Monday, May 14, 2007

Sparks, Questions and Jottings

Just when I am ready to post a rant about the Twins escalating failures, they take fans on a nationally televised emotional rollercoaster that doesn’t leave us nauseous and tearing our hair out. Instead, I, like many, was giddy heading to bed after watching the explosive win the Twins handed the Tigers and their rookie starter (poor thing, but not really) Sunday night.

The question is, how do you know when a spark, such as Sunday night’s flare, is truly going to ignite a team to go on a winning tear? Last Tuesday is a benchmark example of a spark that simply smoldered to ash. When Morneau won the game in dramatic, sparky fashion, writers, bloggers and players alike sounded off about how it was the kind of win the Twins needed to get fired up and get going; the kind of spark that gets the piranhas biting and the bats screaming. But we dropped the next two games with minimal effort against a beatable struggling White Sox team. Our play was abysmal and reflected not a teaspoon of magic from the night before.

Ultimately, despite the fanfare and heroics of what will be one of the Twins’ best wins of the 2007 season (yes, it was that great of a win), one can’t help but be cautious. Dramatic finishes, walk off homers, Web Gem defense, and even Cy Young pitching, isn’t always contagious (just look who followed Santana in the rotation--at least up until Sunday).

After all, even the Devil Rays and Royals have a few exciting come-from-behind wins each season that raise the spirits of their fans and local reporters, but it hasn’t turned into anything remarkable this century.

Conclusion: A spark is only a spark when it is capitalized upon; when it is viewed through the illuminating window of hindsight with the intention of pinpointing an exact moment when a team turned it all around.

Additional jottings and questions:

Did anyone else notice that Justin Morneau’s face looked disturbingly angelic Sunday night compared to the mess it was when he left the game the day before with a broken nose? How is it there was absolutely no bruising or signs of swelling?

Nevin, White, LeCroy, Cirillo. When are we ever going to get a designated hitter that lasts an entire season?

I embrace Nicky “Sparkplug” Punto and find his head-first slides to be charming in a daring kind of way. But the head-first slide is only brilliant when it works and gets you on base. This is not happening for Punto this year, and it’s not a pretty sight.

I’m not taking out my frustration with the lack of Twins offense and power on Terry Ryan because why would he focus on obtaining a big bat when Hunter, Cuddyer, Morneau and Mauer are expected to be the power hitters? The Keep Santana Fund shouldn’t take a hit to buy a Gary Sheffield when we have several players perfectly capable of hitting 20+ homeruns and driving in 100 RBIs each. These guys are the bats, and if they’re not producing, then there’s something wrong with them, not the lineup or TR’s lack of acquisitions.

Welcome back Lew Ford. I know he’s not the answer to all of the riddles, but if he’s not an answer, maybe he’s a hint of some kind.

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