Back in July, I was doing some intense mountain climbing in the Sierra Nevada when I happened across a family of pumas. Normally, I'd be cautious and probably flee. These pumas were different. Something was clearly unique about these pumas. I approached the family slowly. While these pumas seemed cool, they were still dangerous predators. I noticed something on their heads. As I inched closer and closer, one of the adult male pumas shot me a glance. I froze. I readied my trusty blow dart, just in case I needed to make a quick escape. As if he sensed it, the puma rose to his feet. In an act that I will never forget, this grand, tall, powerful feline addressed me:
"Hey man, what's up?"
The puma spoke! It was unlike anything I had ever experienced. I then quickly realized what was on his head. He was wearing a Twins cap. A second puma approached, wearing the same cap. He addressed me as well:
That was when I officially met Paul and Peter, the twin Twin's fan pumas. I introduced myself and they asked me if I wanted to join them. These wild and cagey beasts were accepting me as their own! They invited me to their feast (the meat was a little rare) and then we sat around the campfire (that I had to build with my hands/thumbs) and talked about the Twins. How strange and fitting that I come across two maniacal Twins fans who happen to be talking pumas?
We watched that night's game on MLB.tv and talked about the 2013 season. Paul was positive, stating that it was a rebuilding year and that the team made great organizational strides. Peter was more pessimistic. He feels the team has gone backwards and worries about the competence of management. I mentioned that I was feeling overwhelmed with my duties and a blog-guy and if they wanted to write a guest column, I 'd be happy to share my internet space with them. They roared with excitement!
Each puma submitted a postmortem column to me. I had to edit them for spelling and bloodstains, but when it was done, I think they did a pretty good job of presenting two very different sides of the Twins' 2013 season story.
Here's Peter, the Pessimistic Puma's Postmortem. Warning! He's a bit of a bummer.
I don't know why I'm surprised. The Twins are just as good as I thought they would be: awful. I told Paul before the season started that if this team wins more than 70 games, I'd catch and prepare him a delicious elk dinner. Luckily for me, the Twins suck because I haven't seen an elk in weeks. As soon as the team signed Kevin Correia and Mike Pelfrey in an effort to improve the team starting pitching, I knew this team was doomed.
Then, the season started and the team looked fine. The bullpen was great, the offense was solid and the starting pitching was existent. Of course, it was all just a giant mirage. I knew it all along. Honestly, the starting staff was like a poorly guarded flock of sheep. All would be killed. There was no reason to think that this team could sustain any kind of success with starters who can barely get out of the fifth inning. Pelfrey was a disaster, Scott Diamond regressed, Liam Hendriks and Kyle Gibson flopped and Rich Harden never got healthy. Yeah, remember Rich Harden? Correia was the team's best starter, which pretty much says all you can about this team.
The offense quickly became a huge joke. Aaron Hicks flopped so hard. I called that one a mile away. He just looked lost at the plate, like a moose who wandered too far into the mountains. There was no way he wouldn't become delicious meat to the pitchers of the Major Leagues. Josh Willingham also flopped, which doesn't surprise me. I wanted the Twins to trade him instead of Ben Revere, who I actually liked. Ryan Doumit looks like easy prey. Trevor Plouffe and Chris Parmelee are nothings. Speaking of nothing, way to trade Justin Morneau, an MVP, and get nothing, Terry Ryan! Bold move! The Twins' best hitter is Brian Dozier and he sucked in 2012. He'll probably regress in 2014. The only guy I really liked was that Clete Thomas, but the Twins will probably blow it and let him go after the season.
Joe Mauer had a typical Joe Mauer season, which I refuse to be impressed by. Sure, if the team is in need of an opposite-field single, he's the man. Who watches baseball for opposite-field singles? Remember when Bill Mazeroski hit that walk-off opposite-field single to win the World Series? What about when Babe Ruth called his shot and then doinked the ball over the shortstop's head? Or when Roger Maris lost all his hair because he was trying to set the record for most ground balls hit between the first and second baseman? Those guys hit home runs! Hey Mauer, you're as big as I am. You should see me crush homers in our jungle cat softball league. I'm a machine and I didn't have a fancy prep school education either. Jungle School is all I know.
The leaders of this organization can drone on and on about how they want to improve the team, but everyone knows that it's all about making money. Like most pumas, I'm a conservative. I'm a fan of the free market. I respect the desire to turn a profit. However, when you own a sports team, you have a responsibility to your consumers. I didn't shell out 200 bucks to bring MLB.tv to the mountains to watch a crappy team again. In hindsight, I'm glad I wasn't allowed in any of those haughty Minneapolis shops back in 2009. I'd hate to think my taxes had anything to do with this giant money-making Ponzi scheme.
I'll remain a fan because I am a loyal puma. I won't be surprised if 2014 brings more of the same garbage as 2013 brought. The Twins need a major overhaul, from top to bottom. No one should be spared. Terry Ryan - out! Ron Gardenhire and Rick Anderson - gone! (editor's note: Ron Gardenhire is not "out" but pumas often submit their articles a few days before they post). Joe Mauer - traded! No one should be spared. Everyone is devou...I mean fired! There is no reason that a team should lose 90+ games for three straight seasons in a brand new ballpark. It's despicable. The team should really consider issuing refunds or at least apologies. I'll take mine in the form of a new jersey. I accidentally tore the other one.