Jim Souhan: Plenty of good to discover in watching bad baseball

  • Article by: JIM SOUHAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 26, 2012 - 10:18 PM
hide

Brian Dozier couldn't handle a Delmon Young bouncer in the eighth inning Saturday and was charged with an error.

Photo: Bruce Bisping, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

With the Twins falling apart for a second consecutive season, those who love baseball need to find a new way to enjoy the game.

You've come to the right place. I'm an expert on the joys of bad ball.

The team I followed in my youth, the Baltimore Orioles, is trying to end a string of 14 losing seasons.

The team I followed as a young adult, the Texas Rangers, thought of Pete Incaviglia as a franchise player.

The team I covered as a beat writer, the Twins of 1993-97, was so hopeless that the commissioner thought about eliminating the franchise.

Watching so many losses taught me how to appreciate baseball on the short end of the fungo:

1. Bad teams are more fun

The Yankees are the source of reverence or hatred; the Cubs are everyone's punch line. Rooting for the Cubs is more fun.

Derek Jeter is a great player. He's also no fun. Know who was funny? Alex Cole and Butch Huskey, both outfielders on horrible Twins teams.

The former dressed like Shaft. The latter once ran face-first into a fence without slowing down, prompting Kirby Puckett to adorn the outfield wall with the kind of tape the police use to outline dead bodies.

Mets fans may idolize the 1969 team that won the World Series, but they truly love original Mets such as Marvelous Marv Throneberry, who helped his team lose 120 games.

2. More room at a great park

Take it from someone who used to sneak into Arlington Stadium after they stopped taking tickets: Empty ballparks are like found money.

Tickets are cheaper. Parking is cheaper. You get to enjoy big-league baseball, with elbow room and without traffic jams.

Fans think the Twins wanted Target Field so they could fund a winner, but if it was that simple the Pittsburgh Pirates would be a dynasty. In reality, the Twins wanted Target Field so the franchise could still be relevant when the team wasn't. Mission accomplished.

3. Why watch the game?

One of my favorite things about baseball is that being a fan doesn't require anger. Ever watch a basketball crowd? These people pay good money to scream for traveling on every possession. Ever watch a football crowd? They think they're at war.

When the park is empty, you can bring a book to the bleachers or wander the concourse. You can sunbathe. You can arrive late or leave early without guilt.

4. Watch for greatness

Baseball is a game of individual skill and achievement. Paul Molitor's 3,000th hit was not diminished by his team's record at the time he got it. Neither was Scott Erickson's no-hitter.

Somebody has to win the World Series every year; there is no guarantee that someone will reach 500 home runs or pitch a perfect game. If you're at the ballpark, you could see something historic.

5. Watch the kids

Baseball is inscrutable. Nobody knew a Rule 5 draftee like Johan Santana would become the best pitcher in the game, and nobody knew that Torii Hunter would become an All-Star in his 10th season in professional baseball. The kid you see today could be the star of tomorrow.

6. Promising math

Watch a bad NFL team or college football team, and you might see three victories in a span of 365 days.

As horrid as the 2011 Twins were, they celebrated 63 times in the regular season and 20 times during spring training. Bad baseball teams can win any given day, making them more interesting than the dregs of any other sport.

7. Sheer star power

Have you seen Justin Verlander pitch in person? This season might provide your best chance. Tickets will be cheap, and Verlander is about even money to pitch a perfect game.

8. Enjoy the crowd

Bad baseball clears out the riff-raff and leaves the ballpark half-filled with people who enjoy the ambience and history of the game.

So buy a cheap ticket and grab yourself a section of seats. If you watch closely, something interesting is bound to happen. Eventually.

Jim Souhan can be heard Sundays from 10 a.m. to noon and weekdays at 2 p.m. on 1500-AM. His Twitter name is SouhanStrib. • jsouhan@startribune.com

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions
7:10 PM ET123456789RHE
ClevelandT. House (3-3)000
MinnesotaT. May (3-4)000
@theBallpark
Preview | Matchup | Lineup | Log | Wrap | Box

ADVERTISEMENT

Los Angeles 7 Bottom 7th Inning
Chicago Cubs 2
Detroit 3 Top 8th Inning
Kansas City 1
Philadelphia - J. Williams 3:05 PM
Oakland - D. Pomeranz
Toronto - M. Stroman 3:05 PM
NY Yankees - C. Capuano
Arizona - T. Cahill 3:10 PM
Colorado - E. Butler
Boston - R. De La Rosa 6:05 PM
Baltimore - C. Tillman
Milwaukee - M. Garza 6:05 PM
Pittsburgh - E. Volquez
Washington - J. Zimmermann 6:10 PM
Miami - J. Cosart
NY Mets - J. Niese 6:10 PM
Atlanta - M. Minor
Chicago WSox - H. Noesi 6:10 PM
Tampa Bay - C. Archer
Cleveland - T. House 6:10 PM
Minnesota - T. May
Seattle - C. Young 6:10 PM
Houston - D. Keuchel
Cincinnati - M. Leake 6:15 PM
St. Louis - M. Wacha
San Francisco - Y. Petit 7:40 PM
San Diego - A. Cashner
Texas - C. Lewis 8:05 PM
LA Angels - J. Weaver
San Diego 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Dallas 9/21/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Washington 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Houston 9/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Minnesota 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Tennessee 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Baltimore 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland
Green Bay 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Indianapolis 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Oakland 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New England
San Francisco 9/21/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Denver 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Kansas City 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Miami
Pittsburgh 9/21/14 7:30 PM
Carolina
Chicago 9/22/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 9/25/14 7:25 PM
Washington
Connecticut 14 FINAL
So Florida 17
Old Dominion 45 FINAL
Rice 42
Troy 0 FINAL 0:00
(13) Georgia 66
Georgia Tech 27 FINAL
Virginia Tech 24
Eastern Mich 14 FINAL
(11) Michigan State 73
Iowa 24 FINAL
Pittsburgh 20
Bowling Green 17 FINAL
(19) Wisconsin 68
Maryland 34 4th Qtr 0:48
Syracuse 19
Tulane 13 4th Qtr 8:35
Duke 47
Marshall 31 3rd Qtr
Akron 3
Hawaii 6 3rd Qtr 15:00
Colorado 21
Louisville 0 Delayed 15:00
FIU 0
North Carolina 10 1st Qtr 9:43
East Carolina 7
Army 0 1st Qtr 7:41
Wake Forest 0
Virginia 7 1st Qtr 8:34
(21) BYU 0
(6) Texas A&M 3 1st Qtr 8:04
SMU 0
Rutgers 0 1st Qtr 9:43
Navy 7
Central Mich 0 1st Qtr 10:24
Kansas 7
Utah 0 1st Qtr 7:31
Michigan 3
Florida 0 1st Qtr 12:18
(3) Alabama 7
Fla Atlantic 3:00 PM
Wyoming
Indiana 3:00 PM
(18) Missouri
San Jose St 3:00 PM
Minnesota
Texas State 3:00 PM
Illinois
Massachusetts 3:00 PM
Penn State
Georgia State 5:00 PM
Washington
Appalachian St 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Miss State 6:00 PM
(8) LSU
Northern Ill 6:00 PM
Arkansas
Middle Tennessee 6:00 PM
Memphis
Utah State 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Miami-Ohio 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Idaho 6:00 PM
Ohio U
Ball State 6:00 PM
Toledo
(14) So Carolina 6:30 PM
Vanderbilt
(4) Oklahoma 6:30 PM
West Virginia
Ga Southern 6:30 PM
South Alabama
UNLV 7:00 PM
Houston
(22) Clemson 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State
Miami-Florida 7:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
New Mexico 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 9:00 PM
Arizona
Louisiana 9:30 PM
Boise State
(2) Oregon 9:30 PM
Washington St
San Diego St 9:30 PM
Oregon State
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(25) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(12) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Middle Tennessee 9/26/14 7:00 PM
Old Dominion
Fresno State 9/26/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
(1) Florida State 9/27/14 2:00 AM
NC State
Duke 9/27/14 2:00 AM
Miami-Florida
North Carolina 9/27/14 2:00 AM
(22) Clemson
Texas-El Paso 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(20) Kansas State
Tennessee 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(13) Georgia
Vanderbilt 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Kentucky
Wyoming 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(11) Michigan State
Northwestern 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
TCU 9/27/14 11:00 AM
SMU
Iowa 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Tulane 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers
So Florida 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Colorado State 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Western Mich 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
Maryland 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Indiana
Akron 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/27/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Arkansas 9/27/14 2:30 PM
(6) Texas A&M
Kent State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Virginia
Western Ky 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Minnesota 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Wake Forest 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Louisville
FIU 9/27/14 2:30 PM
UAB
Miami-Ohio 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Colorado 9/27/14 3:00 PM
California
Louisiana Tech 9/27/14 3:00 PM
(5) Auburn
Texas 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Kansas
Temple 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Connecticut
(16) Stanford 9/27/14 3:15 PM
Washington
TX-San Antonio 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
South Alabama 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Idaho
Cincinnati 9/27/14 5:00 PM
(23) Ohio State
Rice 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
(18) Missouri 9/27/14 6:00 PM
(14) So Carolina
Boise State 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Air Force
Central Mich 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
Troy 9/27/14 6:00 PM
ULM
New Mexico St 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(8) LSU
Memphis 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(10) Ole Miss
Texas State 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Washington St 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Utah
(9) Notre Dame 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Syracuse
(7) Baylor 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Iowa State
UNLV 9/27/14 7:00 PM
San Diego St
Illinois 9/27/14 8:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
Oregon State 9/27/14 9:30 PM
(17) USC
Nevada 9/27/14 9:30 PM
San Jose St
Vancouver FC 4:00 PM
Portland
Houston 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
New England 6:30 PM
Columbus
San Jose 6:30 PM
Montreal
Seattle 6:30 PM
Red Bull New York
D.C. 7:30 PM
Chicago
FC Dallas 9:30 PM
Los Angeles
Toronto 40 FINAL
Brt Columbia 23
Edmonton 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Calgary 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Ottawa 9/21/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Montreal 9/26/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 9/26/14 9:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/27/14 5:30 PM
Winnipeg
Brt Columbia 9/27/14 8:30 PM
Calgary
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How sure are you that the Twins are on the road to improving?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close