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

12 Replies to “Charlie Brown and Lucy”

  1. This morning as I came to the realization that I’m not angry about the outcome of this series. I’m just incredibly disappointed by it.

  2. Good grief about sums it up. Somebody else wrote, “Sometimes you just lose.”
    Thanks to the Twins for keeping it interesting this late in the year.
    Thanks to you folks for the blog. I have enjoyed it since early June when I stumbled in.


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  4. I’m usually an optimist but I am really disheartened by what happened the last 3 weeks. I look at the financial commitments that already exist for next year and I just don’t see how the Twins can improve their post-season chances significantly in 2011. I suspect that by February I’ll have regained some of my optimism — but for now, maybe its good that Dish Network isn’t carrying FSN — at least I won’t have to see 2010 Twins highlights.

  5. “It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone. You count on it, rely on it to buffer the passage of time, to keep the memory of sunshine and high skies alive, and then just when the days are all twilight, when you need it most, it stops.”

    from “The Green Fields of the Mind ” by A. Bartlett Giamatti

    I feel badly that so many of you are so frustrated and disappointed. I’m not sure I can explain why I’m not. When I try, I seem to piss people off. At some point in my life I decided to stop looking forward and just enjoy what is. That’s the best I can do. I only feel sad when the season is over. But I’m still glad it happened. And that it will happen all over again starting next year 🙂

  6. so, if you are a bad team and you keep saying you can win but you keep losing, you are a winner? Cause that describes Tim Brewster and his Gophers perfectly.

  7. Don’t misunderstand… I’m absolutely certain that by the time pitchers and catchers report in February, I’ll “believe” again. We’ll have plenty of time for discussions about roster issues and such between now and then, but for the moment, I’m just going to decompress a bit and try to focus on as much “good” as possible. For example, James, you reminded me that it’s good to be a Hawkeye football fan (especially when you consider the alternatives)!

  8. WHERE OH WHERE did you get your information that the Yankee purposely ‘threw in the towel’ to play the Twins? Where, where, where – please tell me! Cuz I for one WILL NEVER, EVER believe the Yankees would ‘choke’ intentionally to lose. Yankees and Losing are something that organazation NEVER believes in.
    I, for one, was at a few Yankee Games in September, and believe me. On 10-6 I was actually WORRIED that no, this wasn’t our year, and Yes, the Twins have a really good shot this time. But I’ll tell you this much. You cannot blame ‘all of this’ on the yankees. Having watched the Twins the past week, I wouldn’t have expected them to beat Tampa, Texas, or NY. Maaaaaybe the Reds if you were in the NL. I saw absolutely NOTHING out of the twins that let me think they even WANTED to win.
    I like the Twins organazation. And that’s saying a LOT coming from a Yankee fan. Minny and St. Louis are 2 clubs that I actually like …the managers & players are very respectful ‘n classy with the way they go about things. PAVANO, now that’s another story (lol!)
    You’re the best team in the Central, and that’s great. But PLEASE don’t think the Yankees purposly tanked to play you guys. Any fan of Jeter could not even ENVISION him going along with the plan. It just wasnt your year. Again.