(NOTE: Sunday, I appeared on the Twins postgame show yet again, doing the quick one-minute "GameDay Chatter" segment. Below, the text of my appearance.)
It has been a loud few weeks for the Twins, thanks to the pitching staff's implosion and the team's subsequent scramble to plug those holes. We fans have fretted and agonized over the team's August swoon, then looked on happily as a small winning streak has landed the team back, improbably, in contention.
While all of this was happening, though, it was too easy to forget a rather nice moment from last month.
In late July, Mark Buehrle of Chicago threw a perfect game against Tampa Bay. Nobody’s ever done that two games in a row, but in his next start, for more than five innings he held Twins batters spellbound. Finally, with two out in the sixth inning, Alexi Casilla drew a walk and Denard Span got a hit, breaking up a league-record string of batters retired. This was the hated White Sox, who were beating the home team at the time, but even so, the Twins crowd stood to applaud. They did again when it was announced that Buehrle had broken the baseball record for consecutive hitters retired, then again when the Sox lefty – by this time trailing – left the game. I admit, I never thought I’d see a Chicago pitcher tipping his cap to a Minnesota crowd in acknowledgement of an ovation.
It was a small moment, but I’d like to think one that will be remembered by the pitcher and by the fans. For just a short time, all partisan rancor was set aside, as the Twins crowd roared in appreciation of the White Sox hurler, who’d come closer than anyone to doing something nobody’s ever seen before. We could all stop being Twins fans for a minute, and take a chance to just be baseball fans, to sit and watch the national pastime without thinking about pitching disasters or the games-back column in the standings.
I’d like to remember that moment. In this age of blanket media coverage and the presence of critical voices from all sides, those kinds of moments are all too rare.