Column: The Twins’ destiny is meant to be

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 3, 2006

Jon Laging, Talking Sports

Hours of time and reams of paper are spent analyzing our baseball team. The Minnesota Twins.

Analyses are fun and sometimes a writer’s predictions hit future events right on the nose.

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Sometimes not. Statistics and juggled scenarios are used. Occam’s razor and other fancy aids are used to reach conclusions that may or may not become true.

I’ve decided that while these methods may be entertaining there are higher forces at work that determine how our Twins will fare.

Many people believe that destiny is inescapable. It is irrevocable and will without doubt occur.

Fate. Fate is widely believed in and is used in many philosophies. More commonly, authors use it as a literary device. Movies many times provide the outcome early and you watch as fate catches up with the hero and heroine in the last reel. You know that the characters cannot escape the ending. Even Shakespeare used fate in his tale of &8220;Romeo and Juliet.&8221; He begins the play with a prologue telling us that Romeo and Juliet are star-crossed lovers. We watch and know they cannot escape their fate.

In the last column I compared the &8216;91 world champion Twins with our current team. Mostly to give a feel for our present Twins. The &8216;91 team seemed to have better position players. The comparison was not laden with a great many statistics, but on knowledge of both teams. That’s perhaps a more effective method than using esoteric statistics. I admit statistics have their place and can tell us things that would otherwise be overlooked. But, I am not a big believer in statistics. I think they can easily be misinterpreted. For example, I don’t think the number of errors made by a team means much in determining a team’s defense. Twins’ television announcers Dick Bremer and Bert Blyleven kept repeating time after time how error free the Twins were during the first part of the season with Castro and Batista. It’s true. They did not make many errors. It’s also true that if you don’t get to a batted ball you won’t make an error. It seemed to me on occasion that they avoided difficult plays. Perhaps not, but it looked a little suspicious to me.

Getting back to the teams of &8216;91 and 2006 it looks like the pitching staff of the &8216;91 team with Jack Morris, Scott Erickson, Kevin Tapani and Rick Aquilera was a good one, perhaps the best in the American League. Possible future Hall of Famer Jack Morris was the hero of the &8216;91 World Series. Kevin Tapani had a season ERA of less than 3.00 and 20-game winner Scott Erickson finished second in the Cy Young voting to Roger Clemens. Rick Aquilera was a good closer, perhaps not quite a Joe Nathan, but very good.

Perhaps the pitching comparison would boil down to: If I had one game I had to win, whom would I choose? I’d be happy to put Jack Morris out there, but for a sheer dominating pitcher I’d have to go with Francisco Liriano. My second choice would be Johan Santana. Jack Morris would be a close third followed by Kevin Tapani and Scott Erickson. One would have to give the nod to the 2006 team in quality with quantity going to the &8216;91s. But what do you need in the short playoffs? Quality!

If the Twins&8217; minor league phenom, pitcher Matt Garza turns out as advertised the Twins have three aces, three No. 1 pitchers. Unheard of.

It’s time for the final call. Which team would I want playing for me, say in a fantasy league? It’s the 2006 team! Not because of statistics or analyses, but because of what we discussed earlier.

Fate! The inevitable outcome. The eighth inning of the final game of the Detroit series convinced me. Our Minnesota Twins are a team of destiny.