Updated Sept. 22
Last week, I felt quite secure in proclaiming that every division race has been settled, that the next meaningful and/or interesting game would take place two weeks from now and that for September drama we'd have to turn our weary eyes to House. Ah, but I neglected to take into account the grit-laden plucksters that are the Minnesota Twins.
Despite their record of consistent borderline okayness over the last decade, media-type people like myself have been quick to dismiss the Twins, mostly because we go to bed at 10:15 and thus miss the Punto-riffic denouements to their AL Central battles. But maybe, just maybe, I was missing something. After all, here they are on September 22, within 2½ games of a playoff spot despite a patchwork rotation and a slugger on the shelf.
So I decided to put on my research cap and do some digging. Who are these polite children of the Midwest? What purpose do they serve?
I'd been led to believe that the Twins are such an impoverished franchise that they play their games on an unlit expanse of cracked asphalt. And you want to talk about small markets? The Minneapolis/St. Paul market is so small that it doesn't even have a market, or so I read.
Turns out I had it all wrong. First of all, they're a baseball team, not a Big Brothers/Big Sisters adjunct. Did you know that 3.5 million people call the Minneapolis/St. Paul metropolitan hub home? And did you know that the Twins have won not one but TWO modern-era World Series titles? That makes them every bit the witty, urbane franchise that the Red Sox are! They've even got a franchise-caliber talent in Joe Mauer who just might deserve the MVP over Derek Jeter, who's arguably the third-most indispensable player on a 90-win team with a $465 million payroll.
In conclusion, I'm glad I took the time to learn a little something about the Minnesota Twins, who are like Rocky, Rudy and that American Idol kid who looks like a turtle rolled into one terribly humble underdog package. Thank you, new franchise friend, for instilling these last days of the 2009 season with something akin to meaning and drama.