Wednesday September 24, 2003
DISCUSSION QUESTION OF THE WEEK
We Are the Champions, My Friends!
Three things needed to happen:
1.) The Twins had to beat Jake Westbrook, Casey Blake and the Cleveland Indians.
2.) The White Sox had to lose to the New York Yankees.
3.) The Kansas City Royals had to lose to the lowly Detroit Tigers.
Minnesota Twins - 2003 Central Division Champions!
What a night for Twins fans everywhere! Here’s the breakdown:
The Twins got an unbelievable pitching performance from Kenny Rogers again. Last night, he went 8 2/3 innings before giving up a single run and turning the game over to Eddie Guardado, who completed the game for his 40th save of the season. Rogers showed just how clutch he can be. He gave up 8 hits and hit three Indian batters, but came up with big pitches. The three double-plays he induced helped too! Yesterday, I presented my 2003 Gold Glove predictions. I chose Mike Mussina instead of Kenny Rogers, and only because I had already given out three to Twins players. Well, after watching Rogers field his position last year, I would love to be able to change my vote to Kenny Rogers! He’s remarkable!
Shannon Stewart came through again with a double to give the Twins a 1-0 lead in the 3rd inning. Luis Rivas then doubled in Stewart, giving the Twins a 2-0 lead. In the 4th, the Twins got another run on a Stewart sacrifice fly. And, in the 7th inning, SS Cristian Guzman hit his 3rd home run of the season (all against the Indians), giving the Twins the 4-0 lead. Rogers gave up one in the 9th, for the final 4-1 score. It was the Twins 10th straight win!
When the game was done, the Twins had clinched a share of the Division title, but had to wait for the other two games to finish. Many fans stayed in their seats and watched the end of both games on the Metrodome’s big screens. Players came back to the dugout and field to watch as well. First, the Yankees finished off their 7-0 victory over the White Sox, officially dashing Chicago’s hopes. Moments later, Matt Anderson got Dee Brown to pop out to finish the Tigers 15-6 win over the Royals, meaning the Royals post-season dream.
At that point, the Metrodome got loud! The players were all hugging. Jacque Jones was the first to run around the outfield and acknowledge the fans, and was later followed by others. Eddie Guardado crawled up the wall and went into the stands shaking hands with and hugging the fans. Ron Gardenhire grabbed Al Newman’s jersey and held it up to the crowd, who understood its meaning! Gardenhire then got on the microphone and talked with emotion about Newman. He congratulated his players, then asked his players to tip their caps to the fans.
From the field, the celebration carried into the clubhouse. Bert Blyleven and Clay Matvik alternated interviewing players, coaches and even the trainers! Most all said the same things; Shannon Stewart was the spark they needed, the starting pitching fulfilled its potential, the Twins players love playing for Ron Gardenhire, and they will be ready for the Yankees! You could see the joy in all of the players, yet a focus that tells you that they want more. They are happy to get to the playoffs, but want to make some noise once they get there.
The lone negative of the whole thing was when Clay Matvik couldn’t get to AJ Pierzynski and had to settle for an interview with Twins owner Carl Pohlad. That was the only point of the whole night that was at all negative. Pohlad could barely utter the words telling us how excited he is about winning the division. Let’s face facts, he could care less if they clinched the division! He’s raking in money left and right from his ownership of the Twins, even if he and some in the media want to tell you otherwise. He’s looking at the playoffs as another chance to cash in.
But, enough about Pohlad, last night was a great night for the Twins organization. All the pieces fell into piece! They won. The White Sox lost. The Royals lost, and the Twins are the 2003 American League Central Division Champions!
This season was definitely a roller coaster ride, full of ups and downs. I’ll be honest, I was more than happy to just watch the Twins game and their post-game celebration. So, call me lazy, or call me whatever you’d like, but aside from the above, I’m just going to point out some of those ups and downs by looking back at some of my previous postings. I think it’s good to look back and just catch the emotion of what was happening throughout the season. That said, I didn’t start this web site until late May, so I can’t go back through the whole season, but pretty close. Check some of these out, then send me your thoughts on the Twins season, last night’s game, or whatever else you want to tell me!
6/6/03 - The HAWK TAKES FLIGHT -
Shows just why LaTroy Hawkins has become so much better the last two years than in previous years, and Kyle Lohse dominates the Giants in San Francisco.
6/10/03 - Reality Check and FINALLY, THE CALLUP -
The Twins sweep the Padres in San Diego, and Justin Morneau is finally called up from Rochester!
6/23/03 - Weekend Wrapup -
Twins lose a series at Milwaukee, and the first mention of frustration with Jacque Jones aggressiveness at the plate, oh, Torii Hunter too.
7/2/03 - Making a Move -
The White Sox add Roberto Alomar and Carl Everett to their lineups. They’re making a move for the division title. I rant about how the Twins should do something, they need to do something!
7/7/03 - Monday Morning Rants
The Twins are in the middle of a huge rut. They had just been swept by the Sox, and were losing to the Indians. The bullpen wasn’t pitching well, and Justin Morneau was sitting on the bench. Also, there are rumors that Terry Ryan still wants to make a deal to acquire OF Shannon Stewart! On a positive note, the Twins have just added Johan Santana to the starting rotation for good!
7/17/03 - Bye Bye Bobby, Good Bye! -
Terry Ryan’s long-time infatuation with Shannon Stewart finally leads to him becoming a Twin! The cost was pretty steep though! The Twins gave up Bobby Kielty, and well, I was one of many Twins fans who was not at all happy about it!
7/28/03 - It’s OVER! -
The Twins are now 6.5 games out of first place, behind the Royals, and 2.5 behind the White Sox. The Sox are playing really well! This is another rant about how the Twins need to do something, that, as the trade deadline is approaching, changes need to be made! (Note - Sometimes it's good to be very wrong and be able to admit it!)
8/4/03 - Run of the Mil-ton
It’s Eric Milton’s birthday and we discuss what he has to do to get back. The Twins are at 55-55, and I wrote that if they can just win 2 out of every 3 games the rest of the season, the would win 90 games, which would be enough to win the division. (Note - the Twins currently have 88 wins, which is the number of games the Twins actually needed to win the division)
8/20/03 - Deep, Dark Secrets
The Twins are now just 1.5 games back of the Royals, but for some reason, Ron Gardenhire continues to play Dustan Mohr instead of far better players. Michael Restovich is sent back to the minor leagues. James Baldwin was released. Rob Bowen was called up. So was Carlos Pulido, a great story in itself.
8/22/03 - Shannon Stewart 4, Royals 3
Stewart knocks in 4 and has proven to be a good acquisition. I had to eat a little crow. Not the whole crow, but some! The Twins are now a ½ game ahead of the Royals and ½ game behind the White Sox!
8/29/03 - Your Thoughts on the Twins
You chimed in with your thoughts on whether the Twins could win the division or not! Some still thought they could. Some really didn’t think they would. Here’s what my thoughts on the question were:
But, feel free to call me “the very naïve”, I still think that the Twins have a very good, very realistic chance of winning the division. First, they are just 1 ½ games behind the White Sox. They play said White Sox seven more times this season. These will be absolutely crucial games that the Twins will have to win 4 or 5 out of, if they want to win the division. The big reason that I think that the Twins could still win the division are their last 9 games. Seven against the Tigers and two against the Indians.
Let’s be honest, the White Sox, until the last week, have been the Twins equal in terms of not living up to the expectations that the players on their roster should warrant. They have been extremely inconsistent the past two years. So the fact that they are currently on a hot streak just means that they are due to go on one of their patented cold streaks.
9/4/03 - Back in First (And What a Game!)
Bottom of the 9th, Shannon Stewart doubles, Dustan Mohr is sent home. Out by a mile, Mohr barrels into Angels catcher Bengie Molina, who loses the ball. Mohr scores and Stewart comes around to score the winning run, and the Twins jump into first place! David Ortiz hits 2 homers for the Red Sox to help defeat the White Sox.
9/10/03 - Big Series à Game 2 (White Sox 8, Twins 6)
The Twins lose the first two games of a series in Chicago and fall 2 games behind those White Sox. I write about the frustration of the Twins season, and even start looking ahead to 2004! But, well, the Twins have no lost since then. The Twins have won 12 of their last 13 games (including 5 in a row against the White Sox), and the Sox have gone just 4-10 since then!
The Twins have since swept three from the White Sox at home, followed by three from the Tigers. Last night they won Game 1 of the 2 game set with the Indians, and with help, officially clinched the division title and a spot in the playoffs!!!
And I have to say this (cuz she’s making me) - My sister, Heather, had to tell me that she never had any doubt. And, she really didn’t. She would always call and yell at me for being so negative, so pessimistic, so, well, honest about how the Twins were playing. All along, she had no doubt in her mind! (is that sufficient, Heather?)
DISCUSSION QUESTION OF THE WEEK
That brings us to this week’s discussion questions! I have already received quite a few responses to the two questions, but want to hear more. Please send me an e-mail with your thoughts my about 8 p.m. central time today (Wednesday) and your thoughts could be posted in tomorrow’s entry! So, here are the questions:
Question #1 - The Twins have the best record in baseball since the All-Star Game. Why? Is it because of the Shannon Stewart trade? Is it because Johan Santana was put into the starting rotation? Is it the lineup change (Rivas to #2, Mientkiewicz to #3 and Guzman to #9)? Or, is it something else? What do you think? Send me an e-mail and give me your thoughts!
Question #2 - Why do we hate the White Sox so bad? Michael Labuda of ChiSox Daily asked the question yesterday, and it made me try to remember the reasons. Here is what he wrote:
“I never really understood why the White Sox generate so much hostility. Last week, in about his tenth post in a row dancing on the Sox's grave, Gleeman made comments about how cocky and arrogant the Sox were. I guess he’s talking about Ray Durham’s comments – last year. Uh, well, he’s no longer on the team. Or maybe he’s mad because Billy Koch said the Twins got some lucky bounces last season. Hardly cocky and arrogant stuff.
Anyway, I went to the game Friday night and had a good time. The Sox won, and its fun to watch them play when their hitting well. As for this club being cocky and arrogant, that’s not a very apt description. Konerko’s a good guy. Magglio says less than ten words a season. Lee seems to have a good time playing. Thomas can be difficult, but I’ve never seen him disrespect other teams. Manuel’s nickname is “Gandhi” for crying out loud… If anything, the Sox lacked confidence against the Twins and were too deferential. I think they could of used some arrogance. So where does the hostility come from? Is Hawk that annoying?”
Well, let’s answer that question for Mr. Labuda, so he can understand why we, as Twins fans in general, dislike the White Sox so much. To be perfectly honest, I really can’t remember, and what Michael wrote sounds pretty accurate to me! Durham doesn’t play for them and Koch, although controversial in his comments, isn’t good enough to worry about what he thinks. E-mail me with “Why We Hate the White Sox?”
Again, here is the process for the Discussion Question of the Week:
1.) Re-read the above questions, and think about them.
2.) Send me an e-mail with your thoughts by Wednesday night about 9 p.m. central time.
3.) Check back here on Thursday to see what ‘we’ think!
That’s it for today! Be sure to check out more Twins information using the links at the left hand side of this site! Send me an e-mail and we can discuss the Twins or anything else you’d like.
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