GOSO: Royals 6, Twins 1

Molitor had suggested starting Torii Hunter in right field, or having him pinch-hit, or sending a replacement out to allow him to walk to the dugout to a big ovation, but the 40-year-old Hunter rejected all such notions. Molitor even called Hunter again Sunday morning to make sure he hadn’t changed his mind, but the veteran said he didn’t want a manufactured “moment.”

“I’ve had my moment,” he said.

This Twins season was full of surprises, but this tidbit about Torii demurring from the spotlight might be the most surprising thing to occur this season. Maybe he is gaining some wisdom in his old age, which makes me believe that he is more likely to retire. Supposedly, we'll find out after the college football season.

As for the game, this had a real spring training road game feel to it. Ricky Nolasco was only allowed 50 pitches and pitched like he hadn't been on the mound in months (which was nearly true). The young kids were all in the lineup with a few veteran bench players getting a chance to play an entire game since most of them hadn't played much this month while the Twins were still in contention.

The highlight of the game was Max Kepler getting his first major league hit on a single to right field. What was real surprising is he was batting third, which should give you some idea of what the Twins feel about his future as a hitter.

As for some end of the year stuff, it was nice to see Sano keep his OPS above .900 despite him cooling off late in the season. It was hard to say how much of that was the hamstring that was bothering him, but still, a .916 OPS at age 22 is pretty much off the charts good.

While it may not be surprising that a middle infielder finished second the team in OPS, the fact that it was Eduardo Escobar probably is to many. He took off in the second half once the Twins finally decided to stick with him at shortstop while All-Star Brian Dozier slumped to a .639 OPS in the second half.

I have some more thoughts on this surprising run later, but I think it's safe to say the Twins are better now than they were at the beginning of the season. I also have some grievances I would like to air, but I'll save that for Festivus.

5 thoughts on “GOSO: Royals 6, Twins 1”

  1. It's a tradition, at least in my mind, for me to post a version of this at the end of every season. Thank you for indulging me.

    T.C. Bear sat by his locker. As he took off his uniform for the last time this year, he reflected on the season just completed.

    The boys had played well this year, much better than expected, even if they hadn’t made the playoffs. He felt good about that. For him personally, it had also been a good season. He had entertained lots of people. He seemed to be as popular as ever, especially with the kids. Terry Ryan had assured him that the club would pick up his option for 2016. Not a bad season at all.

    Still, now it was over. Time to lay in some supplies and get ready to hibernate. Oh, he'd set his alarm to get up for TwinsFest and the Winter Caravan. He might even make a personal appearance or two. For the most part, though, it was time to rest after a long season.

    That was okay. He didn't mind sleeping through the long Minnesota winter. Except for one thing. Except for The Dream.

    It wasn't a bad dream; quite the opposite, in fact. It was always pretty much the same. The Twins were playing in the World Series. It was Game Seven. It was the bottom of the ninth, and the Twins trailed by three runs. The first two batters went out. Then, a rally. A bunt single, a strikeout/wild pitch, and a hit batsman loaded the bases. A home run would win the game.

    Paul Molitor needed a pinch-hitter. He looked down the bench. Then he looked up the bench. Then he looked under the bench. Then he looked into the stands and pointed. "T.C!" he shouted. "Grab a bat! You're in the game!"

    T.C. clambered down the stairs and leaped gracefully over the railing--as gracefully as a bear can leap, anyway. He grabbed his trusty bat, the bat with which he had won so many mascot home run derbies. He stepped into the batter's box. He worked the count to three-and-two. Then, BAM! He connected and sent the ball high and far, over the fence and into the Minnesota night. It was a grand slam! The Twins won the World Series!

    It was a wonderful dream, really. Except....

    He had talked to Paul Molitor many times, and the answer was always the same. Bears were not allowed to play in the major leagues. Nothing T.C. said could change his mind. He pointed out that such blatant discrimination was against the spirit of the Constitution. He pointed out that times were changing, and that many people now considered being a bear to be a legitimate lifestyle choice. He pointed out that, after all, Prince Fielder and Pablo Sandoval were allowed to play. None of it mattered. Gardy stood firm. Bears could not play in the major leagues, and that was that.

    Someday, T.C. vowed, this would change. Someday he would live in a world where a creature was judged, not by the texture of his covering, but by the content of his character. Someday he would live in a world where bearophobia was a thing of the past. Someday.

    Now, though, he was getting sleepy. It was time to hibernate. Because you can discriminate against a bear, you can try to keep him down, but there are two things you cannot do to a bear. You cannot break his spirit, and you cannot take away his dreams.

      1. My favorite line:

        He pointed out that, after all, Prince Fielder and Pablo Sandoval were allowed to play.

        Luv it!

  2. And if you notice something I forgot to change, well, I've noticed it now, too. Sorry about that.

  3. Seeing as how last year the Twins were mathematically eliminated on September 11th, this year was a total success in my book. Being competitive until game 160 is nothing to sneeze at, even if of course I'd have liked a different outcome. It's even better when the team wasn't expected to do so well. As far as I'm concerned, I got an extra month of enjoyable baseball out of this year that I wasn't planning on.

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