I’m not sure any sport has spawned more clichés than baseball. Right now, though, even clichés that are applicable to multiple sports seem to make me think of the Twins.
As I’ve been following the the team lately, I keep hearing various clichés in my mind (“look the ball in to your glove, Nishi.” “Make sure of one, Nishi.”). A lot of them come to mind, however, as I reflect on the entirety of the Twins’ season.
Plenty of discussion in Twinsville recently has revolved around the fact that the Twins’ record since mid-May has been respectable… even slightly above .500 perhaps, depending upon when you start to measure those games in your cherry-picking exercise. I tend to think that kind of exercise is best reserved for the lonely off-season when you're trying to find hope for the future. However, I do declare there were times when I was so lonesome I took some comfort there. (Pardon that obscure Simon & Garfunkel reference. I've been thinking I could probably write an entire post equating being a Twins player to "The Boxer". Another time, perhaps.)
The problem with this cherry-picking, of course, is that Major League Baseball has determined that the schedule shall begin in early April and that games played in April and May count toward each team’s overall record. All the games count the same.
Which brings me back to clichés and just a few that seem to be appropriate to mention at this time, if for no other reason than to serve as a reminder to us… and the Twins… that the games played next April should perhaps be treated with more respect.
It’s a long season.
Every team will win 54 games and every team will lose 54 games. It’s what you do with the other 54 games that matters.
More than that, though, I’m kind of afraid that someone in the Twins organization might take the “every team will win 54 games” part as a challenge and try to disprove it.
You can’t win a Championship in April, but you can lose one.
It’s not how you start a season that matters; it’s how you finish it.
You need to take the first two months of the season to figure out which adjustments need to be made.
There’s plenty of time left, no need to panic.
In fact, if the Opening Day starting pitcher is ANY pitcher already part of the Twins organization today, I don’t think we should even be required to wait until the first pitch of the season is thrown before starting to panic.
You can’t rush to judgment.
You have to take it one game at a time.
Pitching and defense win championships.
They’re a better team than their record indicates.
I don’t think it matters, though, because what IS absolutely true is that a team’s record determines where they fall in the standings. So if you give me a choice between a team that’s better than their record indicates or not as good as their record indicates (see: Orioles... or even perhaps the Twins most of the past decade) I’ll take the latter every time. After all, you play to win the game! (how’s that for a cliché?)
They’re still missing a few pieces to the puzzle.
The Twins are missing some corner pieces.
There’s a lot of season left.