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Rethinking the American League Central Division

Published: September 25, 2009
Section: Sports


So last week I wrote about Phil Kessel possible leaving Boston, and now he is a Toronto Maple Leaf for the next five years. So I am going to see if I can do this again and write an article one week and see some results the next. But this time it will be about America’s favorite pastime – baseball.

So I am assuming that the majority of people on the Brandeis campus care about one of three teams: the Boston Red Sox, the New York Yankees, and the New York Mets. Fortunately for the Red Sox and Yankees, it is pretty clear they will be in the playoffs, and for the Mets it is clear that their season ends when the regular season ends. So I am going to focus on the one division that I truly care about and can easily be called the worst division in the Major Leagues- the American League Central Division, specifically how the Minnesota Twins have come back from being under .500 for most of the season to being two and a half games behind the Detroit Tigers for the division championship.

I am a Twins fan so I have been following the horrible season for months. I do not know how many people look at the actual win percentage, but if the Tigers were in any other division in the American League they would be in third. And only in the Central Division in the National League would they be in second but nowhere near playoff contention. And for the Twins- this team has been struggling around .500 for the entire season and has just lost Justin Morneau, one of their best offensive players. So how is it that they are finally in play off contention, and who is up in Baseball Heaven that decided the best way to end the season is with a four- game series in Detroit?That is all the background information of my dislike for Detroit teams. My dad is a huge Detroit fan, which has made me always cheer against Detroit teams since it is always more fun to have people cheering for two different teams. If I were in the country last year I would have cheered for whoever was playing the Lions in every single game and enjoyed every loss.

The Twins have generally been pretty successful in the regular season, but they tend to crash and burn in the first round. The Tigers have had mediocre and horrible seasons (remember when they almost broke the record for most losses in a season? They did not break the record because they beat the Twins) and have had one very successful season where they went to the World Series where they were promptly swept by the Cardinals.

These are two teams that have not had a ton of success, which is why my dad and I argue so much about them. My dad and I, and now my little sister as well, need to prove that our team is not as mediocre as the other team. Ever since the middle of August I have told my dad that the Twins would make a run, and I do not think many people outside of Minnesota would call how they are playing a run, but this is pretty good considering other.

Now back to the real story – how did the Twins get into this position? One- the team has been able to step up without their major slugger Justin Morneau. He is out for the rest of the season with a stress fracture in his lower back, but the Twins have gone 9-1 without him. So what could have been problem that could have ended the season for the entire team has turned out to not be a problem.

Two – I think the team is pulling through for Joe Mauer. Mauer is in the middle of a career season; he is hitting .372 with 28 home runs and 89 RBIs. There is talk everywhere that he should be AL MVP, and I personally think that making the playoffs, even if they crash and burn, will seal the deal.

Three – this is the last season at the Metrodome. Even though the majority of fans are excited for outdoor baseball, there are still a lot of good memories for everyone from the dome. I for one would like the Twins to be able to make something of their last season and be able to leave with some momentum for the new Target Field.

And four – the Twins are bringing back the Piranha mentality. Ozzie Guillen, Chicago White Sox manager, first coined the term in August 2006 when the Twins began beating teams with the small ball. His realized that the Twins would not come out and over power you. They would keep getting base hit after base hit and eventually win the game. Now today’s Twins are not playing that style game, but they still have the same idea. Only instead of hit after hit, they are truly taking it one game at a time.

So what will happen in the next week? I would love for the Twins to be able to pull through, but unfortunately I do not think that we will know anything for sure until the end of the season. So much can happen in those four games at Comerica Park. The Tigers have a solid home record, and the Twins have a not so solid road record, but I am optimistic and think that anything could happen. Whatever does happen, good luck to the American Central Division Champs getting past the first round of the playoffs.