Monday, October 08, 2012

Tail between legs I slunk to the cable company and offered up $100 a month every month, in exchange they promised to drain my life one sitcom at a time, a surrender I can come to terms with as long as it includes the MLB Xtra Innings package. What choice did I have? Watching or listening to all 162 Minnesota Twins games, as I had from 1991 through 2011, was out of the question once it became clear that 2012 would be every bit the disaster the Mayans predicted. Ominous signs began as early as March when Ron Gardenhire began to crumble after an exhibition game against the Devil Rays (3/26/12) telling those awake in the press that "Our starting pitcher (Baker) put us in a hole today...He says his arm is fine, everything's good. Well then let's go. Get on the ball, throw the ball. That's all I want to see from here on out. That was too long of a three innings. It's all B.S."..... Wow sounds like somebody forgot to hit the Waffle House before the game. Gardenhire can be easily provoked when he's hungry just as Scott Baker's right elbow can become inflamed when told to let it fly in Spring Training - great pitching instincts Gardy - soon after winging it as commanded our #2 starter ended up on the DL never to be seen again. The same can't be said of Gardy who was on the flight back from Fort Myers when the team broke camp transferring in Baltimore before the baggage arrived 0 - 3 in Minneapolis. Staggering off the tarmac Gardenhire made his way toward the opening day gates of Target Field but not before stopping off at the annual welcome-home Twins civic luncheon where he was presented with a local Emmy Award for his acting role in a sports TV commercial promotional spot. I didn't attend the event (it was a 500 ticket sell out) but I have no doubt it was well-deserved because Gardy has excelled at acting like a big league manager for over a decade. Spit seeds? check. Exaggerated confrontations with an umpire? check. Spew tired cliches win or lose? check. Criticize pitchers for not throwing strikes? check. Criticize pitchers for throwing it over the plate when they get whacked? check. Message to any future Twins pitcher: It's rather simple to get on Gardy's good side, all you really have to do is paint the inside & outside corners of the strike zone while simultaneously deceiving the hitter as to which pitch is coming....I got off track there I meant to be talking about the 0 - 3 Twins who would wrap up a series in Anaheim one month later at 6 - 18. Coming off a 99 loss season blood was already in the water as the road trip pushed us to the shores of Seattle landing under the command of Acting Manager Scott Ullger who took over following the Jered Weaver no-hitter which completed a 3 game Angel sweep after which Ron Gardenhire said "we can't continue like this" then promptly hopped on a plane back to Minnesota taking three games off to attend the college graduation of his daughter - without getting too personal let me just say if my daughter is graduating from M.I.T. yeah I think I miss one game....Southwest State? There's never a good reason to go to the southwest corner of Minnesota but Gardy went anyway and Twins fans held their collective breath for 3 days wondering how he would ever find his way back to civilization. Undaunted by logistical concerns Acting Manager Scotty Ullger engaged in a titanic battle of wits with Eric Wedge (interestingly enough the smartest of the last 3 Cleveland managers I can think of - Acta, Wedge, Hargrove - by default) bravely stealing one of three from the slimy Mariners leaving us 7 - 20 with five months to go. Playing .500 ball is no easy thing and .500 ball from that point forward gets you a 75 & 87 record, a shitty season anytime anywhere, a season Gardy could only hope for after coughing up a 96, hell a 75 - 87 season might have saved his crack coaching staff from reassignment - yes reassignment - that's how we respond to blood baths in Twins Territory. Reluctantly I'm forced to play the race card as I ask you to consider the case of Dennis Green vs Ron Gardenhire. Denny, like Gardy, racked up Division Titles then HAD TO GO when his teams didn't produce on the big stage (4 - 8 postseason including a 4 game losing streak). Do you think there's a bizarro world where Viking fans would have stuck with him if he lost 8 straight playoff games, shit perhaps Minnesota Nice Exists I have no problem envisioning a scenario where they would stand by Denny after 12 straight and if Viking fans are capable of that kind of depth imagine how deep mild-mannered Twins fans would be willing to sink provided they had the peace of mind they're being led to the sediment by a non-threatening white man.