Thursday, November 4, 2010

Alright Hamilton MailBag: Offseason Questions

The offseason is officially underway and things are already getting interesting. The Twins have picked up Jason Kubel's option and declined Nick Punto's, but they're far from done. Here are some letters I've received wondering about the direction the ballclub will take this winter.

Q:   I know the Twins have a lot of guys who aren't under contract for next season. Who is coming back and who isn't? I really hope we bring back Brian Buscher!
- Mrs. Buscher, Jacksonville, FL

A:   Alright, maybe I'm not ready to answer these kinds of questions. Why does the cold beginning have to happen so soon after the bitter end? It's a serious swing in expectation levels. It was just one month ago that the Twins were in the playoffs. I was in Target Field, watching Michael Cuddyer hit a home run off C.C. Sabathia. I swear it happened. It was the peak of a years worth of excitement and hope. It was the best Twins team on paper in recent history in the first year of a grand new ballpark.

And now we're starting over again, just like it never happened? Well, I don't know if I can do it. Everyone is telling me not to be satisfied when the Twins win the division. I'm supposed to ask for more. I'm supposed to expect more. I'm supposed to will that notion upon the Twins management and players.

That 'World Series or Bust' mentality, when coupled with the soul-crushing Yankees looming around every corner, creates a neat little bumper-car complex inside the head of the average Twins fan. I mean, how can we look at anything they do, on or off the field, without our subconscious saying, "So what? How will this help them beat the Yankees?" And I'll guarantee the media, the players, the coaches and the front office have that question in the back of their mind too.

Q:   Will the Twins be active on the free agent market this year? It would be nice to get Cliff Lee!
 - Leo Spaghetti, Pine Trees, MN

A:   Maybe I'm overreacting. I've always thought that being a baseball fan is different because relaxing actually increases the enjoyment. If LaTroy Hawkins starts walking guys while the Twins are down by five in the 7th inning, just relax and get another coke with those ice cubes that are the size of jelly beans.

So that's what I'll do during the season - relax and enjoy the ride. Even though they serve regular, boring ice cubes now.

Q:   What's your favorite Mick Jagger movie role? 
 - Janice Rhinestones, Muckluck, WI 

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