Make no mistake: Roller coasters aren’t for everyone. People with heart problems, weak stomachs and young children probably should avoid the unnecessary risk of these up-and-down thrill rides.
But for the rest of us? Call me crazy, but I think today’s gravity-defying, nausea-inducing coaster rides are just about the most fun a human being can have on this earth.
The 2006 Minnesota Twins season has been reminiscent of a crazy roller coaster ride in many ways. Things looked bright enough before the season began – the team returned every key player from a year ago and added a couple of veterans to plug various holes. But by May, instead of battling with the surging Detroit Tigers and World Champion Chicago White Sox for the AL Central crown, the Twins found themselves languishing near the Kansas City Royals with the other dregs of the American League.
Yet as everyone in
I won’t go into the typical media-covered storylines in this space. By now, hopefully you know that Joe Mauer is a great hitter (and the dream husband of thousands of young Minnesota women), Justin Morneau should win the MVP award, Johan Santana is a lock for the AL’s Cy Young, and Mike Redmond has the olfactory fortitude to somehow “smell” RBIs (yeah… I don’t quite get that one either). If you’ve been paying any attention whatsoever, you’ve heard a dozen times how pesky Ozzie Guillen finds the Castillo-Punto-Tyner-Bartlett combination and that the Twins’ bullpen is the real secret behind their success.
Instead, I’m going to point out something that these 2006 Twins have given us that isn’t necessarily obvious at first glance: The gift of relevance. Seems like an odd thing to say, doesn’t it? Let me break it down for you: Twins pre-June 8 = Not fun to watch at all. Twins post-June 8 = Story of the year/Most fun you’ll have all day.
After reaching the playoffs three consecutive years (2002-04), for one 14-month stretch (April 2005-June 2006) it seemed like the Twins would challenge the Timberwolves for the title of “Most Irrelevant Sports Franchise in
This gift, more than anything else, is what I will take away from the 2006 season. The Twins may go on to win the World Series, or they might get swept by the Yankees in the first round of the playoffs. In the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t really matter – the buzz of baseball is back and it’s here to stay. Even if the Twins can’t win it all this year, with young players like Mauer, Morneau, Santana, Liriano, Nathan, Cuddyer and
Baseball is in the hearts and minds of millions of fans around the
Weak stomach or not, this is one roller coaster I’m glad I stayed on.