(Ed. Note: This is more of a personal essay than a Twins post, and so I'll post the whole thing under the cut. Those who would like may join me; the rest of you, feel free to skip over this. Head over to the FanPosts instead. Those are usually pretty good.)
It's September this Wednesday. Maybe you have kids going back to school and you already knew this, but I feel like it's surprised me this year, partially because it's been so blasted hot lately and it's hard to get into an autumn mood when it's 93 degrees. September means football, for one thing, but it also means pennant race time. We Twins fans are getting used to the every-day feeling of September sweaty palms, having been in two consecutive down-to-the-wire races. We're now heading for the third, this year, though there's still some hope the Twins can run away with it.
With that in mind, I have a confession to make: Game 163 of last year was not particularly exciting for me.
It should have been, of course. It is one of the great games in Twins history, possibly in the top five in franchise annals, and I watched the whole thing live. I should have been ecstatic. Instead, I was just... relieved.
Though I don't think I'm alone in this, I don't know for sure. I suspect that not everyone internalizes these events to the same degree as me; most normal people could watch Game 163 as an exciting baseball game, instead of a life-changing event. But I get so involved in these games, so absurdly involved, that I start believing that they actually matter to the content of my life, and that's when I stop being excited and start getting crazy. Game 163 felt like a gun held to my head for four hours. I nearly left in the tenth because I couldn't take it anymore; no man should depend on Bobby Keppel's pitching for his happiness. When Carlos Gomez flew across the plate (pictured), my first thought was "Whew."
Isn't that crazy? I should have been jumping up and down, but I just felt drained.
Cast your mind back to last Friday's game in Seattle. Denard Span singled to lead off the game, then Orlando Hudson drove a ball into the left-field gap. Not all the way to the wall, but enough for a double. You may remember that third-base coach Scott Ullger sent Span to the plate, where he was out by ten feet. Most people were mad. Most people can't figure out Ullger. But not everybody went apoplectic like I did, shouting horrible Ullger-centric epithets at my television.
Looking back: it was the first inning of a game against Seattle, for heaven's sake. The Twins scored that inning and won anyway, and the Mariners were bad enough that I gently mocked them for lack of talent in the game recap. But I went crazy. That just makes no sense.
So here's my September resolution this year: I'm going to simmer down. I'm going to enjoy this for what it is. The Twins have a four-and-a-half game lead with 31 games to play. This is a pennant race. This should be exciting. This is not a referendum on me personally, nor do I need to curse out Scott Ullger via tele-link for his curious decisions. Delmon Young's lack of defensive talent should not affect my happiness. I'm going to try to enjoy this race, this year; hopefully we're in for another big September, followed by playoff baseball, and I'm going to do my best to actually enjoy it for once.