Horseshoes and hand grenades (and baseball)

It's no secret that the Twins need a hitter (and are still looking for one). What no one seems to agree on is why, exactly, the plane has crashed into the fucking mountain.

But it hasn't; not yet. The Twins lost a string of one-run games to the Angels, and half of Twins Territory is ready to pack it in. That's insane. We just played the second-best team in the American League and stacked up almost identically. The difference in those losses was imperceptibly small (I'm thinking specifically of the Mauer homerun that Steve Finley stole). That's the kind of difference that can be made up by one decent hitter. Last night's loss to the Orioles was a case in point.

Baltimore has Miguel Tejada; we have Torii Hunter, a man I love for innumerable reasons, none of which is his hitting. Never was this contrast more clear than last night, when the Orioles intentionally walked our lumbering, slumping Canadian firstbaseman in favor of pitching to our charismatic, Gold Glove-winning, near-All Star center fielder. And on his birthday, no less. It was a defensive strategy poised to fail, and to thereby make a hero out of Hunter.

What kills me is that it worked. With two strikes against him, Hunter tried to pull an outside pitch into the left field stands, and as is too often the case in such situations, he struck out. Five minutes later Miguel Tejada showed him how it's done and won the game. Happy birthday, Mr. Hunter.

Shortly thereafter thousands of Midwestern tragedians sprang to their quills to write off, again, the baseball season. Forgetting the wildcard. "So close," they wrote... and how does it end? Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. Well, the last three World Series champions were wildcard teams. Teams that almost won their division, but didn't. So let's just go ahead and add baseball to that list. And then let's go get us a hitter.

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