The leaves are changing to their beautiful fall foliage, coffee shops are increasingly busier while brisk breezes chill the air, and football dominates the sports world. But for a few hard-working and lucky teams in baseball, their season has just begun.
Baseball managers who’s teams have locked a spot in the 2012 postseason are setting up their pitching rotations and making tough decisions on who has worked hard and proven their self-worth enough to make the team for the World Series push. Some of the usual suspects are poised to make their annual postseason appearance again this year; New York Yankees, Texas Rangers, San Francisco Giants, St. Louis Cardinals and Atlanta Braves. Yet, the most intriguing stories belong to the “Cinderella” teams, such as the Washington Nationals, Oakland Athletics, and the Baltimore Orioles. Nevertheless, once the playoffs begin, every team has the same chance to win the World Series. We throw regular season statistics out the window, standings do not matter anymore, it is all about who is playing the best baseball right now. Ten teams played 162 games better than twenty others in what is considered to be the most exhausting and rigorous regular season in all of sports.
As for the other 20 teams who did not have what it took to play deep into October and parts of November, Fall is a time to start the recovering process. Recovering from all of the scrapes and dings, the surgeries, and more importantly, a recovery of the mental toll a 162 game season can have on the human mind and spirit. Fall is also a time players not participating in the postseason can relax at home with their families, enjoy the playoffs as a fan while cheering on their friends, and hit the golf course. Apparently it is a rule that all athletes play golf as soon as their season has ended.
When the players and coaches left the Grapefruit League behind them and headed to Minnesota, their goal was to win a World Series. The Twins added Josh Willingham to provide much needed power from the right side of the plate. They brought in a revived Jason Marquis to fill in as a poor(er) man’s version of Carl Pavano to eat up some innings and help the bullpen stay fresh throughout the year. Brian Dozier emerged as the hopeful mainstay at short stop after an impressive Spring. Ryan Doumit was acquired via free agency to provide an offensive answer at catcher while Joe Mauer takes a day off behind the plate. Danny Valencia was expected to establish himself as a reliable, line-drive gap hitter at third. Jamey Carroll was brought in during the offseason to protect the middle of the field, platooning at second base and short stop. Chris Parmelee was slotted in at first base, allowing Justin Morneau to begin the season as the Twins designated hitter while still recovering from his concussion symptoms. All the moves made in the offseason seemed to make sense. There were not any major blockbuster deals, but the reasoning behind the acquisitions justified these players breaking camp with the team.
However, after an abysmal 2012 campaign and four of the a fore mentioned players not ending the season on the 25 man roster, the Minnesota Twins’ employees will be watching the postseason from the confines of their own homes. The Twins organization has not only let the fans down again, more importantly they have let themselves down. Winning a World Series is every player’s and owner’s ultimate goal. Being a part of a history making team must be one of the most rewarding and bonding experiences an athlete can achieve in their lives. Unfortunately, the Twins players will have to postpone their goals for at least one more season and try to take advantage of their extended leave to recuperate and recover in preparation for next year. Like the leaves floating to the ground during the Fall season, the dreams are broken of all ball players who do not get that enchanting opportunity to play with their teammates and compete for the one goal they all have in common, winning a World Series.
The Twins now have to take advantage of an early offseason and make the right moves to build a championship caliber team. The players need to properly train and prepare for the upcoming season more than ever. Hopefully, front office members already have a short list of players they plan on acquiring this offseason to glue the loose ends and bring a World Series to the much deserving Twins faithful.
September 25, 2012; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Twins outfielder Denard Span (2) celebrates his 2-RBI double during the seventh inning against the New York Yankees at Target Field. The Twins deafeated the Yankees 5-4. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-US PRESSWIRE