Charlie Brown and Lucy

I imagine a lot of Twins fans are doing what I’m doing today… trying to figure out exactly how I feel about what we watched this week. I haven’t found the words. “Disappointed” and “frustrated” aren’t strong enough. “Angry” is really too strong… it’s just a game after all and we’ll get to start over again in a few months. The right words simply escape me.

I can’t help but feel like this was all almost preordained. In fact, one of the goofball TBS talking heads last night used the analogy of the Yankees being Lucy to the Twins’ Charlie Brown. It was in reference to a situation where the Twins managed to get a runner on base and then immediately had him removed by an easy double play.

But there’s a difference between Charlie Brown and the Twins in that situation. Charlie Brown, deep in his heart, believed he would successfully kick that football every time Lucy held it for him. I’m not sure the Twins even expected to do anything other than see their runner erased by a double play. All series long, I kept looking for evidence that this incarnation of the Twins believed they would be successful. Some of them talked about how this year could be different, but while some of them perhaps felt they could win, the Yankees clearly believed they WOULD win. Anyone who’s ever competed in team sports knows the difference.

The Yankees were so certain that they would defeat the Twins in this series that they intentionally threw the American East Championship to the Rays, preferring giving up home field advantage in the ALDS to the Twins over having to face Cliff Lee and the Rangers in the first round. If I had been a member of the Twins, I would have taken that as an enormous insult. The heartbreaking thing, to me, is that our Twins seemed to agree. I don’t blame the Yankees. Blaming them is like blaming the lion for killing the zebra. You don’t blame someone for doing what comes naturally… what they’ve always done.

So I don’t believe the Yankees are Lucy to the Twins’ Charlie Brown. Lucy yanks the football away from Charlie Brown, sending him flying through the air and landing on his ass, time after time because she manages to convince Charlie that she won’t do exactly that this time. The Yankees make no such effort to convince the Twins the results will ever be any different than they’ve always been. In fact, they openly flaunted it, to the extent that they overtly chose to play the Twins in the ALDS.

No… Lucy in this little farce is played by the Twins and I’m Charlie Brown. Year after year, I go down to Spring Training and let myself get excited about the upcoming season. They spend 162 regular season games convincing me that this year’s Twins are more than just a legitimate AL Central Division contender. Like Lucy, they find ways to make me believe that this will be the year that I’ll get to see the team I’ve rooted for since 1961 get past the first round of the playoffs, even if that means beating the Yankees.

And yet, year after year, by the end of the first week of October, here I sit… wondering why the hell I bothered to believe this year would be different when even the team itself so clearly never really believed they would get past the Evil Empire.

As I sat down to write this and tried to capture the words that described how I feel today, I really struggled… was it disappointment, frustration, resignation, anger, betrayal? None of them really fit. Then it dawned on me.

The words I’m looking for are, “Oh, good grief!” – JC