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Renegade Chef: Waiting for the red wings

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I am the quintessential Twins fan. I have evolved appropriately, slowly, like a deep-sea diver who has been rising to the surface since 1961, decompressing a little at a time so my head doesn’t explode.

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I am resilient. Scar tissue, formed from enduring thousands of losses, covers me like protective platelets. I have become immune to mediocrity, impervious to putrid and un-phased by three consecutive seasons of sucking.

But I am not a pessimist. Of course, I’m no optimist, either.

I’m not one of those people whose lives are eternally ruined (Cubs fans, for example) by dwelling on the deficiencies and disappointments of their “favorite” teams. I know people who love the Twins for the simple pleasure of hating them.

No, I’m not like those people. But I’m not as foolish and naïve as I used to be, long ago when I was a kid, anxious and giddy every spring when baseball returned and the next Mantle, the next Koufax arrived on the scene to save my team from last place.

Long gone are the days when I quickly inducted rookies, like Brent Alyea, Eric Soderholm, Bobby Darwin and Eddie Bane into the Hall of Fame. Back in the day when hope sprang eternal, I thought Harmon Killebrew, Rod Carew and Tony Oliva could conquer the world. But they never did.

Many years have passed. Koufax blew his arm out long ago. Mantle and Killebrew are dead. Hank Aaron and Willie Mays are old men, watching the game change, their records broken, shattered by androids like Barry Bonds and Alex Rodriguez.

I still follow the Twins — but I’m no longer obsessed. Maybe it’s because of steroids, tainted statistics and a modern game that seems to mock the very soul of baseball. Or maybe it’s because I’ve grown older and wiser and finally realize that baseball is just a game.

Whatever the reason, I don’t see myself in the future, lingering on my death bed, plugged into ventilators and postponing my last breath as I wait for Pedro Florimon to break DiMaggio’s hitting-streak record. That ain’t gonna happen — in more ways than one.

So, what does one do around here for excitement? Well, it’s sort of fun waiting for the Red Wings to arrive from New York — at least that’s what my even-keeled, cautiously optimistic side says. My evil twin, the guy who comes up with the stupid recipes — the pessimist — thinks we’d all be better off if the Twins dumped the entire pitching staff, got rid of Joe Mauer and Josh Willingham, and then moved the team to Rochester.

Don’t worry, fans, I’ll keep him under control. Now finish your dinner and have some dessert.

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