August 11, 2018

Here and there, a few moments with the Twins

Perhaps I’ve been too hard on baseball writer, Roger Angell. I will admit to a growing sense of frustration as I read “Game Time,” a collection of his stories that spans at least 40 years, and wonder: All those years hanging around the diamond and he never wrote about the Twins?

It turns out, at least in this book, that he does indirectly mention the Twins in a piece about pitcher Bob Gibson.

Gibson detested being told what to throw by his catchers. During the 1965 All-Star game in Minnesota, Joe Torre, who was behind the plate, comes out to the mound to talk about pitching to Tony Oliva.

There was the one in Minnesota, when I was catching him and we were ahead 6-5, I think, in the ninth. I’m catching, and Tony Oliva, a great hitter, is leading off, and Gibby goes strike one, strike two. Now, I want a fastball up and in. … So I got out and tell him, and Gibby just gives me that look of his. Doesn’t say a word. I go back and squat down and give him the signal — fastball up and in — and he throws it down and in and Oliva hits it for a double to left center. To this day, I think Gibby did it on purpose. He didn’t want to be told anything.

Angell also writes about the 1991 World Series (How could he not, right?) and yet spills most of his ink on the Atlanta Braves during their National League championship series, and the team’s eventual appearance in the series opposite the Twins. The Twins, unfortunately, are reduced to cliché: Jack Morris is the old battler (“ferocious and durable”) and the Metrodome, we are reminded, is noisy. But Angell does a nice job of summing up just how incredible that series was.

This World Series is over, and we can watch its departure only with gratitude — a great ocean liner, brilliant with lights and the sounds of celebration, slipping off down the dark waters, not soon to come this way again.

Extra innings…

-About a week ago, I implored the Twins to stand up and show their true colors: Were they winners or losers? Well… I got my answer and it pains me to say that they lost three of four games to the Cleveland Indians, and lost the first game of a three game series to the Detroit Tigers. The Twins are now 11 games back of the Tribe.

-Meanwhile, Falvey & Co. continue to remake the Twins after they dealt closer Fernando Rodney to the surprising Oakland A’s for a pitching prospect. And there has been bad news: Starter Adalberto Mejia, who began to show promise, is back on the disabled list with a sore wrist. However, infielder Logan Forsythe, who came to the Twins via the Brian Dozier deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers, is hitting better than .400 the past week.


Hi, I’m Rolf Boone, Twins fan.

I became a fan of the Minnesota Twins after a friendly wager in the early 1980s. I survived Ron Davis, the meltdown in Cleveland, Phil Bradley at the Kingdome and then marveled at a rising generation of stars and two World Series wins in 1987 and 1991. Brad Radke made the 1990s bearable, while Kirby Puckett’s eye injury, exit from the game and eventual death made it almost too much to bear. The new century ushered in more talent — Joe Mauer, Johan Santana, Joe Nathan, Torii Hunter, Justin Morneau — and consecutive seasons of playoff baseball, followed by consecutive seasons of losing baseball. A winning season returned in 2015. So here we are. Go Twins.