September 21, 2004
Euphoria and Disgust
If you were anything like me last night, this is how you watched the Twins celebration:
FSN: Yay! The Twins won! Look at all the champagne. It doesn't get any better than this. Let me flip on over to the Vikings game...
Channel 5: Daunte! You moron! Hold on to the freaking ball! Sheesh! My whole night is ruined. I wonder what is happening with the Twins...
FSN: Oh look! Torii has goggles on! Hilarious! Man I love this team. I am so happy! Hmmm ... maybe Daunte crossed the goal line before he fumbled...
Channel 5: Daunte! You were about 5 millimeters away from the goal line! I swear my daughter has stronger hands than you! HOLD ON TO THE BALL!!!!
I have a funny feeling that was how most of us watched TV last night.
So, looking at the picture, on the right we have a team that knows how to win, and on the left we have a team that has yet to figure that out.
The Twins clinching in Chicago was a thing of beauty. A great pitching performance by Carlos Silva (who has all but wrapped up that third playoff spot) and a dominating performance by the Twins hitters. The White Sox players just talk, while the Twins let their bats do the talking. Mark Buehrle was absolutely put in his place early with two two-run home runs in the first inning. None was better than Torii Hunter's, since Torii took Buehrle's comments last week the most personal. I tell you what, Torii has really stepped up this year into a leadership role on the team, and he obviously has it in him to take it to another team when he feels a message needs to be sent.
And unlike years past the Twins cannot take it easy now. They have a real shot at home field advantage in the ALDS, most likely against the Red Sox. I don't know about you, but the Red Sox make me nervous with Pedro and Schilling on the mound for the first two games, not to mention the one-time dominant Derek Lowe. Actually, the Twins might face Tim Wakefield. His knuckleball has always given the Twins trouble. However, the Metrodome has got to give the Twins an edge. The last time the Twins faced Pedro at the Dome they won, but only after Pedro was taken out. With Radke and Santana pitching the way they've been ptiching recently, though, I really like our chances and I don't care who we are playing.
The Vikings ... ugh. It is amazing how you can be so pumped up for the game only to be so crushed at the end of it. The game was dominated by Viking mistakes and mistakes by the officials. Let's take a look back:
- The Vikings stopped the Eagles on their first drive. The phantom holding call on Winfield should have never been called.
- Rosenthal leaving the game with an injury began a painful night for the Vikings O-line. Haayer got abused by Kearse, and Daunte had no time in the pocket the whole game.
- Daunte getting stuffed on the goal line in the first quarter was only the beginning of red zone difficulties the Vikes would have the whole game.
- Speaking of which, every time the Vikings crossed the 50, they would implode under holding and false start penalties. And who is this Dugan kid? It may be time for the practice squad for him.
- Matt Birk's holding penalty wiped out yet another Viking touchdown in the third.
- But Daunte's fumble at the goal line was the biggest killer. If not for that fumble, the Vikings would have been up 13-10 going into half time. That fumble just punched me in the gut.
- T.O.'s TD was obviously not a touchdown. Although the officials should have never called it a touchdown, Tice should have thrown the red flag. I mean, wasn't anyone watching replays of the play up in the Vikings' booth?
I'm sure there other examples of ineptitude, but these should cover it for now. Matt Birk said after the game that it isn't a talent issue, and it isn't an effort issue. It is an execution issue. The Vikings choked, and that is all there is to it. They have not figured out how to win the big game on the road and until they do they won't get very far. Thankfully the season is young, and the mistakes they made can definitely be corrected, but just this once I wanted Daunte and Randy to step up and lead the Vikings and prove that this is a different team. Unfortunately I'm still waiting for proof. The only silver lining is that Green Bay lost at home to the Bears. There, now doesn't that make you feel better?
To wrap it up, at the same time the Twins were celebrating we had Daunte Culpepper coughing up the ball yet again (and right at the goal line! Ahhh!!!). So, a night of euphoria and disgust. The life of a Minnesota sports fan in a nutshell.
And for those of you that are wondering, I love Daunte Culpepper. I wouldn't trade him for anyone. I just wish he would hold onto the ball, or at the very least limit his fumbles at the goal line.
That describes my evening and thought process perfectly. The Vikings performance took some of the joy out of the Twins clinching and celebration at the Cell, which was what I hoped for (the Twins clinching there in Chi and trashing their clubhouse).
Focusing on the positive, the Yankees and RedSox don't scare me. Oakland never survives the first round, so the Twins will have to beat the Yankees and the RedSox both, only the order they beat them is in doubt. They both have potent line ups, but the Yankees pitching is a mess, and the RedSox pitching is overrated. Pedro hasn't been that sharp lately, and I'd put my money on Santana against Schilling (or any other pitcher in the league). I think the Twins will advance either way, but more home games would be good so I hope they pass Oakland in wins.
The question is, which WS rematch do you want to see? Twins-Braves, Twins-Cards, or Twins-Dodgers?
Posted by: kurtis at September 21, 2004 10:23 AM
I like your faith! I am relieved to hear someone say they think the Red Sox pitching staff is overrated. I do think the Red Sox pitchers are better than the Yankees' pitchers, but I agree that the Twins can take either staff. Truly, the Twins are on a heckuva roll right now and I also think that little will stop them at this point.
So, that leaves the WS. I gotta go with a rematch of the 1987 series, Twins vs. Cards. That would be fun to watch. Man! With a three man rotation featuring Santana and Radke (who always pitches well in the playoffs) the Twins are going to be hard to beat!
Posted by: Shane at September 21, 2004 10:43 AM
The Yankees are very beatable, as are the Red Sox. I agree with Curt that Oak is a non-factor (assuming they win the West, Anaheim is a different story). The Twins are very well set to handle the AL. I want no part of the Cardinals, that lineup is sick. Johan cannot pitch to them every night, that lineup is a 5 run inning waiting to happen at any time
Posted by: Cheesehead Craig at September 21, 2004 11:06 AM