Is it just me, or does the world suddenly seem a happier place? Doesn’t it kind of feel like you’re breathing fresh air after being stuck in a garbage filled room for six months? Do you feel like you’ve suddenly been cured of some sort of illness (not a terminal illness, but one with a lot of nasty symptoms like pimples and a runny nose)?
Well, the reason that you feel that way is because the 2011 baseball season is finally, mercifully over. Sure, the playoffs will go on for another month, and we may have at least one Game 163 before we even get that far. But the excruciating part – the part where we have to watch the Twins lose far too often – is finished.
The Twins limped to the finish line with a 63-99 record, but their last game was an inspirational performance. Carl Pavano went the distance for a complete game shutout. In the 9th inning, Denard Span pinch hit for Drew Butera and lined a double to right. Two batters later, Trevor Plouffe singled to right to bring Span home and prevent a 100 loss season; one small moral victory in a disastrous campaign.
This is more than just the end of the season. It’s the end of an era in Twins baseball. As you may know, tonight was the final broadcast for longtime Twins play by play announcer John Gordon. For some excellent reading, here is LaVelle Neal’s article about Gordon for the Star Tribune. If your childhood was anything like mine, many of your favorite memories are narrated by Gordon’s distinctive voice. The last words he used to describe game action were “a line drive, base hit. Twins win the game,” as Plouffe came through.
Gordon was a major part of the Twins fan experience for a quarter century, and summer afternoons will never be the same without him. The Twins won the World Series in Gordon’s first year with the team, and if this were a just world, the team would have sent him to retirement with another title – just to even things out.
Unfortunately, 2011 proved that the sports world is just as unjust as the rest of the world.
Here at Puckett’s Pond, we’re just as glad to see the end of this season as you are. Probably even more so, because the end of the year gives us plenty of interesting topics to write about. In the next few days, look for some recaps of the highs and lows of the 2011 season (believe it or not, there were a few highs), plenty of discussion about the offseason moves the Twins need to make, and a look forward to the 2012 campaign and beyond.
There should be plenty of interesting content for you to read during the offseason. In fact, this is an interesting time for the Twins, as they are in a position they haven’t been in a long time: a total rebuild. So stay with us during the offseason, and we’ll try to keep you entertained for at least a few minutes every day.