Twins History Lesson: Slow Starts Aren’t Fatal

You’re frustrated. I’m frustrated. The players, no doubt, are frustrated. Sitting 3-6 through the first three series of the season will cause that kind of thing.

The pitching has been a bit inconsistent, but compared to the hitting, the guys who make their livings throwing the ball are looking pretty darn good. But the bats… where, oh where, are the bats? If any team needed to build a giant pyre to burn their assbats, it’s this team. The guys performing the best on this team are, by any normal standards, doing just “OK”. The rest of the team has flat out stunk.

So what are we to do? Do we panic? Do we fire the manager? Do we trade everyone we can get anything for and release the rest? Do we swap rosters with Rochester?

No, to all of the above, of course.

It’s fine to be frustrated and concerned. It’s also fair to point out those players we have every reason to expect better performances out of. But it’s a bit premature to worry too much. It’s not like starting slow has always predicted ultimate defeat for this organization.

If you’re frustrated now, tell me how would you feel if the Twins had started the season by dropping two of three in Oakland and then did the same thing in the opening home series of the season to the Angels. And then, instead of improving, what if your Twins followed those two series by getting swept by the Mariners and dropping the first two games of a return series in Anaheim to stand 2-9 after the first 11 games? Time to fold up the tents, I suppose?

How would you feel if your leadoff hitter was hitting .032 through 11 games… just slightly worse than the .125 you were getting out of cleanup hitter? What if your Twins had been shutout three times in their first 10 games? Admit it… you’d be thinking about a panic attack, right?

That kinda makes this little 3-6 start seem not so bad, by comparison, doesn’t it?

Well you kids in the crowd may not remember the year I’m referring to, but the Twins of 1991 did indeed get off to an even rockier start than our guys are this season… though I’m not sure you’ll hear Dan Gladden bring up that .032 start to his 1991 season during a radio broadcast. Dazzle didn’t get his first hit until the fifth game of the season and went 7 more games before getting the next. That’s a slow start.

Yet, by the end of the season, Gladden and his team mates were doing some celebrating and the Twins had a nice shiny trophy for their trophy case.

So go ahead…be frustrated… be concerned… urge the team toward improved performance… but don’t give up. There’s still a little bit of the season left to play.

– JC