Joyless in Mudville

Twins/Angels Game 5

And you can go ahead and call me crazy, but I'm telling you this stuff I do works. I'm almost certain that the tremendous success the Twins had at home this year was due almost completely to the fact that I attended virtually every home game. Given the fact that the Twins road record was mediocre at best, please explain to me how it is that they nonetheless somehow managed to win all four games that I was able to attend in adversarial ballparks.

I should have gone to Anaheim. I'm going to be beating myself up all winter that I didn't go to Anaheim. I intend to apologize to Ron Gardenhire at the first opportunity.

In the meantime, Steve, I blame you. Since late last night I've been struggling mightily with the suspicion that you are almost entirely responsible for everything that went wrong in those disastrous last four games of the American League Championship Series. And even if you're not directly to blame, I have absolutely no doubt that you take a sort of perverse glee in the very real suffering all of this is causing me.

How did Mike Tyson put it? I wish that you had children, Steve, so I could kick them in the head or stomp on their testicles so you could feel my pain; because that's the pain I have waking up every day.

I blame you, Steve, but there is certainly plenty of other blame to go around. If Gary Gaetti's immortal quote, "It's hard to play with both hands around your neck," didn't come to mind at some point during the last couple games in Anaheim, then you're not a real Twins fan. You can blame Gardenhire all you want --and, really, I now have only one question for Gardie: where the hell was Kyle Lohse?-- but this was a full-team meltdown. The Twins came into the postseason with a reputation for excellent defense and proceeded to commit seven errors and surrender seven unearned runs. The top of the order, the middle of the order, the bottom of the order --point your finger in just about any direction and you can find a goat. The team's bullpen picked up the slack for the struggling rotation all year, and had prolonged stretches of domination both before and after the All Star break. They then had a 5.11 ERA in the playoffs, and got absolutely rocked in the decisive fourth and fifth games in Anaheim; pretty much everybody in the Twins bullpen got bombed: five guys combined to give up 15 runs in games where the Twins were either leading or within striking distance. It honestly couldn't have been any uglier. Game five in particular was an absolute teeth kicker. In the seventh inning the Twins actually managed to score three runs off the previously untouchable Francisco Rodriguez --notice I said 'untouchable' and not 'unhittable,' however, because the Twins did their damage off Rodriguez through a bases-loaded walk, a wild pitch, and a sacrifice fly-- to take a 5-3 lead into the bottom of the inning. At which point the Angels proceeded to score ten runs off four Twins relievers to put the series away.

Despite his first lousy outing, Rodriguez, the 20-year-old wunderkind of the series, got the victory, his fourth in the postseason. That's the sort of ridiculous, charmed thing that happens to teams of destiny. A guy like Adam Kennedy, who hit seven home runs all season, steps up and hits three in one game. That's the sort of thing that *only* happens to teams of destiny.

It's all very painful, but I guess I'll do what I'm supposed to do and tip my cap to Mike Scioscia for the job he did. I'm now prepared to acknowledge that the Angels were a better all-around team than my beloved Twins --mentally tougher, better prepared, and better managed. As I watched the celebration on the field after the game, however, I was struck for the first time by this curiousity: Are the Angels the whitest team in the Major Leagues? They looked like an Iowa high school football team that had just won the nine-man state championship.

And one last question: now what am I supposed to do with my life?

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