and my usual peeve. Too often tonight, the Twins hit 'em right at hungry Mets, and that's not really anyone's fault. They made a number of dandy defensive plays, robbing the Mets of even more runs. The pitching, outside of Juan Rincon, was decent. My last post noted that the Johan's been the victim of the bad-luck, no-hit Twins with his 6-6 won-lost record; well, Carlos Silva's 4.20 ERA doesn't necessarily warrant a 4-8 won-lost record, either.
So maybe I'm getting soft or feeling charitable, but tonight I'm not loathing the Twins for letting Silva give up just four runs and take the loss. It was a nice cool night and I discovered that the Twins are great to listen to while the wife watches Buster Keaton's The Navigator on television, and the breezes calm the cats in the windowsills. Sometimes, all you can do is listen to your team hit the proverbial banana peel, and wait for them get back up again. The season's too damn long not to laugh at failure.
The Twins, as Kris Atteberry again mumbled--and not without a sense of tired, almost existential despair--now sit at 34-34, exactly the same record they had exactly one year ago. Now, the aforementioned cat-calming breezes only go so far, as I couldn't help noting that the 34-34 record last year was a marked improvement over the prior months, while this year's break-even record isn't so hot. Also, I have to point out the obvious, and that's that the Twins didn't simply fall 6.5 games behind Cleveland, and 5.5 games back of the Tigers. They are all those things, but also fifth place in the Wild Card race--behind the Tigers, Oakland, Seattle (what?) and Yankees, and but a game ahead of Toronto. So it's not so much that the Tigers cough up their lead as last year--the Twins have to win, and everyone else has got to lose as well. Still think that's going to happen?