Kate Townley came to work for the Twins in 2005. She worked in administration for the minor leagues and for scouting, then was promoted to director of baseball administration in Derek Falvey's large front office.
Twins employees were allowed to serve as spectators for the playoff series in Target Field. It was unique for the major leagues, a best-of-three in one location, as the first round in the pandemicized postseason.
Townley arrived Tuesday with a Homer Hanky and incredible enthusiasm. She was calling out names of players she had helped through complications in the minor leagues, hitting a high note of encouragement at the smallest hint of success.
Tuesday's final: Astros 4, Twins 1. Seventeen consecutive postseason losses for the Twins, 14 of those with Townley as an employee.
Kate was back with the same outward enthusiasm Wednesday. She was thrilled with the pitching of Jose Berrios, one of those "kids" she knew so well from the back fields at Fort Myers. She Hanky-waved ferociously on Nelson Cruz's game-tying double, and yelped in sadness when Luis Arraez was thrown out at the plate.
Final: Astros 3, Twins 1. Eighteen consecutive postseason losses for the Twins, 15 of those with Townley as an employee.
Poor Kate. Fifteen years, so much Hanky waving, and she has 15 playoff losses and no wins.
Townley was not yet hired when the Twins defeated the Yankees 2-0 on Oct. 5, 2004, in Game 1 of a division series. The next day, Houston beat Atlanta 9-3 in Game 1 of a National League division series.
Starting then, Oct. 6, 2004, Houston has 43 postseason victories. The Twins have zero.
Alarmed? How about this: The Twins have been in the postseason seven times starting in 2004, as have the Astros. There aren't enough garbage cans in the entirety of Minute Maid Park to explain the 43-0 advantage in wins.
Mostly, the generation of Twins from the 2000s, and this one that has been around in various forms since a wild-card in 2017, can't hit in the postseason. Plus, when needed to secure defeat, they can't pitch.
And in these two losses to Houston, they threw in some poor fielding, as frosting on the futility.
The Twins won 101 games by producing an MLB record 307 home runs in 2019, and decided the way to go was to add more bombast to the Bomba Squad. Josh Donaldson was given the largest free-agent contract in team history: $92 million guaranteed for four years.
Then came the pandemic. Only 38% of the schedule was played. And now for the Twins, even if it was only two games vs. the Astros and three against the Yankees in 2019, there's proof of this:
A team that's only capable of jogging around the bases, with some of that based on a few hitters only capable of hitting meatballs, is not going to cut it in pressurized competition.
This lineup has one exceptional athlete, Byron Buxton, and baseballs and walls and bases keep jumping at him and putting him on the injured list.
Eddie Rosario can run, too, but the direction he chooses can be questionable. On Wednesday, he got tossed by umpire Manny Gonzalez for arguing the same pitch twice.
If I had been Manny, I would have said, "Why didn't you just swing at it, Eddie, like you usually do."
There's a strong feeling that Rosario will be gone this winter, but he still brings the thought, "He could get a hit here and drive in a couple runs."
Anyone have that thought with Miguel Sano after his 2020 abomination? Not enough meatballs, obviously.
Miguel struck out 90 times in 186 at-bats (. 484). He had a average of .204 and on-base percentage of .278. That's lower than Mario Mendoza as a regular in 1980 (. 286 in OBP), and Mendoza has a whole batting line for futility named after him.
Strikeouts don't matter? Tell me that when the Twins are trying to put together a rally in an elimination game. Check swing, strike three, sit down Miguel. Rinse, and wait 'til next year.
The Twins are stuck with Miguel two more years, so they have to try again to fix him.
Elsewhere, catcher Ryan Jeffers was only the start of a new wave. Trade Max Kepler for pitching, and Jeffers could be joined by corner outfielders Alex Kirilloff and Trevor Larnach as soon as Opening Day in Milwaukee next April 1.
And Royce Lewis would be next, as a much-need athlete for a cumbersome lineup.
Bomba ball can be fun in August. It doesn't work when the leaves are turning.
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