As the playoffs wear on, the eliminated teams are entering an offseason filled with golf rounds and hot-stove strategery.
Meanwhile, the fans of those squads are looking at the prospect of spending the winter with the warm memories of a team that earned a playoff berth but the cold reality of ultimately falling short. In an attempt to bring some closure between franchise and follower, we're asking a blogger from each team to write a cathartic missive to their 2010 squads.
First among the playoff bounced is Sooze from Babes Love Baseball and the Star Tribune. Despite her team losing its 10th, 11th and 12th straight playoff games in the ALDS, Sooze ignores the spirit of our bitter exercise and completely chooses to retain her trademark optimistic outlook when looking back. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing.
Dear Minnesota Twins,
I can't believe the season is over.
It seems like it began just yesterday.
Last spring, every Twins fan had high hopes for the 2010 season. We definitely had our ups and downs, but the many wonderful memories greatly outweigh the debacles. For that I have to thank you.
Target Field is beyond the most amazing place on earth. It's like the eighth wonder of the world. For my entire life, the Metrodome was your home. Those trash bag walls enclosed in a comfortable climate-controlled 68-degree bubble was all I knew, and we had a lot of really good times there. I was lucky enough to be at Game No. 163 to say my goodbyes last year, but now that I've been to your new house 23 times in the last six months, I can't quite remember why I ever liked your old place. What a dump that place was.
You deserve a giant high five, chest bump, hug, and smooch for bringing Jim Thome into my life. For years, I had to root against Jim Jam in Cleveland and Chicago, but you've given me the opportunity to call him my very own designated hitter. His tater tot hot dish became an instant fan favorite in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, and I'm incredibly pumped to hear he wants to stick around long enough to smash career home run No. 600 next season. Man, I love that guy.
Another pleasant surprise was when Delmon Young emerged from hibernation 30 pounds lighter and became a totally different (way better) ballplayer. He still left me wanting at times out in left field, but he runs a lot faster now, swings a way better bat, and his rear end doesn't so much resemble that of Kirby Puckett's. Way to go, buddy.
Hey, remember that time you gave Joe Mauer a gazillion dollars to play baseball in Minnesota for another decade? That was awesome. However, I'm a little disappointed he didn't grow a playoff beard, even though the postseason lasted just 96 hours.
Then there was the time Justin Morneau took a wayward Blue Jay knee to the melon to end his MVP-ish season. I was so sad and scared, but you made me feel better by once again replacing my Canadian Crusher at first base with Michael Cuddyer, whom I affectionately refer to as Cuddles (put those dimples away this instant, mister). His cannon from right field was missed, but he made outstanding plays at the corner and almost made up for Justin's absence at the plate.
My heart was broken when we lost Joe Nathan to Tommy John surgery in the spring, but you did your best trying to replace him. It's just too bad it takes three different pitchers to equal one Joe Nate... It is what it is, though, I suppose.
I went to Detroit to visit you guys for a weekend this summer and you were outscored by so many runs I lost count. As bummed/hammered as I was at the time, I realize now that you just didn't want to be a bunch of showoffs in front of all those Tigers fans. Very classy.
Thank you for Danny Valencia. Please promise me that he'll be holding down the hot corner for many, many years to come ... we haven't had a decent third baseman since Corey Koskie. No offense Nick Punto.
Denard was Spantastic, Jason Kubel was a beast, and guys like Jason Repko, Orlando Hudson, J.J. Hardy, Matt Tolbert, Jose Morales and Drew Butera did a pretty good job, too, I guess.
Francisco Liriano absolutely crushed it this year. I'm not exactly sure what he did to turn things around, but I like it. As much as Brian Duensing sucked during Game 3 of the ALDS, he was great during the regular season and he made me feel a lot better about your lack of effort in acquiring someone like Roy Halladay or Cliff Lee. Sorta. Nick Blackburn and Scott Baker held their own and the bullpen — including all three closers — turned in a solid effort.
Thank you for Carl Pavano's mustache.
Thank you for the big league-best 53-28 record at home. The excitement, the heartbreak, the elation, and the surprise are the reasons I keep watching.
Finally, I love you, Kevin Slowey.
(I wasn't going to forget about him. He's my sixth-favorite Twin!)
I'm not going to lie — I'm pretty devastated that the New York Yankees seem to have your number, but I expect you to figure out a way to deal with that in the near future.
Otherwise, stay just the way you are. I'll miss you this winter!
See you next April,
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Follow Sooze on Twitter — @babeslovebball
Read Big League Stew's previous Dear John letters here.