As you may have ascertained from my recent musings in this space, I am a diehard New York Yankees fan, and no, not of the bandwagon variety either. I remember well the infields consisting of the likes of Alvaro Espinoza and Mike Gallego and the pitching staffs of prison inmates like Steve Howe and Pascual Perez. So, I have been a loyal patron of the pinstriped squad. In fact, I often am guilty of taking the Bronx Bombers too seriously. But this year, while my Yankee allegiance is unyielding, I will be supporting another American League team: the Minnesota Twins.
Yes, that’s right, I will be pulling for the Twinkies to win the American League Central. Before I tell you why, let me clear up two things. First, should Minnesota actually win the crown, and face the Yankees in a playoff series, I will still be pulling for the Yankees. I just want the Twins to win their division, and if they can manage that while being swept by the Bronx Bombers during the season series, so much the better.
Second, I was never one to believe in rooting for more than one team. It disgusts me when others will say “Well, I like the Phillies, but if they don’t win, the Marlins are pretty good.” No. Doesn’t work that way, sports fans, and in this case I use the word “fan” loosely.
So, what excuse do I have to be rooting for the Twins? Simple. I’d like to see the bigwigs of Major League Baseball attempt to contract a team that has just won its division and earned a playoff berth.
To make a long story short, MLB Commissioner Bud Selig and company wanted to do away with Minnesota, a team that led its division for much of the 2001 season, last fall. And they were only a court battle away from doing so. The Twins were granted a one-year reprieve, thanks in large part to their loyal fans — who I guess just don’t matter in Selig’s eyes — who signed petitions and protested the situation. But it is widely believed that the greedy group of owners and executives will try again to slay the Twins upon the conclusion of this season.
Why would anybody want to get rid of the Twins, you ask? The bottom line is that the franchise’s bottom line is in the red, and they have an owner, Carl Pohlad, who wanted no part of the team, but refused to sell to any prospective Minnesota buyers.
But Minnesota is by no means the only team losing money. And I’ll be the first to admit that this is a major problem that baseball needs to address. But rather than thinking about a better solution that would require some work — which, yes, believe it or not, is part of the responsibility of being a baseball executive — such as a very tight salary cap (which the voracious players’ union would never go for) or revenue sharing (which the owners would never approve), those calling the shots would just as soon do away with a franchise that is just 11 years removed from a World Series title and should be a serious contender for the division crown this year.
Baseball is affectionately known as America’s Pastime. If Selig gets his way, time will be exactly that for the Minnesota Twins.