Perhaps we need the Yankees to pass the Twins in home runs, so that we’ll never remember that the Minnesota Twins–the TWINS! The harbingers of annoying, ticky-tack baseball, the slappy slappy Twins!–broke the MLB record for homers by a team with five weeks to go in the season. Because it doesn’t make a lot of sense. Let our colleague Fifth Feather sum it up best:
It’s totally normal that this Twins lineup is going to be the all time leading slugging team in the history of baseball. We’re all fine with this, apparently.
— Fifth Feather (@FifthFeather) July 27, 2019
Now, Feather’s distaste for the Twins is a touch outsized, in the same style that the Pacific Ocean is a touch outsized. Still, the fact that this Twins team is putting up numbers never before seen is truly strange, if not as insulting as our dear boy takes it. The Yankees you get, even though their biggest mashers in Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton have spent most of the year injured. But they’re the big, bad Yankees playing in a shoebox with a jet stream right into Vinny from Astoria’s chest in right field. That’s what the Yankees do.
But the Twins don’t have any of that. Other than Nelson Cruz, who is three days older than water, before the year you never would have picked any of these guys to hit 30 homers. Four of them have and they might get a fifth. Then Max Kepler might double his career-high in homers (he needs four more for 40). Jorge Polanco might do the same. Mitch Garver (he’s Old Man Garver’s boy), who had never hit more than seven homers in a season, has 30. Aren’t there laws against that? Eddie Rosario has over 30, and CJ Cron is close. Also, Target Field is not exactly a hitter’s paradise, being one of the worst homer parks in the league for years now.
The Twins will tell you that it’s a matter of Rosario, Kepler, Polanco all coming of age, that they were always destined for this. That might be true to a point, but you can’t help ignore what the baseball has done for the Twins. And hey, more power to them, if they’re figured out to just keep getting the ball in the air with this Titleist and reap the wins from it.
The Twins score over half their runs on homers, and while baseball will feign ignorance on changes in the ball, that’s about the weakest conspiracy they’ve ever concocted, including collusion. Fuck, they bought Rawlings last year. How stupid do they think we are?
What MLB is going to have to figure out is if this is the brand of baseball fans want. No fault to the Twins, they’re just playing the game as it is now, and mostly better than anyone. But if homers are no longer unique but merely holding serve, they lose any specialty. And judging by TV ratings and attendance, though there are other factors, fans haven’t exactly flocked back to see this avalanche of dingers.
It’s a different game for sure, but one where even less happens. A homer is technically action, but it’s supposed to be the apex of a baseball game. A definitive pivot point. The spike in the EKG. Now it almost feels like it’s no different than a three in basketball. A brief surge but pretty normal throughout the game. If this continues to be the norm, it’s hard to see how it brings fans back that have already left (or in baseball’s case, likely died) Is this what the younger generation wants? It’s most likely MLB has no idea what the younger generation wants.
One wonders what teams like the Twins will do if the baseball goes back, if it does. Maybe they’d just hit a ton of doubles and be fine. Maybe they’d keep flying out to the warning track and never score.