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[Author’s Disclaimer: Brutal honesty to follow. If you’re the butterflies and rainbows, glass half-full Twins rube, you may want to stop reading now.]
It’s no secret that the 2013 Minnesota Twins are terrible. Anyone who has paid any bit of attention to the team knows this. If you took the time to read my 2013 Twins previews article, you certainly saw this coming. And really, it’s not like this was a difficult prediction to make. It didn’t take a rocket scientist to know this group would be horrible.
But bitching and moaning about the on-field production is not what this piece is about. No, I’m not here to shame the Twins or their players for the disappointment that has predominated the 2013 season. I’m not even here to chastise the Twins’ front office for their lack of ability to field a semi-competitive ballclub. Both of these would, of course, be relevant complaints to be made, but that’s not my intention here.
That’s your job. And THAT is what this writing is all about.
Beyond the putrid on-field play, beyond the laughable off-season acquisitions made by Terry Ryan and company (see: Kevin Correia, Mike Pelfrey and Vance Worley), the absolute saddest thing that this 2013 season has proven is that you, us, WE, as a fan-base, are not holding up our part in holding this franchise accountable.
They are failing, yes. But WE are failing even worse.
This season is shaping up to be the third straight in which the Twins fail to win 70 games, the third straight in which they lose 90+. For those of you who don’t pay attention, that’s really, really bad. Some may point to the five division titles the Twins have captured over the last decade and say, “Hey, take it easy dude, they’re not that bad!” And of course that would technically be correct; the Twins did rip off quite a run of AL-central dominance over the last 10 years. However, I would point to the two, count them, TWO playoff victories (that’s games, not series) over that span as a sign that the notion of the Twins as a successful franchise has much more to do with marketing/propaganda than it does with actual substance.
Let’s face it, folks. The Twins have been mediocre at best over the last decade. Which, sadly, is exactly how the Twins like it.
The Minnesota Twins, at this stage in their existence, are nothing more than a crooked, hope-selling, money-hungry organization. Why do you think they broke the bank to keep local boy Joe Mauer in a Twins uni? Don’t get me wrong, I’m a Mauer-backer to the end and believe he gets far too much blame for the Twins struggles. But the fact of the matter, one that may be hard to swallow for your average Twins rube, is that the signing of Mauer had much more to do with business than it did with winning ballgames. Can you imagine the uproar that would have ensued if the Twins had let the good-ole boy, aw shucks, lawn-mowing/Kemps ice cream eating one-of-us Mauer walk, and instead signed, let’s say, an equally if not more talented Cuban ballplayer? What would have happened with ticket and merchandise sales? Can you imagine the riots at newly-opened Target Field? It would have been sheer pandemonium! And the Twins know this. Which is why they have continued to ride the Mauer wave over the last few years, filling their pockets with fans’ money as their team continues to blow ass game in and game out.
But I digress. Again, knocking the Twins is not what this is about. It’s about knocking you … knocking us.
Why, I ask, do we continue to let this disgrace go on unchallenged? Why do we continue to fill Target Field, pay $8.50 for flat Miller Lite, pay God knows what for a navy blue T-shirt with “Buxton” on the back (yes, I’ve seen them), while the team continues to drop 11-3 ballgames to the lowliest of American League foes?
We should be ashamed of ourselves.
I recently attended a Twins-Royals game (before you scoff, the ticket was free) in which the Twins committed two errors (technically one, but only because of some dirty home-cooking from the official score-keeper), allowed 11 hits, surrendered runs in all but four innings, and showed nothing but blatant disinterest throughout the entire ballgame (body language says A LOT). After the 7-2 loss, manager Ron Gardenhire told reporters that us fans “don’t deserve to watch that crap,” which as a matter of fact was precisely what I was thinking as I booed the team following the final out. But it wasn’t the play on the field that was most disturbing to me, it was the fact that THREE SEPARATE PEOPLE, sitting in different sections of the bleachers, turned and showered me with hate. One said, “Grow up, that’s not how you behave at a game.” Another said, “Knock it off, they’re trying their best out there!”
And I was stunned. Shocked. Too flabbergasted (and buzzed off $9 brews) to even respond.
Is this honestly what we have subjected ourselves to? Are we seriously that drunk off the “Minnesota Nice” Kool-Aid to see what is going on here? How can we honestly sit back and not only ACCEPT the disgusting baseball being shoved down our throats, but actually DEFEND IT!?!
I can’t believing I’m actually going to say this, but the hard truth is that we’d all be wise to take a page out of the New York Yankees fans’ playbook. Maybe they’re all a bunch of self-righteous pricks (and they are), maybe they’re everything that us Minnesotans despise (again, yep, they are), but at least they’ve got their heads on straight when it comes to being sports fans. When their team doesn’t perform, or when their front office doesn’t make moves to help the club win, they let them here it. They piss, they moan, they bitch, they boo. And I get it, we’re Minnesotans … We have more class than that. But isn’t it time we stop with our pretentious, holier-than-thou politeness crap and start showing some real, true, raw emotion? I say yes.
So next time you’re finding yourself shaking your head at the hometown 9, scrap your Minnesota-nice filter for a few seconds and give those boys a piece of your mind. Or turn off the TV. Or don’t buy that Kyle Gibson shirt-sey. Or whatever, just as long as you’re doing your part.
Together, we must show the Twins that we’re mad as hell and aren’t going to take this anymore.
Chad Radniecki is a lover of children and beer, but not together. He also likes to dance like nobody is watching. Follow him on Twitter @SeeRadd.
Category - Sports Culture