In sports, would you bet on past production or potential?
It would seem obvious the goal of every major league baseball team would be to make it to the World Series. Good for the careers of the players and coaches, natch, and the owners make more money. I hate to be cynical, but it appears obvious to me that the Minnesota Twins are not doing the most obvious thing to get there.
This is just an opinion, I’m nowhere near a statistician, but I have played baseball a good part of my life, have coached, and am a fan…so I claim my right to an opinion. You can disagree, of course, but I believe it’s obvious. Field players can help … that’s HELP a team get close to a championship, maybe, and the Twins are really sweet: picking up old guys who might still have something left in the tank, other team’s rejects who are real versatile and good in the clubhouse, and of course young guys who have all this darling potential … which I certainly hope suddenly appears this year. But “bet” on it? Uhuh.
But, what seems obvious is, that without top notch pitching, all that spinning of the value of support players may get us to 500%, but nowhere near the World Series. Don’t agree? Let’s take a look at the three times we made it to the big show, and you tell me if it’s not obvious
1965, our first trip. I was there for every home game…skipped high school classes and snuck in through a hole in the fence with my girlfriend (now my wife) for two. Pitchers: Mudcat (great name) Grant. 21-7 that year with 3.30 ERA. Jim Kaat … 18/11, 2.83 ERA. Camilo Pascual … 9-3, 3.35 ERA. A solid closer in Al Worthington. We even had an oldie: Jim Perry who helped us get there: 12-7, 2.63 ERA. Of course the main reason we lost was L.A. had maybe the best pitcher of all time: Sandy Koufax.
1987: our first glorious championship. Pitchers: Ace – Frankie Viola…17-10, 2.9 ERA. Bert Blyleven… 15/12, 4.01 ERA. Our third pitcher in the Series was Les Straker who was only 8-10 on the year but a decent ERA at 3.37. We were considered lucky to get there, but the series showed that in the Series you can get by with two knock-out pitchers. Yes it was a fun team, but c’mon: Frankie and Bert!? Jeff Reardon was a more than adequate closer. Down town was amazing after game seven.
1991: What we remember is the infamous 10 inning Jack Morris game. He was 18-12 for the year with a 3.43 ERA. But we also had Kevin Tampani… 16-9, 2.99 ERA. Scot Erickson finally reached his potential: 16-9, 3.18 ERA. And probably our best closer, ever, Aguilera.
I’ve always read that the Pohlads are willing to spend money. Really?! In Sid’s column I saw that Jim Pohlad said there’s still room (money) under the cap or whatever… but “That doesn’t mean we have to spend it.” Bullshit! That’s the attitude of a 500% team, at the most, which I’m worried is our fate this year. Our “ace” was the only pitcher last year over 500 – ONE game! If the goal is the World Series, you’ve gotta spend the money. A successful banker that never heard “you gotta spend money to make money!?” And, you gotta spend it on pitching. A support cast can help. Potential adds suspense. But middling pitching … a middling record.
It’s obvious. (Comments?)