Twins Culture- Breaking the Stereotype
Do nice guys always finish last?
It goes without saying that the Twins have experienced success in the last decade or so. Sure, no rings, but 6 division titles in the last 10 years isn't anything to scoff at. As I'm sure all of you remember, however, the Twins always failed to string wins together, losing their last 5 ALDS appearances by a collective (2-15). Ouch. That actually hurt to type. 4 out of the 5 appearances the Twins fell to the Yankees in brutal fashion, again as I'm sure everyone here is aware. The Yankees always seemed to have the Twins number, throttling our poor Twinkies even during the regular season. I'm sure we could all agree the Twins' biggest "nemesis" over the past decade has been the Yanks. Why? I'm sure countless statistical studies could be undertaken to get to the bottom of this, as well as the simple answer "they scored more runs." I'd like to briefly explore a more qualitative than quantitative answer to this question...
We all know the stereotypes associated with the Midwest- kind, neighborly, gentle people who are nice and welcoming. I myself was raised in the Midwest and am proud of where I come from. I go to school out east in Philadelphia and have encountered many people, some of whom have backwards notions about our region. I won't labor with details, but suffice it to say that I've encountered many people who thought they could walk all over me just because I hailed from the Midwest. True, the East and Midwest have different cultures. As I sat and thought about it, baseball teams have their own unique cultures as well (not necessarily mirroring their respective regions).
The Twins have their own culture. We embrace control pitchers over swing and miss guys. Joe Mauer is a homegrown guy who is married to his high school sweetheart. The Twins aren't about flash. Over the last decade, our payroll has been traditionally in the lower half of the league.
The Yankees hit homeruns. They are dangerous and flashy. Derek Jeter leaves one night stands with gift baskets of signed memorabilia (no really, google it). The Yankees strike hitters out. They land big free agents.
The Yankees are like that girl at the bar with dark features and a voluptuous frame you would love to... er, spend the night with. The Twins are like that quiet and wholesome girl with true understated beauty you've known for years and would consider marrying. Each has its merits.
Do nice guys (or girls) always lose to the Yankees in the ALDS? I appreciate the Twins culture for what it is, but I would personally like to see a change in culture. No, I'm not calling for a Red Sox-esque beer and chicken approach, nor am I calling for the Twins to welcome convicts and bad attitudes to the team. The Twins culture needs some fire from its players rather than just its manager. It's hard to articulate exactly what I want, but I just wish the Twins had some swagger. Let's see some guys get tossed every once in awhile for arguing calls (not in a Brett Lawrie like fashion though). Let's see some strikeouts. Let's see some attitude.
I love the Twins for what they are, but I can't help yearning for that mysterious element that the Yankees have shown over the past ALDSes against us. Maybe I'm wrong, but a shift in culture could inject new life into an organization that hasn't cracked the ALCS in some time.
What are your thoughts? Feel free share your ideas, even if you do think I'm absolutely wrong. It wouldn't be the first time...