When I dipped my toe into the new Twins season, I braced myself and winced. Like most people on Twins Daily, I'm excited for our hitting but unsure if we've got the pitching to be competitive. More than that, these old bones are sore from the 2021 season. Things looked swell last year at this time, and then the losses piled on and on. And on and on and on. Admitting you were a Twins fan got you a free bowl of soup and a friendly ear in Depression-era diners last year. "Times are tough," the cook would say.
I made time to watch the first game at a chain restaurant that specializes in wings (even though no wings come close to achieving the greatness of Tooties on Lowry, home of the best wings on earth). I took my 5-year-old daughter and bought some quality baseball time by loaning her my cell phone so she could play her little game on it. The Twins tripped and fell right away in the game. They staggered and righted themselves a bit with an Urshela home run, then stumbled on the way to their final out.
Game two and Buxton does a little talking with his bat. Twins take a lead and then blow it. I follow along on my phone, sliding back into the groove of ignoring friends and relatives to keep up on the game. The secret is lots of eye contact when you're paying attention to THEM, to make up for all the times you only have eyes for your phone.
Game three is much better. Sanchez knocks in a grand slam and there are home runs everywhere, like they were participation trophies. I tried to listen to part of this on the radio, but my 5-year-old daughter caught me tuning in when I was supposed to be babysitting her dolls. I ended up having to sing David Bowie songs to them while the Twins hauled in their first victory.
Game four? I'm fully immersed in the Twins season and loving it.
There are good things happening for the Twins, and there's every reason to nurture a bit of hope. So why did I feel so blah? General contrariness? Always a possibility. Maybe it's because I read the news today, oh boy, and the real world has become A Bad Place. Baseball usually takes me away from all that - the longer, the better! Maybe it'll just take a little longer this year to fully escape into the game.
There's no reason to worry about whether or not this team can warm your heart. This team is so loveable it could sour puppies and kitties by comparison. Buxton plays the game with gusto and he'll take you along for the ride. Polanco and Correa can turn frowns upside down with a swipe of their bats. Kirilloff is going to get there, people, and it'll be delightful. And this Duran guy? You gotta love what you see when he pitches. Also, he appears to be a very good hugger, based on my own observations. This is a team you can cheer for. This is a team that brings "fan favorites" and "baseball crushes" back to the ballpark.
I, for one, am ready to let baseball dazzle me into a happy grin yet again. Bring on the summer of 2022, and bring on the next chapter of Twins history!