A daily accumulation of history and present as I follow the 2011 year through the baseball season and reflect on the glories and disappointments of the greatest game on Earth.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Jack Morris

Back then, the Twins were a dynasty. A guy named Smoltz wanted to prove otherwise. He took the final game of the 1991 World Series into the 10th inning, but didn’t come back for the bottom of the inning when Jack Morris, a warhorse if ever there was an unsung hero, closed the gates on the Atlanta offense and again shut them out. Over the year, Morris won 18 games, but for all that greatness, he left the next year to win 21 games for a revamped Blue Jay team that wasn’t going to settle for being an also ran anymore. Prior to retiring with 254 wins, 2,478 strikeouts, and a 3.90 ERA, he had some heroics to perform on the game’s biggest stage.
In the end, Dan Gladden and Alejandro Pena provided all the offense that was needed and Minnesota was victorious. The Twins cities were getting a trophy and life was good.
But then, they fell by the wayside in the mid 1990s minus Kirby Puckett, and Bud Selig tried to contract them. The Yankees of course swooped in to take their superstar, Chuck Knoblauch, a second basemen with all the tools to be great. Somehow, he lost his ability to throw correctly, found steroids, and came up without a career.
It wasn’t a good period of time.
In the 2000s, the Twins rebuilt with some solidity in offense and a starting pitcher named Johann. Unfortunately, they had a reliever named Nathan and weren’t able to ever close the deal on anything. Even with a guy named Joe who the town just loved and another pair of guys named Justin and Michael who were also the bee’s knees, it just couldn’t completely click even if they seemed to be in the running every year.
But perhaps it was the dome stadium.
So this year, they got rid of it. Now, they’re playing in the fresh air and beating up on Boston. It doesn’t seem like it was much of a contest. Frickin’ Carl Pavano, the biggest (to the tune of $12million a year in those Yankees’ years) malingerer in professional sports shut down the offense, and Jon Lester let up enough runs that Boston couldn’t come back from behind. Now, they’re 6-2 while Boston slumps to 3-4. David Ortiz continues to stink up the room with his .136 batting average, 2 RBIs and no homeruns. Mike Lowell continues to ride the bench.
So in the great north of America, it’s a good day for sports. A lot to the east and a little bit to the south, Boston seems to have to wonder if they can overtake Tampa Bay for 2nd place this year.
Nevertheless, Joe Mauer seems worth every penny going for 3 for 5 and hitting .423 this year. There is definitely a new order in sports these days. This guy is a class act. If only he can stay healthy, he might end up making guys like Piazza and Bench seem rather pedestrian.
Only time will tell, but other than the New England side of the year, this could be a great year for baseball. After all, Albert Pujols is batting .407 with 5 homeruns and 14 RBIs.
Focus on the good things… focus on the good things (more Ryan Howard strikeouts, please).

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