I'm often labeled a "baseball guy,'' because I wrote so affectionately about the game, but the truth is the game can turn me off when the local team isn't good.
So I haven't been much of a baseball guy this decade.
When the Twins fell back into their sloppy habits this weekend against Detroit, I feared this might be another summer when I lost interest in watching the team, live or on TV.
So the last two nights in Texas have provided a pleasant respite. Not because the Twins won. But because of how they won.
Phil Hughes and Ervin Santana pitched with great intelligence. Miguel Sano made spectacular plays in the field. The outfield defense remained spectacular. Sano and Kenny Vargas made the ineup look like something that isn't pieced together by Scotch tape. And Byron Buxton took his best at-bats since last September.
Buxton has drawn walks, seen pitches and driven the ball to the opposite field.
It's not that he should be an opposite-field hitter. It's that when a hitter loses all semblance of ability to make contact at the plate, hitting the ball the other way remphasizes the most important hitting fundamentals. If Buxton can take away the outside part of the plate and stop swinging at pitches in the dirt, his bat speed and athletic ability will ensure that enough balls fly over the leftfield fence.
It's just two games, but these two games have brought the Twins back to .500 and demonstrated that they can play a satisfying brand of baseball. Small sample size? I'll take as many of these samples as I can get.
Next live shows for the MNSPN.com crew: 6 p.m. tonight at Hell's Kitchen with Michael Russo and 4:30 on Friday at Hell's Kitchen with Russo and VikingUpdate publisher Tim Yotter. Please stop by, or check out the podcasts at MNSPN.com.