"Let us go forth a while, and get better air in our lungs. Let us leave our closed rooms...
The game of ball is glorious."

--Walt Whitman

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Finnegan Was A Realist

It ain't over 'til it's over.
--Yogi Berra

On June 7th, many Twins fans (I admit to being among them) had already dusted off the familiar mantra of "maybe next season". Our team was awful. Worse than awful, on occasion. The hitting was pathetic, the fielding erratic, and the pitching was just fine unless the hitters actually got something going, then it imploded. It wasn't just Murphy's Law, it was Finnegan's Corollary* out there.

And then, hey, whadda ya know, something or somebody reminded our boys that spring training was OVER. I imagine they looked at each other, dropped their eyes to their feet, blushed a little, chuckled like people do when they've just said something really embarrassing into the sudden silence after the music stops, and went out there to start playing like it mattered.

After a while, it did matter. They climbed out of the division cellar, had a poke around the living room, trotted upstairs and rifled through the drawers a little, pulled down the ladder to rummage through the attic, and before we'd had a chance to absorb the fact that they were a shoo-in for the wild card, they'd snuck out the back door with the division title and Ozzie Guillen's dreams clanking against each other in a pillowcase.

Now, this situation we find ourselves in after two ALDS games is not good. It is, as a college friend of mine used to say, double-plus-ungood. I'm not going to feed you a line of crap about how it doesn't matter, they were just working the bugs out, they'll come back no problem.

It matters. There are problems. The biggest one being that the team we saw Tuesday and Wednesday was not the same team that went medieval on the AL's ass for the last four months. Same names, same numbers, different team. I can't explain it. I could theorize, but believe me, you do not want to hear it. My most plausible explanation to date involves cloning, moon phases, and mushrooms of questionable origin. This is how baffled I am.

The thing is, these guys have been counted out before. Remember what happened? Lightning can strike twice. Ask that forest ranger who's on every Discovery Channel show about lightning ever made--he's been hit like five times. This team can climb out of the deep, dark pit of despair they not only dug for themselves but voluntarily jumped into.

And if they don't? Remember the season. They did the impossible. It was stunning, amazing, unbelievable, magical. Nothing that comes after it should be allowed to take that away from us, or to tarnish it in any way. We're all greedy, we all want more, want a win, another series, another trophy. Of course we do. But what we have already been privileged to witness is more than we ever dreamed we'd have, on June 7th.

I'm proud of my Twins. And that's enough. If it has to be.

*Murphy's Law: Anything that can go wrong, will.
Finnegan's Corollary: Murphy was an optimist.

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