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Don’t Bet on It (Except Against the Yankees)

Minnesota Twins v Toronto Blue Jays Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

After Friday night’s win over the Blue Jays, James wrote an essay about how the Twins defied the oddsmakers that night. They truly did, I know, as I am reluctant to admit that I put a $2 bet on the Blue Jays. It’s not that I’m a genuine degenerate gambler, but now and then a sure thing is a sure thing. Free money is free money. My gambling career has usually gone that way, as most of my “locks” and “sure things” turn out be described as “wow…didn’t see that happening!”

But enough about me. This isn’t (necessarily anyway) a cautionary tale about the evils and almost certain losses involved in the world of sports gambling. You all know what a terrible idea it is, and how much enjoyment many of us derive from throwing our money out the window, despite experiences over and over again that should inform us that we’re not all that proficient in the art of sports gambling.

Yet, we persist. Which brings me to the Twins. I will admit that after the Twins lost four of five against the lowly Tigers, I found myself reading Patrick Reusse’s comments suggesting that they may never win again, and nodding my head in agreement. I hoped against hope (and reason it seemed) that as they headed to Toronto shorthanded on a losing streak, against a hot Blue Jays team, that winning one of three might be a true best-case scenario.

Then, as if to simply affirm and reaffirm that my ability to predict the future as it pertains to sports, is not good, the Twins win two of three. Fine, my ability to predict the Twins future is in fact, pathetic. I was almost certain the Twins would lose two of three at Toronto, if not all three. Before you think my pessimism is all that defines me, I was equally certain that the Twins would win at least three of the five against the Tigers. This is less a defense, than it is simply a confirmation of my inability to predict a Twins game.

For those of you old enough to remember the TV show Seinfeld, you’ll remember the brilliant character of George Costanza. You will remember that George’s life simply seemed to be one unfortunate event after another, a true series of unfortunate events. Disasters led to one remarkable embarrassment after another. In one episode, he determined that since his decision-making was so spectacularly bad, he would begin to make decisions against his nature. He would do the opposite of what he thought would work in all matters, and sure enough, it worked, at least for a while.

While Seinfeld was not a documentary, I believe many of us could learn from it. After all, who would’ve thought the Twins would win two out of three at Toronto after what we saw at Detroit? Truly. Be honest. Had we bet on the Twins (the underdog in all games, not even Las Vegas saw this past weekend coming), we’d have made money. Instead, most of us probably took the the “lock” that was the Blue Jays, and as is so often the case, we continue to wonder why we ever bother with the insanity that is sports betting.

Obviously, I’m not here to preach to you degenerate gamblers out there. As long as it’s all good clean fun, you should be welcome to throw away your money betting either on or against our beloved Twins. It’s your life, and you can waste your money in any variety of ways and I shall not judge you. I merely suggest that when it comes to gambling, we maybe should pick a different sport, or at least a different team. There’s no way of knowing what these Twins will do.

This lack of certainty is mostly good from my own entertainment perspective. Not knowing is far better than in many past years when we pretty much knew, and we pretty much knew it wasn’t going to end well. Now, it’s a mystery. So far this season, it’s been a mostly pleasant mystery.

Perhaps the insanity that is our political world in which many strive for moderation, while lamenting the extremes that tend to carry the news cycles, parallels how we should approach our Twins. While some can be on the extreme side of beloved uncritical loyalty suggesting the World Series is almost certainly in the cards for us this year, and others can predict the free-fall resulting in another Minnesota sports humiliation, I will be a centrist. I assume they will surprise us both in good ways and in bad. They will beat the Blue Jays in Toronto, they already split with the Red Sox in Boston. Maybe they’ll excel in Tampa Bay. Then again, they are perfectly capable of losing to Kansas City, Detroit, and who knows, maybe even to the Angels (assuming they ever win again). I will just ride it out in the middle, and I will no longer be betting on or against the Twins. I’ve learned my lesson.

(P.S. except against the Yankees. I mean, let’s not get crazy about this. Some things, like death, taxes, and losing tragically to the Yankees are an absolute lock).