Thursday, October 07, 2004

Hang on Twins, please!

In any other year, I'd be Hulk Hogan-ing my T-shirts after the amazing comeback we saw in Game 2 last night by those gritty Yankees. Instead, I'm hitting myself with steel chairs and inventing the first known occurrence of the one-man figure-four leglock after the Minnesota Tweakies blew the ALDS.

As publicly declared yesterday, I'm all about the "less work is better" theory this year. For those not familiar with that theory, it goes like this: The quicker the Yankees lose in the ALDS, the less work I have to do, which makes everyone happy, and by "everyone," I mean me.

I was prepared to purchase my Torii Hunter jersey after his 12th inning home run. Now I'm cursing Ron "little Grady" Gardenhire for leaving Joe Nathan in for the 12th inning.

I submerged myself in the Vortex of Negativity, a small section of the Newsday office that includes a bitter Red Sox fan and our Gridiron Guide, hoping to drum up some positive Minnesota vibes. The Gridiron Guide welcomed me to his side of the fence, though no ceremony was planned. We exchanged various anti-Yankee vibes and mocked Writer friend Joe, who was a pair of pants shy of a full Yankee uniform.

For the 8th and 9th inning, the chanting in the Vortex of Negativity worked beautifully. Mariano Rivera blew the save (I couldn't bring myself to openly root against him, so I remained quiet and let the rest of the Vortex do my work for me). On any pitch, Tanyon Sturtze could blow the game and the series for Writer friend Joe and cause the Vortex to erupt in unparalleled glee.

To paraphrase Stella from The Italian Job, "I trust everyone. It's the Devil Ray inside them I don't trust."

Whammo! Torii Hunter hits what should have been the game-winner. The Vortex, which by now includes most of the office (half rooting against Yankees, other half rooting for deadlines), erupts.

The Vortex survives on other people's misfortunes the way plants live off our exhaled carbon dioxide. Yet, secretly we all know the excitement won't last. These are the Yankees. These are the Twins.

Then there's the story of the disappearance of Jacque Jones' left arm and right side of his brain. What kind of throw was that? Was he throwing directly to first base to try for the double play? Hey, Jacque (which should be French for jerk), try making a real throw to home. You weren't that deep. It was a line drive, for (insert diety of choice)'s sake. I saw better throws in Little League.

The Tweakies will now lose the series, because that's what always happens. They'll fold under questioning, the Yankees will advance to the ALCS and play the Red Sox and my Armageddon will occur, just without Bruce Willis.

Though it's a time-honored tradition for sportswriters to flip-flop in their opinions from one day to the next, I'm not prepared to do that . . . yet. I'm still pro-Twins for this series. But when they melt like cheese in the oven and watch the Yankees beat them again, then I'll have no choice but to re-assert my Yankee-fandom.

Here's why: The Yankees will play the Red Sox in the ALCS, which will make for 10 times more work for me than any World Series game. And since I can't prevent the ALCS from happening, I might as well embrace my Yanks again. Rooting for the Red Sox in that situatin is like Ohio State cheering for Michigan, or Kobe cheering for Shaq.

But here's to hoping we don't get that far.

Can my Tweakies not be as soft as Twinkies and perhaps show some heart? Carlos Silva, if you're out there reading this, throw an f-bombing no-hitter. For me. Just once, Minnesota, do what's right.

Otherwise, the contraction talks will start again.

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