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.
We were sitting in the upper deck at Target Field on Sunday, having a good time and joking in the face of the home team's adversity. You know, stuff like: "Good news and bad news: The good news is that Mauer and Morneau have played in every game this season. The bad news is that Mauer and Morneau have played in every game this season."
And then we got to wondering about the wisdom of even scheduling Ben Revere Bat Day for later this month, a promotion the Twins could likely salvage by shipping the bats to Rochester and letting the Red Wings have Ben Revere Bat Week until all the lumber is claimed.
If we couldn't say anything nice about the Twins, at least we could laugh.
And we also had the idea that the best way for the Twins to preserve the 3-1 lead they held after six innings was for a mighty rain to hit downtown Minneapolis -- not just the drizzle that was an early-game nuisance. Instead of a thunderstorm, however, there was a thunderous home run from Josh Hamilton that gave Texas the 4-3 advantage it held until the end.
The Twins' first week-and-a-half of play has featured an incredible array of badness. Aside for his big game against the Angels on Thursday, Mauer has five singles and two RBI in the other eight. Morneau's only two RBI came that afternoon and he's batting .206 in the clean-up spot, including 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position. The boys went a combined 0-for-6 on Sunday, each hitting into inning-ending double plays. Mauer had two walks; Morneau had three strikeouts.
The defense has been so bad that when the newest Twins player, outfielder Clete Thomas, started a play that ended with a runner being thrown out at home plate on an extra-base hit, it was hailed as quite an achievement on the postgame radio report. In the mantra of our household, often repeated after a scoreless inning by the opponents: "Nothing bad happened."
In this case, what should be expected from major league ballplayers was being treated as extraordinary. Welcome to the 2012 Twins, Clete.
Bright spots this season? Josh Willingham's hitting, Denard Span's all-around play and the work of fill-in starting pitchers Anthony Swarzak and Liam Hendriks, both of whom may end up as regulars in the rotation. (Put me in the camp for now that will be surprised if Nick Blackburn is really back in the rotation without a hitch come Thursday in New York, as the Twins are currently hoping.)
The thrills continue with four games in New York, three at Tampa Bay and three at Target Field against Boston. Could the 2-7 of April 15 be the 2-17 at the end of the night on April 25?
I'd like to be able to laugh and tell myself not to be ridiculous.
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