What your view of sports and life would be if you had too many concussions
Is there a sport richer with tradition than baseball? Think about it…from the ceremonial first pitch to the parade for the winners of the World Series, baseball oozes tradition. But not all traditions are good. With spring training underway, it is time to look at the Minnesota Twins, and three traditions that franchise really needs to end.
1) Haggling with the superstar talent, or failing that, sticking them on a bus.
The current contract wrangling involving uber-catcher Joe Mauer is just the latest in a long line of Twins’ decisions with “star” players. Twice in the past 20 years, the Twins have somehow managed to sign one of their stars for less than the market would have borne for them. Kent Hrbek passed on a big deal from the Red Sox to stay in Minnesota, and Kirby Puckett kept his address in the Land of 10,000 Lakes when the Twins made him baseball’s first $3 million per year player.
At least in those cases, and hopefully in Mauer’s as well, the Twins managed to get the deal done. This is crucial as when deals don’t get done, or if the Twins even think the price is going to be too high, they have no problem shipping a guy out of town. In fact, one could make a respectable Major League team were it possible to field in their primes all the guys the Twins let go via trade or free agency.
The Twins All-Time “Let ‘em Go” Team
The master of this practice was old-school owner and professional cheapskate Calvin Griffith. Griffith never met a penny he didn’t pinch so hard that Abe Lincoln farted.
It was rumored that Griffith sported flexor pollicus longus muscles rivaling those of Mark McGwire and Magilla Gorilla, muscles so powerful that he could crush a cinder block simply by clenching it in his massive thumbs.
He used those titanic opposing digits to point out the road to Orange County, California, as many Twins were shipped down that road to the Angels. The list is long, and ranges from hall of famer Rod Carew to utility infielder Rob Wilfong, with solid major league talent sandwiched in between like Lyman Bostock, “Disco” Danny Ford, Geoff Zahn; and after Griffith’s reign Bert Blyleven and Gary Gaetti.
2) The “Value” Free-Agent
While it is too late to stop this madness for this season, Twins fans must unite and demand an end to this madness now. Saving a few dollars on a guy who is past his prime never works.
Granted, Shannon Stewart and Chili Davis had flashes of productivity, but you have to admit the rest of the list over the past 20 years can be a bit frightening.
3) The Rookie of the Year Curse
Thank God Joe Mauer didn’t win this award, because it would doom him to a shortened career, being traded, or an early death.
As Twins fans move forward into an era with a new ballpark, let see if the franchise can make a similar stride past these not-so-good traditions. After all, Minnesota already has the Vikings, and that should be more than enough futility for one state.