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The Bleacher Bums: August 22, 2007 Archive

There for the taking

Posted at 10:19 AM on August 22, 2007 by Chris Dall

It's seems amazing that somehow that the Twins, despite their uneven play and aggravating lack of offense, could be one hot streak away from getting back into the divisional race. But here they are, 6.5 games behind division leader Cleveland and 6 behind the Tigers, two teams that are doing everything they can to let Minnesota back in the race.

So what's going on? Well, both teams seem to have hit rough patches at the same time.

Cleveland is 16-20 since the All-Star break, partly because their team batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage have all dipped. Indians' fans feelings about the offense might best be summed up by this fellow. Meanwhile, Detroit, at 16-23, has been even worse since the break. Their team ERA is up by over a run post-break, and their team batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging are also down. A good summation of their problems can be found at this blog.

So if Cleveland and Detroit keep up this pace, maybe the Twins can sneek back in the race. It would help if they score some runs.

Where's my 1987 World Series ring?

Posted at 4:34 PM on August 22, 2007 by Steve Rudolph

Baseball players are arguably the most superstitious of all athletes. Some wear lucky t-shirts they wear under their jersey, others break bats in the same way before game use, and many have quirky rituals that they go through before each at bat.

But the players aren’t the only ones who think routines and superstitions can affect the outcome of the game. Their fans believe it too. I know, because I was partially responsible for the Twins winning the World Series in 1987. Frank Viola confirmed it last weekend.

I’m not sure how our superstitious behavior started that season. I guess it stemmed from my friend Joe and I being surprised by the team’s success during the season and reasoning that whatever we were doing at the game had to be contributing.

So we did and said the same things at every game, and we must have attended 20-30 that season. Be it parking in the same ramp for every game, ordering the same items from the same concession stand (a Bagel Cheddarwurst and a Coke in the souvenir cup was my Dome fare), or making our dash to the restroom during the same visitor at bat; our routine never deviated.

We even had a variety of cheers that we used in key stretches. And, I’m embarrassed to admit, we would regularly put a hex on the opposition’s best player from our outfield perch. We did quite a number on Darrell Evans holding him without an extra base hit or RBI in the ALCS, at least that’s what we tell ourselves.

Also, if you study the crowd photos from any playoff game in 1987 and find the one guy that wasn’t waving his Homer Hanky, that was Joe. He brought his to every game, but it was never allowed to leave his back pocket.

Looking back at these and some of our other superstitions, I feel pretty silly. But can anyone say, with absolute certainty, that the Twins would have brought the state its first championship without our quirky antics? I don’t think so. So now I’m feeling a little snubbed that we weren’t invited to ride in the parade last Saturday before the game.

Is it time for the "Latino Bambino"??

Posted at 10:09 PM on August 22, 2007 by David Zingler

Despite their 8-run outburst today, we all know the Twins are a terrible offensive team. We also know that Terry Ryan isn’t likely to make a trade to help matters. But, just when it appears we are stuck hoping the Brian Buschers and Tommy Watkins’s of the world will provide a spark (don’t hold your breath), I am here to offer another solution; one that doesn’t require a single roster move.

He’s hitting .286/.375/.714 with an OPS of 1.089, and, despite being 100% healthy, he hasn’t stepped into the batter’s box in two months. Who is this mystery man? None other than our two-time Cy Young award winner and often proclaimed “greatest pitcher on the planet”, Johan Santana.

It may seem ridiculous to insert Santana into the line-up as a designated hitter, but keep in mind that Rondell White and his.138 batting average remain a viable option. And, let’s face the facts – these are desperate times that call for unorthodox measures. While many people like to say our squad is “only 6 games out,” it’s time for a reality check – there are just 36 games left in the 2007 season. Six games is a HUGE margin, especially for a team playing like the Twins.

Why not give Santana an AB or two, how much worse could he do than Nick Punto? Besides, I can think of another left-handed ace whose bat helped his team win a pennant – I believe the year was 1918. Just don’t trade him to the Yankees.

August 2007
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