Friday, July 20, 2007

Win or lose

It was good to see the Twins win last night. Again, the bats came alive and that made all the difference. And geez, how does Kansas City beat Detroit in Detroit? Kansas loves to be the spoilers and more power to them, but I hope they're not so hot when they come to town at the end of the month.

In reading many of the other blogs, it seems the sweep by Detroit has many a fan writing off the Twins for the season. I won't say that it wasn't like a self-inflicted shot in the foot. It hurt. But all hope is not lost. The season isn't over by a long shot.

And till the end, even if the Twins are mathematically out of the playoff picture, I'll be watching the games rooting the team on. I'll be watching the game for the pure joy of it. November and the end of the baseball season comes soon enough. Until then I'll be lovin' every minute of it, win or lose.

For me the joy of basball cannot be found in nitpicking how poorly the game was played, who screwed up or who should be traded. Yes, I will on occasion bemoan lack of hit support and a pitcher's lack of prowess on the mound. I will definitely bitch and moan about the Twins' management not keeping or acquiring talent that would help the team win (Pohlad, open up your wallet. We all know you've got the money. This team is your legacy). But I do not find joy in focusing all of my attention on the win/loss column.

Baseball is woven into the fabric of my life. Sometimes the baseball season becomes a marker for what was happening in my life. In '87, the Twins' post-season ride to the World Series title carried me through a pretty dark period in my life (the initial weeks of my separation from my first was ugly). What I choose to remember from that time, is the joy and hysteria that was felt in this town as the Twins kept winning. I played hooky from work and went to that incredible ticker tape parade. I still get goosebumps when I remember it.

I remember attending one of the closing series against the Brewers a few years back ('05 I believe). The Twins were already "out of it" but I attended the game knowing that my opportunity to enjoy a ballgame would soon be gone until the next spring. I sat behind 2 dads with their young sons--Brewer fans. Normally I hate having opposing fans sitting next to me (at least vocal ones). But this was different. It was a joy to watch these dads enjoying the game with their young sons--obviously on a roadtrip to take in this game. The Brewers led most of the game, but in the late innings the Twins mounted a rally (initiated by Shannon Stewart) and won in the bottom of the 9th. That day those boys learned that the game is never over till the last out. And I was reminded that a comeback win is exciting whether you're going to the playoffs or not.

In one of those last games that season, I was also present to witness Morneau's first career grandslam. That is a goosebump memory as well.

And of course, my ultimate goosebump baseball memory--being proposed to on the Jumbotron on September 8, 2006 (that story is coming). Matt Garza was the starting pitcher, but not doing so hot (we were losing). Around the time of the proposal, Garza was pulled and Neshek came in. The bats came alive and we won (Neshek getting the win). I think it would have been a sweet game whether we won or lost, but the victory made it sweeter.

So there it is--I'm in it for the long haul. Yes, I will be grouchy when we lose games. And my mood will take a lift when we're winning. But I plan on watching game #162, playoff bound or not. And when that game is over, I'll be counting the days until the Twins take the field again.

(For an excellent blog on "watching the game when the going gets rough, check out Thursday's entry at A Fan's View from Section 220-- )

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