There’s been a lot of joy in Mudville this past week.
Let me clarify that. Minnesota Twins fans like me have a lot to be happy about these days. Our “Boys of Summer” share first place with the Kansas City Royals in the American League’s Central Division with a 28-18 record.
They also are tied with the Los Angeles Dodgers for the third-best record in all of Major League Baseball, just behind the surprising Houston Astros and the perennially strong St. Louis Cardinals. And this despite not having a regular player hitting over .280 and no bona fide No. 1 starting pitcher.
This comes after a horrendous 1-6 start when the Twins were outscored 41-16, and it looked like the team was on its way to a fifth straight 90-plus loss season.
Needless to say, the naysayers were out in full force just one week into the 2015 season. I heard all the usual from just about everywhere:
“They have no starting pitching.” “Joe Mauer is overpaid and washed up.” “Torii Hunter is over-the-hill.”
Well, consider these stats:
Twins pitchers have a team ERA of 3.94, good for 16th out of 30 teams. Starters Kyle Gibson (4-3) and Mike Pelfrey (4-1) have ERA less than 3.00 — Gibson at 2.72, Pelfrey at 2.77.
Mauer is hitting a modest .273 but is second on the team with 27 RBI. And although he has only one home run, his 10 doubles only trail Brian Dozier’s 13. He also has two triples.
And Hunter, he’s another story. In his return to the Twins — after stints with the Angels and Tigers — Torii is hitting .280, leads the team in RBI (29), is tied for second in home runs (7) as well as providing much-needed leadership in the clubhouse.
Here’s the rub: Because of this, it seems there now are Twins’ boosters everywhere. Even watching MLB this afternoon, the Twinkies are picking up a little respect from the analysts.
As a die-hard fan, I’m glad to see the Twins excelling. But what I don’t like is all of the people who have unceremoniously jumped on the bandwagon after dissing the Twins the past four years and this spring.
The bottom line is if you are going to be a fan, you have to be one whether your team is winning or losing. Period!
The Mighty Casey’s fans stuck with him when he struck out!