Can’t anybody here play this game?

Thursday, May 8, 2012–Twins 2, Blue Jays 6

The very nice lady at the post office had a theory: The Twins were playing back to lull their division rivals into a false sense of security, and when July comes around, “that’s when we charge.” When I expressed doubt about these sentiments, her reply was, “well, we can hope, right?” If she is right, July can’t come soon enough for the Twins. As I write, they are 8-23, and if the display I saw in Minneapolis is typical, I’m not sure how they’ve even won eight.

I sat next to a very friendly guy who was telling me about the Twins latest roster moves and the fuss that was being made about how the team was considering moving the fences in  because there weren’t enough home runs being hit, and then added “but the opposing teams don’t seem to be having that problem.” I explained that the only player for either team I knew really well was former Isotope Josh Willingham, I told him about the time Hammer hit one over the scoreboard at Isotopes park, and he was suitably impressed. He told me about the giant neon Twins sign in center field—twin baseball players representing Minneapolis and St. Paul hold hands across the river “When we hit a home run, the sign lights up and the twins shake hands,” I think he told me this doubting that I’d actually witness this spectacle.

This was just ugly baseball. In the third inning alone, Yunel Escobar scored from second as Twins second baseman Alexi Casilla fell asleep trying to turn a double play and Bret Lawrie went first to third on a passed ball that Ryan Doumit couldn’t find. And it wasn’t over yet. Edwin Encarnacion is credited with an RBI single in the fourth. It was actually a fly ball that went half a mile in the air before landing—completely untouched—three feet in front of the plate. Even the baserunning was ugly, Eric Komatsu reached on an infield hit, took second on a throwing error and then got caught in no-man’s land trying to get to third.

How bad was this game? Even the umpires were falling asleep. At one point, they had to have a conference to confirm that Jose Bautista had indeed been hit by a pitch. At another, first base ump Tim Tschida was so unimpressed that he simply shook his head rather than making a signal on an appeal play. The only saving grace for the home team was in the sixth, when Josh Willingham hit a laser beam into the leftfield porch. I got to see the twins shake hands. “Your boy!” my neighbor exclaimed, clapping me on the shoulder.

At the top of the eighth, in the part of the game where most Major League teams ask fans to sing along to Sweet Caroline, the Twins have chosen a song that might be meant for the lady at the post office: Don’t Stop Believing.

Here’s the scorecard.

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