September 27, 2005
A Momentless Season
Twice in the past couple weeks I've been asked to name the highlight of the Twins' 2005 season. And twice in the past couple weeks I've been unable to come up with a decent answer. I'm sure there have been plenty of exciting moments this season, but I'm just as sure that none of them stick out in my mind any more than the wide assortment of 2-1 losses and other, equally frustrating performances.
The win over the White Sox back on August 24 was pretty damn exciting. Johan Santana and Freddy Garcia locked horns in a scoreless pitcher's duel before Jacque Jones broke up Garcia's no-hitter with a solo homer in the bottom of the eighth inning that gave the Twins a 1-0 lead. It was close to a perfect baseball game, with two great pitching performances and a clutch hit to decide the game in the late innings.
Of course, the problem is that the win moved the Twins to within 8.5 games of the White Sox in the American League Central. While beating the White Sox is always fun -- the Twins' three-game sweep in Chicago a couple weeks earlier is also probably a season highlight -- it loses a little something when you could do it six or seven times in a row and still be a couple games back in the standings.
Imagine getting up the nerve to tell the school bully that you won't give him your lunch money ... and then having him say, "Whatever, I'll make you pay double tomorrow." In seasons past, there was a feeling that every come-from-behind victory meant something significant and every pitcher's duel had something big riding on it. This year all of those feelings went out the window -- at least for me -- in about mid-July.
For instance, Santana has had nearly as many brilliant starts this season as he did last year, but very few of them have carried the same sort of importance. I've become sort of numb to the myriad of 2-1 losses, and in the process have sadly numbed a bit to some of the positive aspects of the season as well.
What's left is essentially a momentless season. It consists of a fair number of wins, but those are overshadowed by disappointment and frustration. Games like August 24, when one measly hit made all the difference, are lost among the many games when one measly hit could have made all the difference.
And then there are games like last night's, which make you want to forget that there's a season going on at all. An all-too-familiar script played out against the Royals, as a punchless lineup made a rookie pitcher with a 7.34 ERA look like an All-Star and the team managed three lousy singles in a 5-0 loss to the worst club in baseball.
So, let's hear it: What have been the best (or worst, if you must) moments of the Twins' 2005 season?
Today at The Hardball Times:
- Player-Seasonal Notation: 1893-1945 (by Steve Treder)