Just can’t bring myself to think that way

Posted on July 29th, 2007 – 9:11 PM
By Howard

Watching bits and pieces of Sunday’s game, I was thinking that it could serve the Twins well to lose 1-0 to Cleveland — another excellent performance by Garza, yet another shutout, another chance to pick up ground goes away on the ever-shortening schedule and a(nother) game filled with bad at-bats (albeit against a good pitcher). What better reinforcement to the argument that ’07 is a hopeless mess?

But I simply can’t do the baseball equivalent of rooting for your favorite NFL or NBA team to lose to enhance their chance at a better draft pick.

So it was more than a yuk when Jason Tyner, d/b/a Saturday night as B.B. (Barry Babe) Henry, hit the first home run of his major-league career. It bothered me that the Twins needed to win a Santana v. Westbrook (1-6) matchup by scoring the winning run on an infield grounder-with-a high throw home. And it bothered me Sunday to watch Punto and Mauer strike out with Jason Bartlett on third and nobody out. That’s when I entertained the fleeting serve ‘em well moment.

Torii Hunter’s distracted at-bats during his 1-for-17 over the past five games didn’t help my head. Nor did Mauer’s 0-for-Cleveland

Then, bad-hand Redmond came off the bench to score Tyner on a game-tying double in the eighth (and made the first Sign of the Smell that I’ve seen in ’07). And I know that Mauer’s feeling pretty grateful that Josh Barfield made two errors on his easy grounder to second that would have ended the inning at 1 — and instead helped the Twins take a 3-1 lead before the side was out.

And then Lew Ford moved 31 ahead of Tyner on the career homer list with his amusing ninth-inning homer. The bullpen battled out a save and the Twins left Cleveland with two wins in three games, making that midweek journey to Toronto all the more disheartening.

After the Toronto series, I wrote that it looked like time for start reshaping the team for 2008 and beyond, and urged an aggressive patch of trading activity through Tuesday afternoon’s deadline. That’s still where my head is at.

During my long-ago years covering the Twins, I had to be coldly analytical about these things, a curmudgeon’s voice to counter the happy-talkers on the news and in some print circles that saw salvation in every move. At one point, a long-departed Twins’ front-office type demanded of WCCO that I no longer be allowed to appear after I suggested that it was a better weekend to go fishing and listen on the radio than to buy tickets for a lousy team.

Now, writing from a fan’s point of view, I can lead with my heart instead of my head and not apologize for it. During the All-Star break, I was on MPR saying that it was pretty delusional to be putting aside money for postseason tickets.

I also said at the time that I wouldn’t mind at all being totally wrong.

Still the case.

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