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Ask me about my pessimist philosophy

JHankers from RHH has been accusing me of utopianism and blinded optimism in the comment thread of this week’s Twins podcast. I’ve been harping on the guys from RHH pretty much since the creation of their blog. I would like to defend myself against the comments JHank has made about me, but first…

I want people to understand that I “grok” pessimism. I was voted “Most Pessimistic” by my High School class “back in the day” and I have even written on pessimism. I used to brag about my pessimism. I used to jokingly call myself an “optimistic realist.” I have even suggested that the only people who are truly happy are pessimists; they’re never dissappointed with anything since they always expect the worst.

Pessimism is easy. It’s hard to be an optimist, it’s hard to go out and believe in what you’re doing, believe in people or believe in yourself. All a pessimist has to do is bitch, complain, drink beer and go to bed without having put himself in a situation where he could be right. A pessimist doesn’t put himself in a position to succeed. And why not? All a pessimist has to do to “succeed” is not fail as much as he pessimistically thought he would.

Decide for yourself, are the guys at RHH pessimists?

Bill Gilles on July 7th

The Twins have a great core of young players and these exiting veterans will provide the Twins the salary space to keep players such as Mauer, Morneau, Nathan, Santana – AND if they move in July the other young pieces to fill out the lineup and bullpen.

I wish this were the year, but it’s not. Maybe I’ve been a Cub fan for too long, but my advice to the Twins is wait till next year!

Just Hank on July 29th:

Down 3-2 to the Tigers in the bottom of the 10th:

L Rodriguez substitute for J Rabe.
L Rodriguez grounded out to first.
R White flied out to right.
J Tyner struck out swinging.

Friday’s final Tigers 3, Twins 2

If the Twins have to depend on any of the above-mentioned players for late-game heroics, I would rather they not make the playoffs and keep guys like me focused on the NFL and Big Ten Football come September. It really is an embarassment that late in the game the Twins are trying to match up against a team’s closer by subsituting something named Luis Rodgriguez to bat for something named Jash Rabe.

If you Twins fans really think the team can stand pat with names like these in the lineup, you should put down the magic Kool-Aid and switch to the Acid-laced orange juice.

Just Hank on July 31st:

What did the Brooklyn Dodgers used to say? Oh yeah, “Wait until next year.”

Just Hank on August 2nd:

This Homer will be watching Liriano’s next two starts very closely. Cross your fingers and hope the Franchiso Liriano doesn’t screw his arm up, or the Twins or cooked. That’s a promise. Every start Liriano misses is another loss for the Twins.

Bill Gilles on August 3rd:

I hope the twinks can shake it off – because the fact is, they cannot afford to lose a single series and hope to make the wild card. In the span of a week, they have already dropped 3 games behind the Red Sox and 2 behind the pale Sox.

The Twins play KC this weekend – and they need to take advantage of a weak opponent and get a sweep. Another series loss could very well be the end of the playoff push.

Just Hank on August 4th:

I say, let’s give this supposed ace (Matt Garza) the chance he deserves. That’s the only way the Twins will have a chance to stay in the race. Because Boof and Baker the Neck Breaker aren’t helping the cause.

Just Hank on August 8th:

In related news, Twinkies 9-3 loss to Tigers and probable loss of Liriano, makes playoffs look bleak. But isn’t this how the entire season has been. A see-saw of hope and despair. The fans’ outlook lives and dies with each win or loss.

Aaron on August 16th:

I became completely divorced from Twins baseball

Aaron Solem on August 16th:

I consider myself a “Twins realist.”

In the same post Aaron told me I was right about JHank and Bill being pessimists.

Aaron on August 16th:

Our lack of faith in the Twins isn’t pessimism – it’s “strategery”.

Aaron on August 30th:

I’m starting to get very worried about the Twins playoff chances. They only have 1.5 legitimate starting pitches on the roster right now (Santana and what’s left of Radke’s shoulder). And the White Sox are really going to find their stride in the coming weeks.

Tonight the Twins have Boof, tomorrow Johan, and then the Yankee’s take batting practice on Friday against Silva.

Even though the Royals were hitting Garza hard last night, he only gave up two runs. They got the pitching performance they needed and couldn’t come through on offense. If the offense keeps producing like this while the Sox beat up on the D-Rays, the Twins are going to be in trouble.

Aaron on September 5th:

The Twins season just doesn’t make sense. Nothing has made sense since the off-season.

This season has not made any sense, nor will it by the end of the year. Every time I count the Twins out they just continue to claw back. I don’t know how and I don’t know why. They shouldn’t.

Just Hank on September 8th:

No matter how good the Twins pitching turns out to be in the last few weeks of this season (it’s a little dicey right now), the squad won’t be able to sustain its WC lead unless the bats come to life.

Aaron on September 8th:

I still root for the Twins every night (and I will tonight), but I am very wary about their chances to win the Wild Card. The White Sox would literally have to give the Twins the Wild Card at this point.

I guess Gardenhire better go get his shinebox now? Those guys could depress a hyena. Sure, Pat Reusse and Sid Hartmann were just as bad, and Aaron Gleeman was a wet blanket until last month, but come on.

I went back and reviewed some of my Twins podcasts to see if I was really suffering from some sort of inebriation. At the end of May (week 7) I suggested the Twins could play above the .500 level. In the Week 11 podcast I suggested the Twins could win the division. Week 18 (early August) I said the Twins would win the Wild Card.

I have either listened to or watched every game the Twins have played this season, sometimes having to catch a replay. I have researched the players, looked at the stats and called the season as I saw it. To me it looked like the Twins had exactly what they needed to win, and I didn’t lose hope when the injuries started to pile up since the one thing Twins GM Terry Ryan does is stock up on young prospects. They dug deep and found a way.

As for JHank and the rest of the “realists” at RHH, they can do just what Randy Quaid’s character in “Major League II” did, just as the Twins are on the verge of proving their worth they can turn their shirts and caps rightside out again, rejoin the rest of the fans and claim “I didn’t see it coming but now I’m happy and one of us again.”

It would be another pessimist victory.

5 Responses

  1. Dude, you took so many of my quotes out of context I don’t know where to begin – well actually I do: at the beginning.
    —-
    “I became completely divorced from Twins baseball”

    If you would read the post I talk about how I was “divorced” because I hadn’t seen a game for two weeks because I was on vacation and I have a no news, sports, or TV rule that is in effect. I’m traveling between Minnesota, Arizona, and Boston, seeing family that I barely get to see. I don’t really care about the Twins when I get to spend time with my loved ones so rarely.

    —–

    “I consider myself a “Twins realist.””

    I was joking, but in the same post I write:

    “However, I feel that this is the best Twins team I have seen since I started watching baseball in 1997. They have a legitimate chance to win every night, no matter who is pitching…There is a lot of baseball left to play, and I have a feeling that the Twins can pull a Wild Card birth out of their hat.”
    —–
    “Our lack of faith in the Twins isn’t pessimism – it’s “strategery”.”

    It’s a “joke”
    ——–

    “This season has not made any sense, nor will it by the end of the year. Every time I count the Twins out they just continue to claw back. I don’t know how and I don’t know why. They shouldn’t.”

    Wait, starting Nick Punto at 3rd, Cuddy hitting 4th, Tyner DHing, and Boof as the number 2 starter makes sense to you?
    ———
    I have been very honest that I thought it was a great team with Santana, Radke, Liriano, Silva, and whoever was the AAA call-up of the week and I believe I had legitimate fears of Boof Bonser, Garza, and Baker being September starters. I was wrong, but I don’t think my position was at all unwarranted.

    However, when the baseball season is over you’ll get to see me writing about how I convinced myself the Vikings can win every week.

  2. Marty,

    Call me what you will – but I’m not a pessimist. I’m a cold rationalist – and if you look at the facts, the Twins have accomplished the impossible. Not just against the odds, but against very good, historically established baseball teams. For instance:

    *Catchers don’t lead the league in batting avg. (Joe’s at .350)

    *Twins don’t have 30 HR seasons (they’ll have 2)

    *Nick Punto hits .240 (now he’s around .300)

    *Jason Tyner is a career minor leaguer (he’s hitting .300+)

    *Teams rarely have a trifecta of Cy Youngs, MVP’s and Rookies of they year (Santana, Morneau, Liriano)

    *Teams rarely survive when their starting picthing’s arm falls off, sensation blows out an elbow, 4th starter gets traded, and 3rd started double his ERA. (Radke, Liriano, Lohse, Silva).

    *Reyes is a career 4.50 ERA pitcher (0.91 ERA this year).

    If you look at all this, at some point the fluke to blossoming ratio has to give. The Twins are amazing, because even over 162 games, the fluke factor never showed up and they made the playoffs.

    I’m ecstatic to have them there and more than willing to eat crow – because this crow is delicious. But it doesn’t change the fact that the Twins mere prescence is incredible.

    And all that before talking about the macro environment of a lousy owner, a lousy stadium, a lousy payroll, and lousy decisions on a third of the lineup (Batista, White, Castro.)

  3. Just Hank on September 8th:

    “No matter how good the Twins pitching turns out to be in the last few weeks of this season (it’s a little dicey right now), the squad won’t be able to sustain its WC lead unless the bats come to life.”

    is it not true that the Twins bats did come to life over the last few weeks to help out with some key wins? Yes, it is true. This is not pessimism. It’s called objective analysis.

    As far as everything else you quoted me on in this post: Let’s be honest with ourselves Marty.

    Rondell White
    Jason Tyner
    Boof Bonser
    Dennis Reyes
    Nick Punto
    the list goes on…

    Did you expect any of the aforementioned to significantly contribute to a playoff run at the beginning of the season? If you did, you were on a peyote-induced trip through the astro-field and saw the future.

    I bet you never heard of names like Tyner and Rabe in your entire life.

    As far as Punto accelling offensively and defensively at the hot corner, how could you have predicted that? There was nothing Punto did as a major leaguer before this season that could have led you to believe he would be a major contributor.
    In fact, as a guy who tends to analyze a lot of things and use those results as a future perdictor, you should have predicted Punto was going to spot start at second all year long and bat about 200 times.

    You also would have predicted Justin Morneau would finish the season batting 250, 29 homers and 90 RBI.

    If you do some additional archive search, you’ll find this “pessismist” predicted on July 5 that Morneau would be a frontrunner in the MVP voting after he was snubbed as an all-star selection. In fact, I believe I stated that in your podcast.

    Well, as you know, I predicted the Yankees would lose to the Mets in the WS, which means I don’t think the Twins will beat them in the first round. ButLet it be know, that although my analysis spells “one and done” for the Twins I will have my Homer Hanky in hand to cheer them to victory.

  4. JHankers-

    I did see want to comment on that post, if Morneau were to be MVP, he would be only the second MVP to not have made the All Star team. Kirk Gibson is the only player to have accomplished such a feat.

    Also Hank, I still have you quoted as saying you hoped the Twins didn’t make the playoffs so you could focus on BigTen football and the Vikings.

    I’ll let people decide for themselves.

  5. It was truely a magical season, wasn’t it.

    Now let us hope that the great years become years in a career, not career years. It will probably be a career year for Hunter, at least in the HR category, but it is possible that Morneau and Mauer have had years representative of their future careers.

    White never has performed up to expectations except for this month, so I don’t see where you guys are coming from saying that his was a pleasant suprise.

    Punto, Cuddy, Reyes, Tyner,and Bartlett were all minor league veterans or major league benchwarmers who were up against it for their careers. Produce this year or forgetaboutit. The suprise is that all of them have produced.

    Rabe? Not that big a factor.

    Stewart? Lost our lead-off hitter, probably our best overall hitter for the whole season. Replaced by another great leadoff hitter, one of about 5 natural leadoff hitters on the roster.

    Kubel? Major disappointment for the best minor league everyday hitter in the Twins farm system.

    What the major suprise is, is that we were able to overcome the complete breakdown of the season starting pitching staff other than Santana, who was his usual terrible self in the first two months and is his usual awesome self in the last half. Those who actually watch the farm system (I’m talking to you, Josh) knew the talent we had stored in the home of Eastman Kodak. Baker, Neshek, Bonser were all dominant in the Eastern League, and only Baker has disappointed in the majors. Thank God. Without those guys the Twins would still be below .500. Garza is a suprise, but he has a terrible won-lost record despite the fact that he has pitched well.

    SI gave the Twins front office an “F” for the first half of the year because of the stupid mistakes with Batista, Castro and White starting off the year. I agree. There was no upside with Batista, a career no-field, low average power hitter who no longer has any power and was a real problem at third. White was injured, but started every game (as the cleanup hitter!)anyway despite the fact that he had the batspeed of an average high schooler. Fix the shoulder, fix the problem. (Nice September, Rondell.) Castro was what he was, a career backup, adequate, steady, good glove and hits a little. No magic, though.

    Not a bad grade after the All Star game, though. Just about every callup has produced. All the starters have done well. Although Cuddyer is not an ideal cleanup hitter, his spot between the two lefties has worked out. Punto, known to be a good infielder, has shone at third, and batting everyday in front of Mauer has helped his average. Mauer has been a great hitter this year, and should be for a long time. (Longer if they finally use him more as a DH). Morneau’s year is the magical one. The power is what the Twins were waiting for for years, but the .320 average is absolutely unexpected. If he can continue to balance the power and average he will be an All-Star for a generation.

    All this was in place by the All-Star break. By then the only question was the pitching and if the hitting by the Piranahs would hold up. The kids have pitched well, and the little, quick guys have managed to pick away, bunt, chop, and steal enough to keep the offense cooking. (Speed never has a slump.)

    Next year will tell us if Jr’s predictions were luck or the magician’s recognition of the real thing. I hope it is the latter.

    Capt Bogs

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