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Stumbling Out of the Gates - A Twins Blog


Axel Kohagen

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Baseball is a marathon, not a sprint . . . but I'm willing to bet you can spoil a marathon with a weak start. Mental fortitude cracking with the arrhythmic slapping of your feet against the pavement. Planning and precision giving way to panic. Comparing yourself to the other runners, who seem to be running flawlessly.

Baseball is a marathon . . . for the fans, too. It takes commitment to stay abreast of a whole season. The game this afternoon felt like a must-win situation to keep some sense of hope. These were winnable games against a beatable opponent. We won one, by a single run. For the fans to stay in this race, we're going to need to win a lot more. 

Of course, who am I to talk about marathons and baseball seasons? I've never run a marathon, and my baseball days ended in elementary school with me standing in right field, praying the ball would never come near me. I'd like to run a marathon by the time I turn 50, which gives me a little over 5 1/2 years to get this body into shape. 

People have been very supportive of my marathon pipe-dream. The way they describe it makes it seem simple. You start running. 26.2 miles later, you stop. Along the way, you keep your feet moving. Everyone says it's a mental battle. Right now, I'm battling to get in the gym and get into 5K shape. Little victories mean a lot. Just going to the gym on a day where I'd rather see how many peanut butter Oreos I could cram in my mouth is a victory.

This one run victory is like that. It keeps everybody grinding on, hoping the Twins find their footing, pick up the pace, and we all feel the breeze at our backs. 

It's hard to write series recaps about three lukewarm baseball games where one lukewarm baseball team faces another lukewarm baseball team. The biggest narrative seems to stem from Aaron Gleeman's revelation that this is the first time the Twins have ever batted under .200 for the first 12 games. Maybe a little chatter about some surprisingly good pitching. I bet I'm not the only one struggling to find something to write about, even at this early stage of the season. Hey, we can't all be Randball's Stu and hit it out of the park every time.

So let's pick up those feet and put 'em back down again, Twins! Get into the rhythm. Find your stride before it's late June/early July. Because before long it'll be time to listen to "Dirty Black Summer" by Danzig and pretend sparklers are still fun when you're over fifteen. I'd like to still be in the race then.

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I've more faith in your marathon potential than the Twins' now.  Haven't seen you run, but I've seen the Twins and they're just, well..., soft.....

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I’ve never run a marathon, but I typically run 2 half marathon’s per year. At least in a half marathon, the OP is correct, it’s really hard to finish the race if you stumble too hard out of the gate. When you’re stuck at the back of the pack and can’t stretch your legs, find your comfortable pace, you get bogged down in frustration.

I imagine that is true of baseball as well, and some of the wisdom in the “consistency” phrase that gets thrown around. If a player is inconsistent, they are too reactive to the dictation around them. In the long distance run, it’s finding your place at the gate before the gun fires. 
 

too far forward and you’re being stepped on, shoved and trampled by runners who are way faster than you, or sprinting and running out of gas… Too far back and you can’t get through the pack. Find the right spot and you can set your stride and maintain. Adjustments come along the way as you avoid obstacles, but it’s much easier to find your pace again when the pack isn’t dictating your speed.

Similarly I suppose, for a hitter. Adjustments are the name of the game, if a batter is too responsive, pitchers and catchers can manipulate and dictate how the at-bat, game, series and season goes. Consistently keeping within your game, making small adjustments, not big ones, and practicing patience can help the batter not give the pitcher too much sway.

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