By Saturday night it already seemed inevitable, so while I watched most of the game, I did so with zero expectations. More precisely, I watched with the expectation of a loss. It made for a less tense viewing experience, and by the time I bailed just before the seventh inning stretch, I had already moved on to next season.
Since that night, it has been quite easy to pick up some themes with just a general perusal of Twins blogs. Here are the major ones, with my thoughts attached.
Theme 1: Anger/disappointment.
There were some significant expectations attached to this team, but in the end they came up short – much like the Twins teams in recent years that didn’t have the same level of expectation (read: payroll) attached to them. It’s a rough way to end a season, and it is of little consolation that all but one of the playoff teams will ultimately come to the same end.
A lot of the anger has been directed right at the Yankees – I will have more on that later in the week.
Theme 2: Fire Gardy.
I am just as capable as anybody of being driven mad by Gardenhire’s managing, but I don’t find any way of watching the last three games that indicate that any other manager would have gotten different results. Gardenhire has had, in the past, a tendency to overmanage in October. That was not the case this year, and any attempt to pin the loss on the manager can only be justified with some fairly severe anti-Gardenhire glasses on.
Theme 3: Lack of Fire.
This seems to be a particular criticism leveled at Joe Mauer, though the general feeling seems to be that the Twins need a “fiery clubhouse guy” who will be vocal when times are bad. My response to that is the Twins had a guy who, by all accounts, was the fiery clubhouse presence for several years. Those teams, however, had just as much playoff success as the current team.
Theme 4: 2010 Was a Complete Failure
An anonymous commenter at Nick’s Twins Blog sums up this argument:
“After watching this team win six division titles, what is painfully clear is that division titles are irrelevant. I hope the organization now realizes that.”
I couldn’t disagree more. I see nothing irrelevant about being the best team in a division after 162 games. There is a reason that teams celebrate this accomplishment. No matter how much emphasis you want to place on baseball “when it counts,” discounting 162 games is foolish. Frankly, I don’t understand why a person with that kind of mentality enjoys baseball – what is the point of following a team (not to mention spending money to go to a game) if 98% of the things the team does are irrelevant.
Don’t get me wrong. This was a profound disappointment, and the language I want to hear from the organization should reflect that. The last thing I want is for the Twins’ front office to feel there is no room for improvement or to be satisfied with the status quo. I don’t get the sense that is happening, however, and I have no problem celebrating 2010 as a success overall.