Clichés, adages and sayings

Published 9:10 am Thursday, May 13, 2010

I didn’t know that all short to the point expressions are called sayings. Fitting under sayings are clichés and adages. There are hundreds of sayings, maybe thousands with more being added weekly.

Some come from radio and television. There was one that was considered hilarious in the 30s; comedian Joe Penner’s “Wanna buy a duck?” It doesn’t seem to be that funny now. Maxwell Smart’s “Sorry about that.” And “Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In,” “Sock it to me” made a career for Goldie Hawn.

Sayings vary from person to person and region to region of the country. A favorite that has legs is “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.” “Don’t cross that bridge until you come to it.” I always liked that one. Kay’s grandmother had similar saying: “Don’t borrow trouble.”

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An adage comes to mind as we are being swamped by the media’s interpretation of the Twins’ fast start. The thinking being that the Twins are the third best team in the American League after the Yankees and the Rays with only the Cardinals and Phillies in the National League matching up to them. The old saying: “Don’t count your chickens until they’re hatched” comes to mind.

At times one can be overly optimistic which has been the failing of some Twins fans, myself included. In order to balance things out here is a pessimistic look at possible problems.

Our Twins had good starting pitching these past two weeks. The emergence of Francisco Liriano has been a godsend and has given rise to the anticipation of successful postseason play. With Liriano at the top of his game the Twins finally have the ace they’ve lacked since the departure of Johan Santana.

All well and good, but we are talking about a pitcher who has not thrown well since 2006 because of an arm injury caused by the violent torque he puts on his arm when he throws his slider. Liriano is back, but what is his best pitch, his strikeout pitch? The slider. If you were a dealer in Las Vegas what odds would you give that Liriano would last the season and pitch in more than 30 games? 50/50! I don’t know. But the status of his arm as we approach the postseason may be a cause of concern. Without Liriano who do the Twins have that can match up with CC Sabathia of the Yankees? If Liriano goes down, who replaces him in the rotation? Jeff Manship?

Another concern is the team’s closer. Jon Rauch has done well, but we have seen Joe Nathan fail in the playoffs. Is Rauch a better bet? I don’t think so.

At this juncture of the season it seems there are three irreplaceable position players. Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau and J.J. Hardy. They cannot replace Mauer, neither for his handling of Liriano and the rest of staff, nor his hitting. If Mauer should disappear for more than two weeks the Twins are in trouble, as we saw last year. During his absence the team played .500 ball. In fact, of the three I would rather see Morneau go down than Hardy. A few Twins really played well last year during Morneau’s absence, but the biggest plus during the last-month miracle was Orlando Cabrera. The Twins finally had a shortstop. If the Twins lose J.J. Hardy, they’re in deep trouble. I can’t see them winning the pennant with Alexi Casilla or Brendan Harris at shortstop.

I hope these doom and gloom scenarios will not occur, but rather is just a warning that the season is just beginning and our chances depend on an untested closer and keeping key members of the team injury free.