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Wednesday
Jul 09th

Twins: Solid as a rock


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denardspanIn jazz, they refer to a good tune or jam session as having “that thang” or “that swing”. I make it a point to watch sports teams and athletes for a winning demeanor. Demeanor can tell you a whole lot about who is going to win or lose a sports competition. I would imagine that a jazz musician would agree that when the music has that certain winning demeanor, then it has “that thang.” I suppose that as it applies to baseball, then it should be said that the Twins have “that swing.”

For years we’ve seen the big budget Bronx Bombers from the Big Apple, the Yankees, strut around with chemically enhanced chests, and indisputable folklore, seemingly winning games with their mere presence. When the Twins played the Yankees in recent playoff series, some sort of metaphor comparing the Twins to the little dog jumping over the big dog’s back saying, “Hey Butch!?!” over and over comes to mind. But seeing as the Twins do have championship hardware in their history, one has to imagine that somehow, someway, the Twins would be able to concoct a little upper Mississippi River magic on this side of Y2K.

Well the Twins have been drinking milk see, and they brought on a couple tough guys to add some whiskers to their enhanced demeanor. As it goes by guy talk, the Twins seem to finally have gotten back their “man weight” or “grown man’s strength”.

During the division clinching game (or so it ended up) against the Cleveland Indians, Denard Span coolly came to the plate and stroked a game-tying single in the 8th inning of a quick, exciting comeback. When finally driven home for the game-winning score, Span had a special demeanor in his bounce. Span went from his usual steady cool demeanor, to having his chest especially flexed out like the big dogs of sports tend to do: it wasn’t overconfidence, it wasn’t showing off, it was just assurance.

That game in itself showed the team’s assurance, or strong, steady confidence. The late inning comeback seemed directly out of a New York Yankees game script. They were there, they were close, and thus somehow, they should win. With over 90 wins for the season, it can definitely be said that, that is just what the Twins do: win. The overwhelming distance between the Twins and their next division partner is even more significant when contrasted versus the nail-biting finishes to many of the other division championships for the Twins over the past decade.

The aforementioned “whiskers” and “tough guys” referred to free agent additions Jim Thome and Orlando Hudson. Something about their general demeanor, to me, didn’t seem to fit the Twins brand in the beginning, but it just so happens that they are just what the team needed. If you took that Twins team off of the field, and put them into some surly bar in the backwoods, Thome and Hudson are just what the team would need to get out safely. I’m sure Joe Mauer is tough as nails, but, ...eehh, you know… we’ll just say the girls don’t want to see him in front of the bar room brawl. “Nooo! Send Thome or Hudson,” is what I could here the ladies saying.

The whole of the baseball world seems to have a respectful acknowledgement of the Twins brand of baseball. Twins fans should be proud to say that they can count on their team like they can count on Joe Mauer’s swing (just hope his knee is alright). That steady, grassroots approach gives the Twins the ability to always stay in the division mix because of their consistent talent. But no matter the major professional team sport, you want to bring some fellas with stiff whiskers to the last few dances. Whiskers don’t care that New York City looks like Gotham City, or that some of the Yankees players look like Sasquatch.

For once, the Yankees aren’t coasting into the playoffs on their high horse. Simultaneously, the Twins demeanor has gone from “lemme at ‘em” like the scrappy little puppy, to a more confident, “Say when,” like the gunslinger. There are uncertainties with injuries for the Twins, but the usual collision course with the Yankees seems inevitable. A wise man once said, “No problem can be overcome until it is faced.”

Somehow I feel an uptick in polar fleece sales coming to save the local economy.


 

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