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Hot Stove, Football and Instant Gratification

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We live in a society of instant gratification. This is certainly not a provocative or groundbreaking statement to make in 2012, but that doesn’t make it less significant.

We’re one month into the hot stove, one week from the Winter Meetings and about three days from a five part expose on Kyle Gibson’s GOOD arm. Needless to say, the offseason is dragging a tad for Twins Fans.

Why, however, is this? Is the offseason really dragging, or are we just impatient and – let’s be honest – a tad ornery? I’m not saying Twins fans shouldn’t be frustrated coming off two years of “hunting for 100,” but maybe we should try a little patience. As hard as that is.

While watching the Vikings (you know, that other disappointing Minnesota sports team) on Sunday, I began considering football, baseball and the hot stove. The conclusion I came to is this: Football is the reason so many sports fans are impatient. It’s the instant gratification sport to our instant gratification society.

Nobody can argue that football is the most popular sport in the United States right now (it is not, however, the national pastime . . . the national pastime doesn’t change with popularity, but I digress). As a baseball guy, the popularity of football annoys me to the extent that the popularity of a given sport can logically annoy a person. Not because I am petty, but because football’s popularity represents how small the collective attention span of sports fans really is. (Also, I’m petty.)

I love baseball for a lot of reasons: The 162 game grind. Prospects. A summer of games followed by a winter of moves and non-moves. Baseball takes patience. It takes a certain type of person to agonize over something that produces action—however small—every day. Baseball takes commitment.

Football is for the lazy sports fan. It takes place once a week. There are only 16 games. You can wake up on a Sunday after a week-long bender, flip on your TV and be no less informed than the guy who scours the fantasy waiver wire to pinpoint which running back will carry the load for the Eagles this week. You can overreact to every game without having a brain aneurysm because you have a week to recover.

I am not saying there is anything inherently wrong with football fans—football is a fine sport with fine followers. It just happens to be the perfect allegory for an impatient society.

Most sports fans follow all sports, which mean most of us Twins fans are watching the Vikings during the offseason. It’s easy to get caught up in being un-instantly gratified by the Vikings and carrying that over into our offseason frustration with the Twins, but let’s try to be a little patient.

I know the Twins are coming off two terrible seasons, and we are all skeptical about 2013 at best, but let’s give things a little more time to shake out. We’re baseball fans. We may need results, but we’re willing to wait.
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