How to beat the Yankees

Published 8:33am Friday, October 22, 2010

Jon Laging, Talking Sports

Before we let our Minnesota Twins sink into the afterlife, there needs to be yet another close examination of the Twins-Yankees matchup.

Jon Laging

There is a belief on the part of some, that no one is really gone from us until all living memories of that person are erased. I suppose that’s also true of our Twins or true at least until the next spring training. Although, it could be said of the 2010 Twins that the sooner the memory of their disastrous playoff daisappears the better.

There has been a lot of print and talk about how the Twins need more fight. That they should play in the manner of some previous fire-eating teams.

The Twins are known as a gentlemanly team in that they don’t try to show up the other team. I remember one instance specifically when Carlos Silva was pitching for the Twins. Silva pitched particularly well that day and after the last out exuberantly threw the ball into the stands. He was chewed out by Gardenhire and in the press being told that the Twins don’t play that way.

Now it may be that the Twins are a little too gentlemanly. They don’t brag and they don’t posture. Watching a Twin celebrate a home run is much different that watching a Viking celebrate a touchdown. I think that’s fine, and I don’t want to see Joe Mauer strutting. Mauer and Morneau are what they are and if they tried to change they probably wouldn’t play as well. They provide a solid, talented and hardworking base for the team.

The Twins don’t seem to have any trouble confronting teams other than the Yankees. They bettered both the Chicago White Sox and the Texas Rangers in head to head confrontations. In fact, of the White Sox’s pitcher Mark Buehrle knocked Jason Kubel down after their star Paul Konerko was hit. The Twins then proceeded to knock Buehrle out of the game and went on to win.

The only team that seems to intimidate the Twins are the Yankees. Perhaps there needs to be a guy who will look the Yanks in eye and will the Twins to win. The team could use a fiery Dan Gladden or a Bert “brush ‘em back” Blyleven. Much like the philosophy of the United States, not to be the aggressor, but to defend their country when attacked by Japan’s Tojo or in the Twins’ case a Yankee, C.C. Sabathia.

I like Ron Gardenhire and if I was fortunate enough to be a big leaguer I would love to play for him. However I think there needs to be a template, a guide or a philosophy set up when the Twins play the Yankees. I wish Gardy would set guidelines. I believe that if the team had an M.O. to fall back on they would respond in a winning manner. Let me give you an example: C.C. Sabathia, the 6-foot 8-inch 300-pound pitcher, is known for his inability to field his position. If a player bunts on him and Sabathia is unable to field it, the next batter or the bunter will have a fast ball thrown at him. Therefore, I didn’t see any bunts attempted. I have a suggestion: Every time Sabathia throws at a Twin, the Twins’ pitcher throws at a Yankee. Not to hurt the player, but to remind the Yanks that it works both ways. If Sabathia does not stop throwing at Twins on his own, the Yankee players will soon persuade him to do so.

This is not being aggressive, it is just defending your turf and I think everyone is allowed to do that and that includes nations and baseball teams. And if the Twins lose they lose, but at least the game is played on an even keel by gentlemen.