If you are a frequent blog reader or a follower of a baseball writers, bloggers and fans on Twitter, you would think that the Twins are 11 games under .500 instead of the 11 games over .500 (31-20) that they actually are. You would think that manager Ron Gardenhire was on the hot seat. You might think that Jon Rauch should just be released.
If there is one thing about baseball, Major League Baseball, your favorite team, and specifically the Minnesota Twins, fans can and will second, third or even fourth guess everything that happens in a game. Sometimes it can be incredibly annoying to read some comments that come at the heat of the moment. Sometimes it is important to take a look at the bigger picture. But, at least for me, that is one of the many things that there are to love about baseball.
So today, I want people to discuss all of the things that you love about baseball. With west coast games this week, it should be a good discussion. Here are several of my favorite things, but please feel free to expand upon them and come up with your own.
- I love the individual battles within a team concept. Sometimes the hitter's job is to hit the ball to the right side. Sometimes the hitter's job is to take a bunch of pitches. Sometimes it is to get down a bunt. The pitcher's job is to try to keep the opponet from scoring runs. It is a game of hitter versus pitcher while under the obvious team goals and team situations.
- I love to watch great matchups like Joe Mauer or Justin Morneau against pitchers like Justin Verlander, CC Sabathia, Felix Hernandez or others. However it is also funny to see when really bad hitters just have the number of great pitchers, or when really great hitters just can't figure out pitchers who can't get anyone else out.
- Likewise, isn't it great that in a 162 game season, there will be great matchups like Twins/Tigers or Yankees/Red Sox or Yankees/Rays. But it is great that even the Royals and Pirates will (probably) win 60 games this year, and several of them will be against good teams.
- I love that there are many ways to win, or lose. The Yankees and Red Sox win by buying free agents each year. The Cubs and Mets have done a great job of not winning by spending a lot of money. The Twins have won for the past decade by being fiscally responsible and relying on scouting and player development. The Pirates have lost for the last two decades with teh same thinking.
- I love big league debuts. This year already, Twins fans have seen the big league debuts of Wilson Ramos, Luke Hughes and Trevor Plouffe. To watch these guys realize their dreams is fantastic.
- No other sports respects its history as much as baseball. That is seen through statistics, but also seen through understanding the rarity of events like perfect games.
- Second-Guessing - That's right, it's one of the more frustrating things about being a baseball fan, but it is also something that we all do. In baseball, fans will second-guess each transaction a General Manager makes and even many that they don't make. Fans question their manager's lineup construction, in-game decision-making and comments made to the press. Players often are questioned for their decision-making or pitch selection. The game looks so easy, and most fans have at least played baseball or softball to some level, even if it is just little league, or beer league softball.
- The minor leagues - This is a personal favorite for me. I love following the minor league system. It's fun following the players from when they are drafted and/or signed through the minor leagues and, occasionally, all the way to the big leagues. There is no sure-fire prospect. There is no guaranteed, "normal" path to the big leagues. The amount of steps that a player must move up to get to the big leagues tells us just how tough the journey is, and just how good these players really are when they do get to the big leagues.
- You just never know what is going to happen. Bucky Dent. Aaron Boone. Gene Larkin. Sandy Koufax. Kirby Puckett. Jack Morris. On any day, any big leaguer can do something extraordinary, something we have never seen before. Any player can play hero.
- Over time, it generally makes sense to look at stats and matchups to make lineups, or determine pinch hitters. But sometimes, a manager just has to go by a gut feeling. Sometimes those decisions pay off. Sometimes they don't. But that's part of the game.
There are ten reasons that I love baseball. Given more time, I bet I could come up with many, many more (including some of the players, or Target Field or the Twins Community Fund). And I bet you can too. Let's spend the day talking (and remembering) why it is that we love this game. I think sometimes, especially if you read blog comments or some other social networking vehicles that create immediacy, it is good to remember why we love this game.
And then we need to take note that this Twins team is pretty good. They are 31-20 after last night's 5-4 win over the Mariners. That is pretty good!
- John will going the Power Trip Morning Show on KFAN and KFAN.com on Tuesday morning at 7:20.
- Seth will be on WDAY (Fargo) and WDAY.com Tuesday at 1:10.
- John asked What's Going on with the DL? It is a question at the top of mind of many Twins fans because it is truly a ridiculous situation that the Twins have put themselves in several times already this year.
- The TwinsCentric guys are all among the aforementioned social networking crowd. Each of us has a facebook page, including TwinsCentric. You can follow each of us on Twitter as well. Follow TwinsCentric, John, Nick, Parker and Seth.
- At 10:00 Tuesday night, join Seth and Travis Aune for Twins Minor League Weekly, a look at the entire Twins minor league system.