Monday, March 8, 2010


I’m sitting here on my couch, watching the Minnesota Timberwolves give up 71 points to the Dallas Mavericks in a first half where Dirk Nowitzki played only 10 minutes. I know what you are all thinking, “why in the world are you wasting a perfectly good Monday night on the Timberwolves?” Although that is a completely valid question, I feel that I have a completely valid answer. I am eternally optimistic.

I continue to watch the Timberwolves again, and again, and again… I watch them because I am fully on the “long-term plan” bandwagon, even though I know the odds are against “The Meerkat” David Kahn. I know that the one aspect to every successful NBA team is the presence of at least one superstar, and the Wolves just don’t have one. And without any future luck with some ping-pong balls, they will continue to lack this critical piece to a successful NBA franchise.

This extreme optimism has always been a characteristic of mine, mainly in the case of Minnesota sports. To give you a taste of just how ridiculous my optimism can be at times, prior to this NBA season I was quoted in a conversation with my father as saying, “the Timberwolves will win 30-35 games this season.” What in the world was I smoking?

The fact is, I wasn’t smoking anything; rather I was high or buzzed on the excitement of a fresh start, a new season for a team that I love.

I am optimistic that the Gopher basketball team will play well in the upcoming Big Ten tournament and maybe sneak into the big dance, I am optimistic that Brett Favre will return next season and the Vikings will have a good chance to win the Super Bowl, but most of all I am optimistic about the upcoming Twins season.

Things that add to my excitement are pictures like the one below showing the tarp removed and green grass showing at Target Field, and the fact that I received my invitation to my season ticket holder open house later in March.

My optimism has been a bit dampened as of late due to the reports regarding Joe Nathan’s elbow tightness, soreness, discomfort, inflammation, etc. (depending on what you have read). However, just as with everything else, I will continue to believe that he is just fine and that it was “just the breaking up of scar tissue” causing the discomfort, and that it was to be expected during the recovery, until it is reported otherwise.

Regardless of my optimism regarding Joe Nathan, it will be what it will be. The loss of Nathan would be an enormous blow to the Twins and their pitching staff this season. Over the past six years Joe Nathan has been arguably the best closer in baseball. Just for fun, look at these numbers from the past 6 seasons and guess who player x and player y are:

Player X Player Y

Saves 246 243

Save % 90.8 93.1

ERA 1.87 1.90

K/9 11.1 8.7

Opp. BA .182 .206

WHIP .093 .094

Due to my obvious foreshadowing, it was easy to guess that Joe Nathan represents one of the players, and most baseball fans would be able to guess that Mariano Rivera would be the other. What may surprise you is the fact that player x is Joe Nathan, rather than the other way around. Nathan has been better in every category with the exception of save percentage. Obviously Nathan has had some late season struggles in his past 2 seasons, with last year’s postseason struggles being fresh in everybody’s minds. Regardless of what happened late last season, Joe Nathan still has a lot left in the tank and will extremely important to the Twins’ success this upcoming season.

Although the Nathan situation has dampened my optimism a bit, solid outings by Kevin Slowey and Nick Blackburn today have temporarily renewed my excitement. At least until the reports come out tomorrow regarding Joe Nathan’s status.

As spring training roles on, I will continue to read accounts of the games based on the opinions of sports writers, while supplementing their analysis with some box score analysis of my own. Until the regular season begins and I am able to watch the Twins on a daily basis, I will continue to be optimistic about the prospects of this “new and improved” lineup, and the hope that our pitching staff can stabilize and be solid this season.

Most people will laugh at my optimism, and some call me a “homer,” but the bottom line is that I am able to look at the Twins from a non-biased perspective and I choose not to. I choose to be optimistic about my hometown Minnesota Twins because it is just more fun this way, and quite frankly I am excited about the thought of outdoor baseball finally returning to Minnesota.

Am I optimistic that Joe Mauer will sign a contract extension with the Twins before the season starts? Yes. Do I believe that Justin Morneau and Pat Neshek will return from injuries and be productive this season? Yes. Am I confident that the Twins starting rotation will be better this year with the help of a "revitalized" Francisco Liriano? Sure. Do I think that Delmon Young can become the player everybody thought he would when he was selected #1 overall? Why not! The bottom line is that I am a Twins fan, which is short for fanatic. I get excited about them and I always will. The day that the Twins are simply another team and represent only statistics or analysis rather than a passion, would be a sad day in my life as a sports fan.


  1. love it adam. your brother and i always get into crazy arguments when i try to convince him how "solid" kevin love is and how much upside jonny flynn has, he just says he doesnt care cuz they are awful. im like you and hope favre entertains once again on and off the field, and also think that we have sufficient relievers in mijares and rauch to get by without a vital part of our team

    Michael Dexter

  2. Isn't it nice how they stuck it next to a garbage burning facility and you can see the waste entering the atmosphere from the stadium? Stay Classy Twins