I found myself watching National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation again the other night as I inevitably yet inexplicably do, each holiday season. I’m embarrassed to acknowledge that I still find parts of it incredibly amusing. I should be better than that, but clearly, I’m not. This brings me to my attitude about the offseason baseball speculation, as similarly, I should just be better than that, but clearly, I’m not.
Questioning one’s personal tastes is probably healthy every now and then. Naturally I shouldn’t be spending time watching Christmas Vacation, and the fact that I did should be clear and convincing evidence that not all of my time is time well spent. But we can still learn from our experiences even when they seem at first glance to be worthless time sucks. For example, I’ve been contemplating the ways in which cousin Eddie in Christmas Vacation shared similarities with our own favorite Eddie, Eddie Rosario.
I liked Eddie, but I didn’t love Eddie. His nonchalant ways and massive strike zone could wear on a person, though his occasional brilliance in big moments also left a lasting impression. Eddie was up and down, and his leaving sort of leaves us the same way, as we’ll undoubtedly miss the good, but our mental health can stand the elimination of the bad. It’s not as if he was exactly like cousin Eddie coming to visit in “Christmas Vacation” but nevertheless when he leaves, it will calm us all down a bit.
Cousin Eddie had moments in which his heart seemed too big for his judgment (kidnapping the boss), and Eddie Rosario had moments in which we also questioned his judgment. For every brilliant throw to third or home, there was an equally head-scratching throw to…somewhere, just not where a throw should have gone. Passion, heart, swing for the fences, even at pitches two feet out of the zone…that’s Eddie in a nutshell, it strikes me that it would’ve been cousin Eddie if he had played baseball.
I can’t see Eddie Rosario parking his beaten-up RV in the driveway or actually kidnapping the boss, but I can see him otherwise creating innocent mayhem along the way at the family Christmas. I am hopeful that at the end of his career, he’ll choose a somewhat less deranged route than Randy Quaid has chosen, but, who knows, fame can change a person. I think I join all Twins fans in wishing him well, as he was fun to have around, and he was more parts good than bad. That is not a bad Twins career epitaph. It’s not like we’re losing Delmon Young here, who, despite his name, aged us all in a variety of ways. Eddie, in contrast, kept us young, hopeful, filled with the anticipation of what a given at-bat might bring. As with Cousin Eddie in the movie, we never really knew what Eddie Rosario might do next.
Where will the payroll go? The combination of a rather frugal history and the realities of a Covid-19 world make us all believe (even if we don’t entirely accept) that the payroll will drop.
Money doesn’t grow on trees, though from what I understand, the Pohlad’s haven’t made their money in trees, they’ve made it in banks, and there’s still more money to be made there. Nevertheless, we expect the payroll to drop, after all, we pretty much live our Twins fan lives expecting payroll drops.
So, what will that mean for the Twins? Tis the season, after all, for rampant speculation. We’ve already begun with the almost certain departure of Eddie Rosario and the now certain departure of Trevor May. We moved on to the possible departure of Thad Levine to the Phillies. But, as it turns out, he’s sticking around. I’m glad Levine will stay, I regret that May is leaving, and I, like many of you, have very mixed feelings about the departure of Eddie.
If I had the money that it took to own a major league baseball team, it seems to me I’d do everything I could to try to enhance that enjoyment even more by getting to the top of the league. But, what do I know? Money doesn’t buy happiness, and I know many believe it also doesn’t buy championships, even if it surely buys competitiveness.
In any event, it’s impossible to imagine where unfounded and rampant speculation may lead. I’m not against the concept of rampant speculation, I’ve even been known to engage in it myself in the workplace, but in truth, it’s not all that productive. As we spend the next few weeks engaging in wishful speculation about players we want, but probably won’t ultimately get, perhaps we should just reflect on what we’ve learned in “Christmas Vacation.” That our Twins “family” has some unusual qualities, that our holidays won’t always go as planned, and that, at the end of the day,…Eddie had to go. We will love him from afar, perhaps even more than we loved him when he was with us, but…he had to go.
Next year, hopefully we can enjoy the holidays with travel and the many things we will be missing this year, and next year, perhaps, we can reflect on a playoff win or two or even several. But for now, ‘tis the weeks before Christmas, and all through the internet, visions of championships dance in our heads while we speculate about who will be wearing Twins uniforms next summer. Like the rest of you, visions of plum free agents will dance in my head, but I don’t expect them to materialize, I expect more practical gifts.
I guess we all need socks and underwear, even if they aren’t the gifts of dreams. I suspect the Twins will be their practical selves, and they’ll provide what we need, even if it’s not always what we really want. While we’ll be wishing for flashy things, we’ll be grateful for the socks and underwear we ultimately receive.
Being a Twins fan means being grateful for the little things, and the practicality that comes from accepting that while grandma may not shop at the flashiest stores, she loves us still and wants us to be comfortable. Falvey and Levine probably won’t be shopping in the high priced aisles for free agents, but in the end, they’ll get us what we need to compete, and there’s something to be said for that.