Well, this is kinda fun, isn't it?
That's what I was thinking around the seventh inning or so of Sunday's game against Cleveland. We can say all kinds of things about it, really; the Arrival of Scott Baker, the statement of Belonging from Alexi Casilla. Hell, Baker's catch in the eighth was easily the most gratifying moment of the season (and probably longer). But all any of it really means is: We've got fifty games of fun.
In fact, this unlikely little run (however long it lasts) is probably all the more fun because of how flawed the team is. Third base is still a black hole of Sadness, and I'm not even sure DH as a position exists any more. But after all, everyone loves a bit of Degree of Difficulty, right?
It's worth keeping in mind how much closer this horse race could be. How many losses were Sidney Ponson, Starting Pitcher Ramon Ortiz, or Rondell White worth? Half a dozen? More? Who knows; the Twins might already have been setting up their playoff rotation. Who should get the nod in game 2? I vote for Boof--I think Garza would be a perfectly demoralizing game 3 starter with whom to snare the first one in Anaheim . . .
Ah, what could have been--fun to think about, but it is imperative that we keep focus on the here and now; after all, we've still got a couple of pesky squads in front . . . at least for now. But this squad has the Fire in them, and if the playoff spot isn't locked up before the final four game set in Fenway, I'll eat my (highly proverbial) hat . . .
Say what you will about the Unbalanced Schedule, but it does wonders for the drama. Aside from a set in Baltimore later this month and the season-ender in Boston, the Twins are finished with the East. A single road series in Anaheim will be a bit tricky, but winning five of the six home contests with Texas (sans Teixeira/Gagne, to boot) should be quite possible. I don't buy Seattle (three home, three away) at all; they should remember any second now how good they really are (not) and kindly move over into the right lane for slower moving traffic . . .
Ten games against Kansas City? I'll have seconds, please. The White Sox are worth the Attorney General's power of recall (except, apparently, against Detroit . . .), and Ozzie seems to like the Twins more anyway and can doubtless be relied upon for a few timely favors/Gavin Floyd appearances. Cleveland and Detroit have eight left to beat up on each other as well. Yes sir; everything's coming up Gardenhire.
Perhaps (read: probably (read: undoubtedly)) I have just been gripped by the Fever, and when I wake up tomorrow morning (read: afternoon) I'll have my proper perspective on the Doom that is likely to befall us all before September ends. But perhaps not; these are heady times in the Metrodome, and we're still months upon months away from the triumphant return of the NBA. So toss another log on the fire, friends, and hunker down. Whatever we're in for, it's sure to be something . . .