The Twins are hurtingPublished 9:02am Thursday, September 9, 2010
Jon Laging, Talking Sports
Years ago I attended a workshop that focused on motivation. It started with two examples of Army companies. The first company was spit shined to a high polish. Its soldiers adhered to all the regulations including saluting the commanding officer whenever they could. They were in the rear echelon with light duties, good food, comfortable sleeping quarters and a great deal of off duty time.
The other Army group was at the front under miserable conditions. Cold rain, constant pounding by the enemies’ artillery, very little sleep and food when they could get it. They hardly ever bothered saluting their commanding officer.
One would think that the first group would have better morals and be more efficient. Not so, the second group came out best in a study done by the Army. Why? The study showed that the second group came together under adversity. That they were all in the mess together, relied upon each other and formed a bond. By necessity they were more efficient and morale was higher as they pulled together for a common cause.
I hope this Army study also proves true for baseball teams. They have roughly the same organizational chart as the Army. President, general manager, manager, coaches and the foot soldiers; players. If adversity worked for the Army, it should work for the Twins. Many of the Twins players have been injured, and the team all season has been playing under those circumstances, in fact some would call it under adversity.
The injured list begins with Orlando Hudson. O’Dawg has been on the disabled list twice and has missed a number of other games with nagging injuries. His running mate J.J. Hardy has lost even more time with a wrist injury. He was on the disabled list, came back too soon and again was lost to the team. He’s back now and after a time is playing well defensively and offensively. Let’s hope he stays well.
The biggest loss is of course, Justin Morneau. Morneau has been out since July, and it is uncertain when he’ll be back. No one is urging him to come back before he’s ready for we are talking about a possible life altering injury. Morneau’s loss has really crippled the Twins and if someone had foretold his injury, I doubt if anyone would have expected the Twins to contend for the Division. The team has pulled together extremely well in his absence. Thank goodness Michael Cuddyer has remained healthy. He is needed desperately, both as a first base replacement for Morneau and as the only right handed power stick with the exception of “hands of stone” Delmon Young.
Hall of Famer Jim Thome has been used cautiously by Gardenhire. Thome is somewhat fragile in body, but has performed magnificently when called upon. Starting third baseman at the start of the season Nick Punto, is still on the disabled list and Matt Tolbert is just coming off. Rightfielder Jason Kubel has recovered from a wrist injury and is now playing. However good-fielding, good-hitting rookie third baseman Danny Valencia is presently injured and sitting on the bench.
The pitching staff is hurting as well with Scott Baker and Kevin Slowey unable to pitch on occasion with Slowey losing the most time. The new all-star reliever Brian Fuentes has a stiff back and has not contributed much to date. And we can’t forget all-star closer Joe Nathan who the Twins lost in spring training.
If adversity is needed to bring a team together and be proficient, the Twins should be World Series champs.