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Column: What could have been for the Minnesota Twins

Published 12:00am Thursday, October 12, 2006

Jon Laging, Talking Sports

Our Twins lost. They lost because they were out pitched, out hit and out played. It is tempting to wax philosophical over the Twins&8217; performance in the playoffs. But no matter how many critiques are written or how many words are spoken the facts remain the same. They lost three games in a row and they lost convincingly.

All the ifs, ands, or buts, do not change the result. But just as the moon waxes and wanes it is an immutable law that a fan tries to rationalize or rework the reasons that caused the defeat. It&8217;s difficult to just walk away and move to the Minnesota Vikings or our Gophers.

Therefore, pardon me if I describe some ifs and buts for the Twins to mull over with their candy and nuts this Christmas.

Torii Hunter, (The face of the Twins), was exactly that as he figured in two turning points of the playoffs. This is not to judge Hunter, but to point out what a fine line there is between winning and losing. His dive for a line drive in game two allowed two runs to score and gave the A&8217;s the lead. Who knows what the eventual outcome would have been if that had not occurred. If he had not been called out at home plate in the final game, the Twins would have three runs with a rally still in progress. Going further, if Morneau had caught the grounder the score may well have been 4-4 after his eventual home run. The Twins would have had a long way to go to win either game, but it was possible. This can be carried on ad infinitum. Its like saying if I didn&8217;t have hair, I&8217;d be bald.

I am a believer in fate. The tide of events. Toward the end of the season the good fortune attending the Twins began to worry me. The team was having too much good luck. Joe Mauer, after a month&8217;s slump, had two hits to win the batting title on the last day of the season. Detroit loses three games in a row to the worst team in baseball allowing the Twins to finish first in their division. I was worried the baseball gods would take revenge and they did. However, it seems if a team loses three games in a row, the last by a score of 8-3, the question is answered as to which is the best team.

One should then fold their Twins homer hanky and walk away saying, &8220;Well, it was a wonderful summer and we were beaten by a better team. Just wait &8216;til next year.&8221; That is the sporting and politically correct thing to do. But, I&8217;m not entirely convinced that Oakland was the better team. I still believe that all three games could have swung either way.

It may be that I am writing this too soon after the playoffs. As the days go by and my Twins T-shirts disappear in the laundry, my thoughts will probably be to let go of this season and look forward to next year.

But maybe they might turn to how we may appease the baseball gods. The Detroit Tigers found a way to defeat the Yankees after being defeated three straight games by the Kansas City Royals.

You remember the Yankees. They were the team that the Twins and their fans were so happy not to play. Detroit beat the Yanks almost as badly as Oakland defeated the Twins. I wonder how?

General George Patton believed God helps determine our fate. When Patton asked his chaplain to pray for clear weather and it happened during the Battle of the Bulge in WWII, Patton kept the Chaplain near him saying, &8220;Obviously he has an in with God.&8221;

I wonder if

Tom Kelly would say a few words for the Twins next year.

(Jon Laging writes a regional sports column from his home in Preston.)