Saturday, September 16, 2006

Warning: Sports Content ahead

Well I just needed to rant about my Twins for a moment. I love baseball, always have, always will. As I was growing up I watched the Minnesota Twins win 2 World Series titles from my living room floor. In fact I would say they are my second favorite sports teams (behind of course my beloved Portland Trailblazers).

Well the last 3 years I have seen 3 major injuries to 2 great, potential hall of fame players, and 1 good player. It started in 2004 with Joe Mauer. If you don't know who Joe Mauer is, well you obviously don't like baseball. The guy is arguably the best catcher in all of baseball and he is only 23 years old. The Twins signed him as the 1st pick of the 1st round of the draft so expectations were high to begin with, and I think Joe has lived up to all those expectations. Well during one fo the first games of the season he was chasing after a foul ball when his catchers gear got caught on a SPRINKLER HEAD on the field, and he ended up pretty much destroying his knee. It was a freak accident, and you could argue it cost the Twins the ability to go to the World Series in 2004, as they spent the rest of the year with Henry Blanco and company behind the plate.

Then in 2005 rookie Jason Kubel got called up by the Twins. The guys was absolutely MASHING the ball, crushing it to all fields, chasing down balls in the outfield, and was generally regarded as a very good hitter that could be an everday player for the Twins for years to come. Then, in another freak injury while playing in an Arizona Fall League he completely destroyed HIS knee. He ended up missing all of the 2005 season and has been slowly working himself back into the lineup this year, but hasn't been quite the same player.

That brings us to 2006 and Francisco "The Franchise" Liriano. He is a rookie pitcher for the Minnesota Twins who got put into the rotation at the end of May. Since becomming a starting pitcher he won 12 games, lost 1, and had an era of under 3 while striking out 150 or so batters. At the rate he was going he would have easily been rookie of the year, and the ONLY pitcher who had equal numbers to Liriano was his teammate and front runner for the Cy Young award (given to the best pitcher in the league every year) Johan Santana. Then on August 7th he had to leave a game because of elbow pain. That is bad. That is VERY bad for a pitcher. The Twins let him rest and rehab for 6 weeks and on this last wednesday Liriano made his return to the Twins lineup. He pitched through 2 innings and was absolute destroying the batters, he hadn't given up a hit and hadn't looked like he lost a single step. Then in the 3rd he threw a pitch, winced mightly and rolled his shoulder as he walked off the mound. And that will be the last we see of Francisco Liriano this year, and potentially we won't see him until opening day 2008. There has been lots of speculation around Liriano's injury, wether or not he will need Tommy John ligament replacement surgery or if rest over the rest of this season and the off season will correct the problem.

Either way, this has dealt a crushing blow to the Twins World Series hopes once again. I still think the Twins will make the playoffs, but if they had Liriano and Santana in the playoffs there was a VERY real chance the Twins would have gone into the playoffs as the world series favorites.

Anyway, this has left me incredible disappointed. Here is to hoping that Liriano's injury isn't a worse case scenario and he can return for the 2007 season. Sorry for all of you who hate sports, but I just needed to rant on this frustrating turn of events. 3 potential rookie of the year candidates all injured in 3 consecutive years for the Twins... unbelievable. At least so far Mauer and Kubel have rebounded, and if Liriano rebounds as well, the Twins have a VERY VERY VERY good young core of players that can propel the Twins in the future.

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