Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Greg Jennings and Joe Mauer. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
Unlike another local team, the Twins stay out of damaging headlines. Chalk it up to Minnesota Nice or some other Midwestern personality trait, but the Minnesota Twins are a humble, quiet team. They praise their teammates in wins and take responsibility in their losses. They don’t loudly celebrate success (though there hasn’t been much of that in the last three years), and rarely do they show up in the national news. They hardly high-five after hitting a home run; instead they shake hands like they just completed a business deal. The entire Twins organization is a group of the utmost professionals.
But sometimes professionalism can be boring. I miss the Piranhas and the Smell ‘Em days, I miss Ben Revere’s endless smile and I miss seeing genuine player excitement on a daily basis. Is looking like you are having fun required to win a baseball game? No, but it can’t hurt. I love Oswaldo Arcia’s “O” gesture with his arms above his head and I want to see that exuberance spread through the team. Maybe the continued arrival of youngsters will help give the Twins a new identity with an enthusiastic flair for the dramatic.
Just as likely though, the Twins could forever be bound to “play the game the right way,” with their heads down while never flaunting their skill. The organization benched uber-prospect Miguel Sano in July for showing off too much after hitting a bomb and it will always reprimand a player for not giving maximum effort. Byron-centerfielder of the future-Buxton’s personality has been compared to Joe Mauer’s; quiet, hardworking and unassuming. Drama should continue to be as hard to find as ever in Twins Territory.
As monotonous as that might be, there’s nothing like a Minnesota Vikings scandal to remind you how much better serene, calm and professional can be. Chris Kluwe’s Thursday post on Deadspin alleging bigotry and cowardice in the Vikings organization has already caused huge ripples through Minnesota and possibly the NFL. For a league that already dealt with a bullying issue in 2013, the last thing it needs is controversy surrounding homophobia. This has put the Vikings in headlines for all of the wrong reasons and whether you believe Kluwe or not, this will continue to darken the Viking’s offseason either way. They say there is no such thing as bad publicity, but that doesn’t fly in this case.
Making headlines is great if it is for the right reasons. If the Minnesota Twins leave the controversies, DUIs and arrests to other sports, they can play however they want to on the field. I can sacrifice a few high-fives for that.