I’m just staying positive, but um... I’m pretty sure this is where we die. (Winston Bishop, New Girl)
Last week, I seemingly unjinxed the Twins by removing our garden flag. They looked like they were getting their mojo back after the Royals series, they really did.
This Rangers series? It’s back to the painful agony of watching our boys either forget how to hit a ball or blow it in the ninth. It makes me think of that episode of The Office during Jan’s deposition and they’re reading Michael’s performance review:
“I’m out of carrots. I’m out of sticks. Mr. Scott has time and again proven himself to be an unmanageable employee and a poor branch manager.”
Much of Twins Territory has run out of carrots and sticks when giving the Twins chances over and over and over - not just this season, but pretty much every year once the playoffs roll around. It doesn’t matter how good our team is, they have been letting us down consistently in some way or another, year after year after year. This suffering has not just come from the Twins, but by most of our major sports teams: Vikings, Timberwolves, the unnamed hockey team that I don’t want to jinx at this time. The only team that’s brought us championships over the last few years (and lots of them!) has been the Lynx. Because of this great suffering, we are quick to dismiss our teams when we are off to a start like this. We’ve put up walls around our cold, dead hearts because they keep being broken. And that’s what we’ve started doing so early in this young season now that the Twins are melting down.
And then I remembered my other favorite show, The Golden Girls, and an episode in which Rose becomes part of a cult-like positive thinking group, and then thought of how it has one of the best scenes ever:
But, like the great Sophia Petrillo, I digress.
My point? Perhaps we should start reframing our negative thoughts and try being positive! Let’s turn these frowns upside down and try to make lemonade out of the lemons the Twins keep handing out. And I’m gonna do it via the words of my favorite shows and movies. (Because like any good gen-Xer/elder millennial, I often speak in movie and TV quotes and gifs.)
Never let the bastards get you down! (Moira Rose, Schitt’s Creek)
Lemon #1: Our Bullpen Sucks in Late Innings
“That’s a bold strategy, Cotton. Let’s see if it pays off for him.” (Pepper Brooks, Dodgeball)
Yes, we know. This is probably one of the biggest hurdles the Twins have had to face this season. We’ve repeatedly beaten the dead horse that is Alex Colomé’s sucktitude. Or Randy Dobnak’s rough start. Or how we’ve even had to rely on Tortuga to toss an inning because omg the beatdown was rough.
Lemonade: Baldelli is working out the bullpen kinks early in the season so that he knows who to use when the pressure is on during the pennant race/playoffs.
Lemon #2: Miguel Sano is batting .125
Unleash.. the beast. (Captain Ray Holt, Brooklyn 99)
Sure, Sano is struggling this year. He had a ‘hamstring injury’ that sent him to the IL (I’m pretty sure that he was probably fine, and he was just sent down to get his juju back, but don’t quote me on these things.) But need I remind you how sucky he started out in 2019? According to Aaron Gleeman via The Athletic, in Sano’s first month of play in 2019 after spending 6 weeks on the IL, he hit an abysmal .195. His final slash in 2019 was .247/.346/.576 including 34 home runs and 79 RBI. Imagine what he could have done with 6 more weeks?
Lemonade: Sano is just getting started. In his return last night he went 1-3 with a walk. Also? We got to see Alex Kirilloff come in to take Sano’s place while Sano
got his head on straight worked through his hamstring injury.
Lemon #3: Alex Kirilloff and Arraez are now on the IL
Luis Arraez went out the other night on the concussion list and Kirilloff has a sprained wrist. Arraez is one of our most consistent hitters and has the second best on-base percentage (.398) on the team. Kirilloff was starting to get the hang of batting in the bigs after his debut jitters wore off. Surely the team is screwed, right?
Lemonade: Their absence is finally giving us the highly anticipated debut of Nick Gordon! The 25-year-old 2014 first round pick is finally getting a start at 2nd base on Thursday.
Oh my God it’s happening! EVERYBODY STAY CALM! (Michael Scott, The Office)
Lemon #4: Rocco Baldelli doesn’t seem to know what he’s doing this year
A lot of fans are starting to become frustrated with Baldelli’s approach to managing. What made him look like a genius and landed him as 2019 AL manager of the year - first season at the helm - is making him look weak now. He shakes up the lineup order. He puts relievers in that might not be the best match up. His seemingly coddling attitude toward the struggling players isn’t sitting well with fans who think that he’s not making good choices or isn’t tough enough to take control of the team and are already calling for his job.
Lemonade: Baldelli has some experience now and he knows what he’s doing. The team has had a run of bad luck (i.e. injuries, Covid), and he’s doing the best with what he’s got. The team is 100% vaccinated now (er.. or recently had the ‘rona because we all know
Simmons some players won’t be getting the shot), so Covid shouldn’t sideline any more guys, and he’ll have some more options for who he can put in. Let him do his thing, he’s got this.
I know from experience dude.. if you know what I mean. (The Bus Driver, Billy Madison)
Lemon #5: The offense is really struggling
Listen. The Bomba Squad of 2019 was a magical team. Lightning in a bottle. They set records left and right - most homers hit ever. Most guys ever on one team to hit over 30 bombs. They had a 101-61 record. And then in the condensed 2020 season, they won the AL Central all over again. It’d be completely unrealistic to think that just because most of those guys are still on the team that they’d enjoy the same level of badassery that they had back then. But let’s take a closer look, shall we?
Lemonade: First of all, I’m going to remind you that Buxton is currently leading the league in slugging (.805), tied for 2nd in the AL with 9 home runs, and 2nd for offensive WAR in the majors. Nelson Cruz following closely behind him, and Donaldson is slowly getting his OPS up. I’m not the numbers kinda gal, but let me throw some mad stats your way: In 2019 they were 4th in the majors in wins, the team’s batting was .270/.338/.494 and were ranked 2nd in BA/4th in OBP/2nd in SLG in the AL. In 2020, they were tied with the A’s for 3rd in the majors, their batting was .242/.315/.427, putting their rankings at 9th/10th/7th in BA/OBP/SLG. This year? .237/.307/.421 and they’re ranked 6/10/3. This actually means they’re hitting and getting on base around as much as they did last year and they’re getting extra bases pretty much just as often as well. That kind of offense won the division last year and there is still plenty of time to win it this year as well. It’s math!
Ok, well.. that’s encouraging. (Stevie Budd, Schitt’s Creek)
Lemon #6: Matt Shoemaker is off to a really, really poor start
I’ve made a huge mistake. (Gob Bluth, Arrested Development)
Again, I’m not the Twinkie Town resident statistician, so I’m not going to break down his year to year stats or his early numbers, etc. What I will say is Shoemaker, a late pickup as Spring Training was set to begin, has been quite a disappointment thus far. and it might not be too early to say he won’t be hitting those $250,000 worth of incentives built into his contract this season. He’s 1-3 so far with a 7.83 ERA - by far the worst of the active rotation.
Lemonade: His contract is relatively small compared to the rest of the team. At $2 million, the Twins can afford to cut their losses early if needed and let Dobnak or Thorpe suit up and fill that gap in the starting rotation.
Fresh meat! (Meredith Palmer, The Office)
Lemon #7: The Twins are 11-19 after just over a month of baseball*
Current standings put the Twins in 4th place in the AL Central. They’re five games out of first place, and in the Wild Card race.
Lemonade: The Twins still have 132 games left to play this season. Say they win just half of their remaining games (66, so let’s round up to 67), that would have them winning 77 games, and their win percentage would be at .475. You know what that winning percentage could be? Good enough to get into the stupid expanded post season based on the win percentages from last year’s AL playoff teams (remember the 29-31 Astros who, with their losing record knocked the Twins out of the postseason and made it to the ALCS?).
I believe in this team. (Johnny Rose, Schitt’s Creek)
Lemon #8: Buxton may have just injured himself
Charlie Horse! Charlie Horse! (The Aerobics Instructor and Rose Nylund, Golden Girls)
After the Twins blew a late inning lead on Thursday, Buxton limped away after trying to reach first base, and was replaced in the outfield by Cave in the 10th. Really hoping this is a cramp. Really reeeeeeeeeally hoping.
Lemonade: Um. I’m trying really hard to come up with a positive spin here. At least it wasn’t his surgically repaired shoulder? Or, at least it didn’t seem to be some sort of bone break or sprain. Yes. He still has both legs.
It’s just a flesh wound. (The black knight, Monty Python and the Holy Grail)
All I can do right now is put on a brave face. (Michael Scott, The Office)
<Incoherent Sobbing> (Troy Barnes, Community)
Lemon #9: They have yet to win in extra innings
The title of this lemon says it all: YET. Sure, they’ve crumbled in the late innings many times this season and lost EVERY extra inning game. However... The odds would dictate that they will eventually have to win in extras.. right?
Lemonade: My kids’ school is all about growth mindset. They emphasize the use of the word “YET” when there’s something difficult ahead of them that they haven’t been able to do. Now that they’ve lost so many heartbreakers in extras, they’re bound to win the rest.
You have no idea how high I can fly. (Michael Scott, The Office)
Lemon #10: Our livers can’t handle this disappointment
I love scotch... Scotchy scotch scotch... Here it goes down... Down into my belly... Mmm Mmm Mmm. (Ron Bergundy, Anchorman)
If a fan turns Twins errors/losses into a drinking game, we’d likely do too much damage to our livers. I do not recommend this. Might I suggest doing 10 push ups, 10 sit ups, and 10 squats every time the Twins mess something up? Exercise releases endorphins and can help take away the emotional pain.
Lemonade: You’ll be ripped in some form by the end of the season either way - either completely drunk or with a killer body ready for body building competitions.
Hey everyone! Come see how good I look! (Ron Bergundy, Anchorman)
The Twins, as they’re built right now, should be able to get this ship back on course. Covid is behind them. Shoemaker will likely be behind them soon. There’s still plenty of time to pick up a reliever to bolster the bullpen, or at least figure out where each of our guys should land in the rotation. The offensive lineup is actually really good, they’ve just had some setbacks. There’s a LOT of baseball left to play, and the team can still most certainly turn things around. Let’s all try to remain calm for a few more weeks, ok? OK? WE CAN DO THIS, FANS. We can wait this skid out. We’ve been here before.
The Lord is Testing Me. (Shirley Bennett, Community)
If I had a mic right now, I’d drop it. (Gina Linetti, Brooklyn 99)