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Twins skipper hopes the '70s music legends inspire the team to turn a lost season around.

With the 2021 season rapidly slipping away, Twins manager Rocco Baldelli needed to do something. With making the team healthier being out of his hands, he did what he thought best: put on some Steely Dan.

“I think the players-only meetings and office sit-downs only accomplish so much,” said Baldelli. “What you really need are the sardonic lyrics of Donald Fagen, the tasteful guitar of Walter Becker, and the in-the-pocket grooves of the finest session players in Los Angeles.”

When the players showed up to Target Field on Thursday after another punishing loss to the New York Yankees, they weren’t met with extra batting practice or a shouting fit from the coaching staff. Instead, the clubhouse was lined with shag carpeting, incense sticks, and the Dan’s 1973 album Countdown to Ecstasy booming through cabinet speakers.

“This sounds like something my dad would listen to,” said catcher Ryan Jeffers. “I mean, it’s fine. The guy sure sings about drugs and sex stuff a lot.”

Baldelli says he plans to go through the entire discography in hopes that the team will use the band’s jazz-inflected rock stylings and tales of southern California decadence to inspire them.

“Their evolution from a touring band to creatures of the studio can maybe show the guys here that there’s more than one way to get after it,” said Baldelli. “When you get those Michael McDonald backing vocals on ‘Peg’ it oughta help clear your mind and let your natural talent and coaching do the rest of the work.”

“This sounds like the music my dentist plays in his office,” said outfielder Trevor Larnach. “But then the lead singer who can’t really sing sings about Jose Cuervo and the caves of Altamira. I’m worried about Rocco.”

For his part, Baldelli says he’s confident that he’s making the right move.

“You know, when an engineer accidentally erased the recording of ‘The Second Arrangement’, Donald Fagen didn’t blow up. He simply walked out of the studio. So when I show up at the park and they tell me another player is out for two weeks because of whatever that day’s injury is, I ask what would Donald do? I don’t erupt. I simply walk out of the room.”

When it was pointed out that Steely Dan didn’t record a new album for twenty years after that incident, Baldelli began to sob before composing himself and asking the reporter if he could pick out Mark Knopfler’s guitar on “Time Out of Mind.”

 


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When recording music, one feels like adding things to the mix and turning things up to make the music "better."  Steely Dan found genius by doing the opposite, by turning everything down instead of turning it up. 

This is tougher to do than it seems.  When you totally jam on a guitar lick or nail a vocal, you want to stick it front and center.  Then you jam on the next bit, and you want that turned up too.  Pretty soon, everything is turned up to 10.  Or, at least, everything put in the mix by the "leader" is turned up louder.

This article is genius for comparing Baldelli's apparent approach to Steely Dan.

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