The Twins sweep a series from lowly Detroit prior to the All-Star break, and hope once again springs eternal for many. Then, reality returns, and the Twins are swept by Detroit after the break, and discussion once again returns to “trades versus signings.” By the way, I watched the Detroit feed this weekend, and their announcers (and by extension their fans) seemed much more hopeful for the future of their nucleus than do Twins fans at the moment. I don’t say that to depress all who may read this….just to…well…suggest that perhaps our nucleus means more to us than to outside observers.
This would suggest that as we pry emotional attachment to “our players” from our cold, dead, numbed by all this bad baseball minds and eyes….that the notion of who has to go, and at what price should we retain those who must stay, becomes our best hope of keeping baseball alive a few more weeks.
I’m all in for such talk. This season is over in terms of competing for either the Division title or for the wildcard, and acceptance of that reality doesn’t mean we aren’t fans, it means simply that it’s time to consider the many other aspects of fandom. Including, but not limited to, trade talks, re-signing talks, development of players talks, and just generally….talks about stuff that isn’t entirely related to a given day’s game.
After all, who are we kidding at this point? Go ahead sweep the White Sox…stave off mathematical elimination until mid-September rather than early September….whatever.
So….let’s go. People get animated (some, even angry) when a discussion of a potential trade of Berrios and/or Buxton comes to the fore. The mere mention drives some to believe those driving said discussions have simply “given up.” That a total “re-build” must necessarily follow, and woe is us for the next half a decade, minimum. They may be right.
Then again, others feel similarly aggrieved when a team like the Twins this year might view any player, ANY PLAYER, as untouchable. As in… “what….you think this team could take a STEP BACK?” Wouldn’t a step back, result in totally falling over the cliff? I can almost hear Wily Coyote screaming as he is falling, and then the puff of dust, and the flattened Wily, with the body markings and all of it. If Buxton or Berrios goes, half of Twins nation becomes Wily, body markings and all. And yet, Wily always returns to fight another day. Don’t give up….even if either or both goes, the Twins will rise again.
Although, come to think of it, Wily’s success rate is no better than the Twins 21st century playoff success rate…so perhaps using Wily as a symbol of “we will rise again”….isn’t as hopeful as I originally intended. At any rate, don’t despair Twins fans, I, for one, am confident that the front office will TRY to improve this team for the long-term and even if they do trade one of the big two (whose names I shall no longer mention in the context of a potential trade), it’s not because deep down they want to hurt us. Trying to hurt us, is reserved for the Vikings, their kickers, their quarterbacks, and their basic karma.
Other discussions of potential trades don’t tend to engender such passion. Trade Simmons? Yawn…of course, why the wait? Trade Cruz? We love him, but come on….for his own good, and for our future, why the wait? Trade any pitcher not named Berrios? Well…would we have to add something to the trade just to get another team to take them?
And thus, and so. Some trade talks make people crazy. Some trade talks make people sane. It’s really the beauty of baseball, even for teams going nowhere fast during a given season. Like Vikings fans who tend to think of draft placement every other December, Twins fans tend to think of “the future” many years around now. It’s like the return of the swallows to Capistrano, or the return of baseball every spring, it’s….eternal. A team is either competing until the end, or thinking about next year. It’s one or the other, and we all know where we stand this year.
At least, the Twins have a future. It could be worse. Fire Rocco? Good God, no, don’t fire Rocco, none of this is his fault. Fire the hitting coach! No! Fire the pitching coach! No! Change the front office! Fire Levine and Falvey (they always seem to be together in all sentences…it’s almost inconceivable to think of firing one without the other). NO…..don’t fire them, it’s one bad year!
In essence, anything is possible, and even if nothing seems possible ON the field, everything is open for debate off the field, and that keeps our interest even as our favorite team seems increasingly unwatchable, uninterested, and many of whom individually seem waiting for their own cellphone to ring (sometimes while they should be fielding a ball).
This may be the week in which all the speculation starts to merge (or diverge) from reality. Berrios and/or Buxton will be traded or re-signed or the decision will be put off until the off-season (and that in itself will require much teeth gnashing). Simmons, Cruz, Donaldson, and every pitcher other than Berrios will be the subject of trade talks and rampant trade speculation, and some of the speculation may even be proven true.