Startribune.com digital sports editor Howard Sinker used to cover the Twins and now shares season tickets with friends in Section 219 of Target Field. He blogs about baseball from the perspective of a long-time fan who loves the game, doesn’t always believe the hype and likes hearing what others think. Howard sometimes talks about sports with Cathy Wurzer on MPR's Morning Edition.
Anyone else tired of all the build-up and the chattering about the playoffs?
I reached my limit this morning when Rob Dibble started yammering about how the divisional series "is the World Series" for the Twins because of their history of futility against the Yankees. His point seemed to be that of the Twins finally can knock off the Yankees, they won't have anything left for the rest of the playoffs.
And there was Frank Deford this morning on NPR predicting the demise of the Yankees because they are aging and on the decrepit down slope.
I turned off the baseball talk on the way to work this morning, opened the xB's windows and cranked up Yolanda Be Good instead.
Take nothing lightly.
If the Twins win this series, they will have beaten an awfully good team. I am not comforted by the fact that Mariano Rivera blew three saves in September and is being mocked in some circles for "working on his delivery" with the Yankees' pitching coach. That Derek Jeter didn't have an MVP season and is close to 70 years old doesn't automatically mean three-and-out for the defending champs.
If the Twins win this series, I have no doubt they will be revved up for whatever comes next.
This is a scary match-up on so many fronts, but scary in a get-lost-in-the-corn-maze kind of way. Who knows what's around the corner...
...JUST BRING IT ON ALREADY.
Here's what I'm (most) concerned about:
*The Yankees are planning to start lefties four times in the five scheduled games, now that it's been decided that CC Sabathia will pitch game 4 on three days of rest. I wish there was another right-handed bat in the lineup, despite my faith in Joe Mauer, Jim Thome and -- yes -- Denard Span. Jason Kubel concerns me, but I'd find someone to concern me disproportionately under any circumstance. Make me wrong, Jason.
*That Francisco Liriano follows the advice of not worrying about his strikeout total. The Yankees take more pitches than any team in baseball and most of them are wise enough at the plate to keep from swinging at every slider that comes their way. Liriano will have to be a pitcher ... and he can be.
*The bench. If there's one flaw in the roster, it's the lack of a bat on the bench. Yankees manager Joe Girardi isn't going to make any decisions based on who may come off the bench in a late-inning situation, which is one less thing for him to worry about.
*A-Rod. Because Cheater McSmug is that good.
I know I've said this before, but the Twins are the envy of 22 other teams that aren't playing baseball today and/or tomorrow. Some of them saw their realistic chances slip away with drama and more than a few had as much chance of playing October baseball as you have of winning the Powerball tonight.
This is a great time of year. I love that Ms. Baseball-219 went off on a rant last night -- complete a handful of well-placed F-bombs -- about how effin' much she hates the effin' Yankees. I love that my expectations are high enough that it will hurt if the Twins aren't still alive at this time next week. I love that I don't have to jump on a bandwagon, the way many of us do when we take an interest in the Gophers at NCAA tournament time or when a big-deal golf tournament comes through town.
As I end this, it's 9 hours until the opening pitch.
LET'S GO ALREADY.
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