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Twins Culture- Breaking the Stereotype

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#1 B Richard

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Posted 16 August 2012 - 11:01 PM

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...

Thanks

#2 glanzer

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Posted 17 August 2012 - 07:09 AM

I remember I proposed a similar idea a few years ago on a Twins blog or comment thread somewhere and was pretty much beaten down by the opposition. No one seemed to think there's a psychological or non-raw-statistics approach to identifying why this team was so poor in the playoffs. While I'm not so sure it has anything to do with being too nice, I do think that playing the mighty Yankees time and time again got in the team's heads... at the very least, it got in Gardenhire and the coaching staff's heads and they projected some uneasiness onto the players. So in theory I agree with what you're saying.

#3 JB_Iowa

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Posted 17 August 2012 - 07:24 AM

I've always looked at it a little bit differently. You imply that Gardenhire has some fire -- and I think that's true but while he shows flashes of fire from time to time, his managing style is best characterized for me as "taking the long view". Not panicking when you are down and working hard over the long season. And come to think about it, that's pretty Midwestern, too.

Power pitching (and power hitting aside), I agree that the playoffs require a different psychological approach than the regular season. Is that the SOLE cause for the Twins dismal playoff record in the last 10 years (I'd like to say recently but its not so recent anymore)? Of course not. Does it play a factor? My answer is yes. So count me as another one who shares some of your sentiments.

#4 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 17 August 2012 - 08:11 AM

some of those teams flat out choked (2006 and 2010 in particular).... I could have seen either one losing their series, but to do so in the manner they did tells me something else alltogether. But the teams they have consistently put together don't help. Teams like the Yankees now how to beat pitch to contact guys. They won't walk many guys, so you know you will get strikes. Just sit on your pitch and the hits will come...

There's also an organizational flaw that only sets its sites on the playoffs... That's a step to a goal, but not the goal.

Oh, and was I the only one who first read that and thought it said "breaking the stethescope"?

#5 Willihammer

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Posted 17 August 2012 - 10:38 AM

Yes, Minnesota fans just need to be more blowhardy and fratboyish. That, not having higher payrolls and better players and smarter front offices, is the real reason the Twins always lose to the Yankees.

#6 DPJ

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Posted 17 August 2012 - 10:42 AM

Yes, Minnesota fans just need to be more blowhardy and fratboyish. That, not having higher payrolls and better players and smarter front offices, is the real reason the Twins always lose to the Yankees.


Word son!

#7 nicksaviking

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Posted 17 August 2012 - 11:01 AM

Winners have a killer instinct; losers play not to lose. Winners ride their starters deep into games and push them past their pitch-count if needed; losers pull them after the 6th during a close game and let the outcome ride on the natually inferior arms in the bullpen.

#8 MarshalltheIrish

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Posted 17 August 2012 - 11:24 AM

I completely agree! I too have strongly believed for awhile that the Twins need a change in attitude. It doesn't need to be radical, just a little more fire here and there would do. Their constant losses to the Yankees in the ALDS are a perfect example. There were times watching those (especially 2010) that it looked like the Twins just rolled over, and the Yankees just KNEW they would win in the end. I think overall this is an organizational problem, and while I believe the Twins should be overhauled pretty much from top to bottom (ownership, front office, coaching staff, pitching staff), it would be great to see someone at any level introduce that "spark."

#9 MarshalltheIrish

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Posted 17 August 2012 - 11:26 AM

Of course, it would be just one component for the Twins to advance in the playoffs. First order is great starting pitching and a strong infield, for sure.

#10 DPJ

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Posted 17 August 2012 - 11:27 AM

it would be great to see someone at any level introduce that "spark."


Any player that's showed a "spark" in the past has been shipped outta town for not falling into lines of "Twins Baseball"

#11 B Richard

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Posted 17 August 2012 - 11:36 AM

it would be great to see someone at any level introduce that "spark."


Any player that's showed a "spark" in the past has been shipped outta town for not falling into lines of "Twins Baseball"



My thought being maybe it would benefit the organization to slightly change its philosophy

#12 twinsnorth49

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Posted 17 August 2012 - 12:11 PM

it would be great to see someone at any level introduce that "spark."


Any player that's showed a "spark" in the past has been shipped outta town for not falling into lines of "Twins Baseball"


Voodoo talk, spark doesn't strike batters out or get hits, get real, this is pro sports, you're either good or you're not. You can jump around and scream like a jackass all you like, it doesn't make you a better player or win games.

#13 one_eyed_jack

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Posted 17 August 2012 - 12:42 PM

Voodoo talk, spark doesn't strike batters out or get hits, get real, this is pro sports, you're either good or you're not. You can jump around and scream like a jackass all you like, it doesn't make you a better player or win games.


---This.

You know what wins games? Good starting pitching. Guys like Brian Duensing, Boof Bonser and Nick Blackburn may be good enough to get you wins against Kansas City in June. But when that's who you're counting on to beat teams like the Yankees in October, sorry, not happening.

All this stuff about the Yankees being in Gardenhire's head is just nonsense. I suppose the Giants won it all in 2010 because of Bruce Bochy's steely nature in the playoffs, not because they had a starting rotation full of aces.

#14 JB_Iowa

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Posted 17 August 2012 - 12:53 PM


Voodoo talk, spark doesn't strike batters out or get hits, get real, this is pro sports, you're either good or you're not. You can jump around and scream like a jackass all you like, it doesn't make you a better player or win games.


---This.

You know what wins games? Good starting pitching. Guys like Brian Duensing, Boof Bonser and Nick Blackburn may be good enough to get you wins against Kansas City in June. But when that's who you're counting on to beat teams like the Yankees in October, sorry, not happening.

All this stuff about the Yankees being in Gardenhire's head is just nonsense. I suppose the Giants won it all in 2010 because of Bruce Bochy's steely nature in the playoffs, not because they had a starting rotation full of aces.



I didn't see anyone on this thread say that attitude ALONE would make the difference. The REAL QUESTION is whether the Twins could win in the playoffs EVEN WITH power pitching if there isn't ALSO an attitude adjustment.

A lot of us appear to believe that the Twins problems in the playoffs go beyond power pitching (or even power pitching and power hitting).

#15 CDog

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Posted 17 August 2012 - 01:15 PM

In many/most cases, I would guess that the comments and thoughts that "they looked beaten" or "you could just tell the Yankees knew they would win" or anything of that nature is a reflection of the feelings and attitude of the observer much, much more than that of the observed.

#16 B Richard

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Posted 17 August 2012 - 01:54 PM

[quote name='JB_Iowa'][quote name='one_eyed_jack'][quote name='twinsnorth49']
Voodoo talk, spark doesn't strike batters out or get hits, get real, this is pro sports, you're either good or you're not. You can jump around and scream like a jackass all you like, it doesn't make you a better player or win games.[/QUOTE]

---This.

You know what wins games? Good starting pitching. Guys like Brian Duensing, Boof Bonser and Nick Blackburn may be good enough to get you wins against Kansas City in June. But when that's who you're counting on to beat teams like the Yankees in October, sorry, not happening.

All this stuff about the Yankees being in Gardenhire's head is just nonsense. I suppose the Giants won it all in 2010 because of Bruce Bochy's steely nature in the playoffs, not because they had a starting rotation full of aces.[/QUOTE]


I didn't see anyone on this thread say that attitude ALONE would make the difference. The REAL QUESTION is whether the Twins could win in the playoffs EVEN WITH power pitching if there isn't ALSO an attitude adjustment.

A lot of us appear to believe that the Twins problems in the playoffs go beyond power pitching (or even power pitching and power hitting).[/QUOTE]

I'm happy at least someone gets it. It was never suggested that an attitude adjustment alone was the remedy, but I guess it's easier for some to jump to conclusions.

#17 Willihammer

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Posted 17 August 2012 - 02:10 PM

I'm sure that arguing more balls and strikes calls will really help Mauer hold that .416 OBP. In fact, look around the league at guys who argue balls and strieks and almost always they are the guys leading the league in strikeouts. Ike Davis comes to mind (there's a Minnesotan with *attitude*).

Sometimes its best to keep your head down and shut up.

#18 Nick Nelson

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Posted 17 August 2012 - 02:15 PM

In many/most cases, I would guess that the comments and thoughts that "they looked beaten" or "you could just tell the Yankees knew they would win" or anything of that nature is a reflection of the feelings and attitude of the observer much, much more than that of the observed.


Yes. Well said.

#19 twinsnorth49

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Posted 17 August 2012 - 02:16 PM

[quote name='B Richard'][quote name='JB_Iowa'][quote name='one_eyed_jack'][quote name='twinsnorth49']
Voodoo talk, spark doesn't strike batters out or get hits, get real, this is pro sports, you're either good or you're not. You can jump around and scream like a jackass all you like, it doesn't make you a better player or win games.[/QUOTE]

---This.

You know what wins games? Good starting pitching. Guys like Brian Duensing, Boof Bonser and Nick Blackburn may be good enough to get you wins against Kansas City in June. But when that's who you're counting on to beat teams like the Yankees in October, sorry, not happening.

All this stuff about the Yankees being in Gardenhire's head is just nonsense. I suppose the Giants won it all in 2010 because of Bruce Bochy's steely nature in the playoffs, not because they had a starting rotation full of aces.[/QUOTE]


I didn't see anyone on this thread say that attitude ALONE would make the difference. The REAL QUESTION is whether the Twins could win in the playoffs EVEN WITH power pitching if there isn't ALSO an attitude adjustment.

A lot of us appear to believe that the Twins problems in the playoffs go beyond power pitching (or even power pitching and power hitting).[/QUOTE]

I'm happy at least someone gets it. It was never suggested that an attitude adjustment alone was the remedy, but I guess it's easier for some to jump to conclusions.[/QUOTE]

It's certainly the central theme of your post, one followed up on by a few others. It's that part I'm addressing.

#20 B Richard

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Posted 17 August 2012 - 02:35 PM

I'm sure that arguing more balls and strikes calls will really help Mauer hold that .416 OBP. In fact, look around the league at guys who argue balls and strieks and almost always they are the guys leading the league in strikeouts. Ike Davis comes to mind (there's a Minnesotan with *attitude*).

Sometimes its best to keep your head down and shut up.



Sometimes it's best to read the original post in its entirety. I'm not specifically complaining about Mauer, nor am I advocating that everyone argue calls ad absurdum. The core of my post, what I was attempting to elucidate for everyone, was that in recent years the Twins have seemingly lacked a winning attitude/ mental approach. It was almost as if there just wasn't the fire. It would be easy to confuse my point and believe I'm suggesting that "attitude" is the only thing wrong with the Twins now. Far from it, quite obviously.

I strongly believe in statistics, but to suggest to that the best teams on paper always win is downright foolish.



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