The Last Windrow: Twins season forecast falls flat
OK, OK, my Minnesota Twins forecast for this year is in the pits. I've heard about all the chiding I can stand.
I'm a kind of person who admits it when he sees himself as wrong; and folks, I was wrong to make my dire prediction for the Twins season in April. So, kick me while I'm down!
This has been a year of ups and downs for the Twins. You have to give me that. They started out like a house afire, dimmed to slightly above ashes and rose like the proverbial Phoenix. I don't know many names on the back of the uniforms, but I'm getting more acquainted as they trot around the bases after a home run.
Even the professional announcers have had to put in some overtime to pronounce the names correctly. Joe Mauer is tough enough to pronounce if you're not from Minnesota. Many of the names now carry a Latin American sound that ends in "za." I love the rhythm when I hear the announcers announce the names after another double or triple off the wall.
Somehow the pitching has come around after last year's dismal performance. This year opposing hitters are actually having to swing at a fastball or a slider. Last year they just stood there taking four balls in a row before striding to first base.
I didn't count on that kind of rebound this year; hence, my in-the-barrel prediction of a losing season. The team even brought in a pitcher who is not far from Medicare, Bartolo Colon. I love to watch his composure on the mound. Not even a guy hitting .500 seems to bother this guy. On the mound, he looks like he's really planning his next vacation. Then he casually tosses the ball into the air, looks at the catcher and tosses a strike. Fun to watch.
The Twins defense has been stellar at times. The last few years they have been prone to watching a baseball dribble between their knees into the outfield. This year we've witnessed great fielding and great catches in the outfield.
Even our antelope of a player, Byron Buxton, has come into his own with fabulous catches at high speed. He has left his impression on the outfield cushions. And, he has been hitting this year. I think we all love to see him round the bases like a racehorse. He will hit an inside the park homerun at some point, if he hasn't already.
I was hearing calls for firing the coach when the team went into a nosedive a month ago. There are no limits on criticizing the coach when things don't go right. Like he could actually trot out on the field and change the score?
I think Mr. Molitor is doing just fine with his steady demeanor and his even-handed way of working with his players. Sure, it was fun to see Billy Martin kick dirt on the umpire's shoes, but that got him nowhere. You probably won't see that happen with Coach Molitor.
I picked the Twins to wind up with a record of 72 wins and 90 losses. They've already won 76 games as of the writing of this column. These guys are seven games above .500! So much for my forecast formula, which is going into the fire pit as soon as I finish this column.
I attribute some of my negative feelings toward the team in April to my farm upbringing, where I was exposed to the old farm adage that if anything could go wrong, it would. I've worked to rid myself of that thought process over my lifetime, but it still lingers.
So, will the Twins make the playoffs? Good question. They are leading in the wild-card race right now, but it is a close call. Cleveland is playing out of their heads, but I've seen teams with such records collapse at playoff time.
If the Twins do punch their ticket for the playoffs, they will provide an interesting game to any opposing team. They can be scary good at times. Can they put three wins together in the wild-card game? It could happen.
I'll now drag my bat back to the dugout. I struck out with my forecast. But, I'm kind of happy that I did.
See you next time. Okay?