Before the Vikings played their first game, I thought about writing about the onset of the NFL season and how that seems to get so much media attention that it almost drains the life out of the baseball season for a bit. But before I could formulate a story line for that project, the Vikings played their opener, and again temporarily drained the life out of Minnesota fans everywhere.
In their defense, the Vikings simply did what the Vikings traditionally do, break hearts, make people question their loyalties, and generally make all of us wonder why finding good offensive linemen seems even harder than begging Eddie Rosario to listen to the third base coach. The Twins meanwhile were finishing off a sweep of the somewhat hated (though not as much as the White Sox) Cleveland baseball club. (Although in fairness, I don’t claim to speak for everyone in viewing the White Sox with more distaste than the Indians, as Sergio Romo, for example, really, really seems to hate those guys in Cleveland).
But speaking of emotions, as has happened historically in Minnesota, the Twins give us hope, and the Vikings take that hope away. It’s the way things are, like fall following summer, or like winter lasting far, far too long.
One of the many interesting storylines about this MLB season, were the many comparisons to the NFL in terms of how much more meaningful every game would be in a shortened 60 game MLB season. We’d live or die with every win or loss of the Twins, we were told, even more than usual, kind of like Vikings fans do, knowing that each game has such significant impact, one way or the other, toward a playoff push.
But, now that we’re nearing the end of the 60-game regular season, it hasn’t seemed that way to me. Baseball remains the marathon, rather than the sprint….maybe this year a half-marathon or even a 10K, but certainly nothing like a sprint. Each loss was frustrating, but because there was another game the following day, it never seemed like the hand-wringing and gnashing of teeth that accompanies a Vikings loss was necessary for a given Twins loss.
I’m not suggesting that the 6-game losing streak didn’t provide some heartburn, but it never seemed as though there wouldn’t be time to recover, it was once again, proof that in the untimed sport of baseball, there’s always time to come back (despite the grief that Fernando Tatis, Jr. endured for apparently believing such a thing).
Even in this irregular season, baseball remains the constant and timeless classic game it has always been. Football perhaps engenders more passion, as well as more drunken face-painted and costumed fans in the stands, but baseball remains the sport of the patient. Even in a rushed season, there’s time for reflection and no need to panic.
After one game, the Vikings have their fans in full panic mode. But with the Twins, there’s simply no need for panic, never was, except perhaps when Eddie is tracking a flyball or flying through the third base coach’s stop sign. Slow and steady wins the race, as symbolized by our love of La Tortuga. It’s not over ‘til it’s over, and the Twins seem to be peaking (despite the many injuries) at about the right time. As for the Vikings…well…there’s always next year.