by, 09-26-2013 at 09:43 PM (408 Views)
Now that the NFL has started, I hardly have the gumption to watch the Twins for more than a few innings. Let’s face it...it’s not the NFL’s fault at all. The Twins were horrible this year. It was a combination of stuff, and it was all bad stuff. I long for the days of Johan…
Once upon a time, the Twins had an epic center-fielder nicknamed “Spiderman.” He owned center-field, like Jordan owned Ehlo. He took back home-runs like they were apples, and he wanted a snack. It got ridiculous at times, with the center-fielder getting to every ball within the realm of possibility. The Twins were unwilling to get into a bidding war over their former 1st round pick, and let him walk in free-agency.
But, that off-season, the Twins had the best trade chip in the game. He was another superhero type of player. He was a left-handed dominator that reminded some of Koufax. The Twins, meaning the owner, were in no position to let this dynamo become a free agent and walk. I mean, they just let Spiderman do that! If they let this super-human player out of Minnesota with nothing to show for it, then there would surely be hell to pay in the form of unruly fans.
The trade became a reality when the Twins dealt the left-handed hero to Gotham City’s latest team. They were given a hand-full of players in return, with a strong, springy centaur (Carlos Gómez) as the centerpiece. He was charged with the task of replacing Spiderman, and showed signs of being a future superhero. But, ultimately, the Twins grew impatient with his impatience (at the plate). They never minded his Spidey-esque catches in center-field, and he was dealt to the Brewers for shortstop J.J. Hardy.
That trade proved to be of value to our Twins, since they had Denard Span at the time and needed a shortstop. After one season of nagging injuries, the Twins refused to pay Hardy any longer, and dealt him to Baltimore for a player that will top-out at the AAA level.
These events contributed to three ill-starred seasons of Twins baseball that we, the fans, can never get back. It is a dark, shadowy time to be a Twins fan. All of our heroes have been traded or jaded from asking for contract extensions. But, there is a silver lining.
The Twins tapped the planet Krypton for the #2 pick in 2012. They received a superhero in training that opposing teams have yet to find an effective “kryptonite.” The promise of this young hero is even greater than that of his predecessors. Twins fans must helplessly wait for his services, and hope for deliverance.
Side story: Back in 2008, I got the chance to play some pick-up basketball with Buster Olney. He was in South Dakota covering the Don Meyer story. So, naturally, I wanted to talk to him about the Twins. I was really hoping to see what he thought about Carlos Gómez. I gushed about his athleticism, and asked if he thought Carlos would ever develop the plate discipline necessary to let his talent show more often?
Buster said he had heard from Twins officials that Gómez was not in their long-term plans because they didn't think he would ever figure things out at the plate. I remember thinking, “What a waste of athleticism! What a waste of a great center-fielder! What a waste of Johan Santana!”
As we all know, Gómez has been spectacular in Milwaukee these last two seasons. His defense has always been Torii-worthy, and his offense has finally shown up big (probably because he is playing every day). In fact, his 2013 offensive numbers closely resemble what Torii Hunter was producing in his final years in Minnesota (but Gómez steals more bases).
As a fan, I am torn between which player I would have rather the Twins’ brass kept... J.J. Hardy hits lots of bombs and is a Gold Glove winner at shortstop. Carlos Gómez is Gold-Glove-caliber in center-field, and is hitting for power with a respectable average and tons of stolen bases. Which superhero would you rather have back on the Twins today?