Like most sports, baseball has its superstitions and curses. I am not a superstitious person. When Aaron Rodgers was one of the candidates to grace the Madden cover, I was willing to vote him up there. Of course, half of Packer nation was trembling in their boots at the thought of cursing the Super Bowl Champ team. (No worries for them, he was beaten out by Peyton Hillis.)
I don’t feel the need to wear my Rodgers jersey for every game. I wear my Packers gear on game day because I am cheering on my team, not because I think it will help them win.
Naturally, when I began to follow the Twins, I had no superstitions or curses to get me strung up and paranoid about the wins. I was ready to see them dominate the AL Central.
April came; the Twins struggled.
May came; the Twins struggled.
The Twins begin to show improvements at the end of June. July 2nd was my first game at Target Field. I was beyond excited to watch the steadily improving Twins beat the Brewers. With a 7-0 lead by the 4th inning, I thought I had no worries in the world. But, oh no, the Brew Crew came back to win the game 8-7. Not cool.
I then ventured to Chicago to watch the Twins take down the division rival White Sox. We hadn’t lost a game to the White Sox this season, so I thought I was in for a win. Not quite. Alexei Ramirez had to ruin that for me.
As the Twins continue to struggle to push themselves up in the division, I am beginning to wonder if I am the source of the problem. My friend Dawn claims that her father shouldn’t be allowed to go to home games, and my friend Kalee says the Twins lose every time she goes to a home game. While they avoid saying that I am the problem, I know they starting to question why they encouraged me to be a Twins fan in the first place.
Seriously, how does a Division Champion team fall so hard the following year? Yes, the Twins had me questioning my “cursedness”, but only for a second. I soon reminded myself why I don’t believe in curses or superstitions.
Injuries affect the team.
Injuries have plagued the Twins since April and continue to do so through July. It’s great to have depth, especially with pitchers, but that doesn’t mean an injury won’t affect the team. Losing a key player can throw a team off sync. When the flow of the team is broken, it takes excellent team management and mental focus to keep the team winning.
When you have multiple players out with injuries, it becomes even harder to pull the team together. You can only replace so many star players with other star players. Soon you have to call players up who aren’t necessarily ready to play with the big wigs. The Twins have had to shift many players to different positions to try to strengthen their defense.
Talent is talent.
There’s a reason players make it to the majors, and there is a reason some of them need to leave: talent. You can’t deny a player’s skill or lack thereof. How many times are you willing to make an excuse for Matt Capps? Personally, I don’t think he deserves any more. Are you going to give credit to your “lucky hat” for Michael Cuddyer’s homeruns? I sure hope not. Curses and superstitions are excuses for the untalented, unorganized, or one of those bad games.
Here’s one I don’t get…
Frank Viola, pitcher for the Twins from 1982-89, had a good luck charm: a banner bearing “Frank Sweet Music Viola”. In 1987, Viola went 15-0, with four no-decisions, in “banner” games. Good luck charm, really? Fans would rather give credit to the banner than to Viola? Yeesh. I am pretty sure the banner had nothing to do with Viola’s success as a pitcher.
Baseball is a mental game too.
Actually all sports have both a mental game and a physical side to the game. Winning the mental game is just as crucial as winning the physical game. Staying focused on consistency, making plays, and working together is the key to success. The Twins have the talent. No doubt about that. But with an early struggle and many key players on the DL, it has created some negative mentality that could be working against the Twins and their focus on getting the job done.
Many of you may disagree with my take on superstitions and curses. Some say I am crazy when I tell them the curse of the Madden cover is bologna, the Sports Illustrated jinx is a bunch of hog wash, or the Curse of Bambino is/was a silly little tale.
I believe the Twins can win the AL Central. Will it happen? It’s hard to say. All I know is that it’s not my fault if they don’t.