Keep Your Eyes On The Prize

Michael ZappContributor IFebruary 19, 2009

Everyone is salivating over the start of spring training.  It's great to get the juices flowing again and try to get the latest info regarding our favorite teams.  Very few stop to think about the simple things in life.  The baseball season is 162 games (and sometimes 163) for the regular season. 

Too many times I see articles that are focused on the next few days as far as player movement and contract terms.  Would Joe Crede's bat and defense help the Twins?  Will his back hold up on field turf for 86 games? 


One player does not make the team great.  They may only be able to bat 3 or 4 times a game.  A pitcher plays every 5th game or so.  The basics of the game are what can your team do?  RBI only happen with guys on base (home runs excluded of course). 

The Minnesota Twins are a team built through their farm system.  It works so well because many of the players have played with each other for years at different levels of the system.  The chemistry is what makes the difference.  This is why MLBPA doesn't want a salary cap system.  They are afraid that they will have to sacrifice $10 million in their own pocket to help the team. 

Does a player really need to earn $75K per game to make an error and get one hit and strike out three times?

It is still a game!  One that we have all played since t-ball.  The Twins have success because they play a game and enjoy themselves. 

Personal awards will result because of what the team does.  A Cy young award winner credits his defense on the field with him.  There are more runs produced by working the field and manufacturing runs.  A walk is as good as a single in the team aspect.  A runner on base.  Who knows, maybe a steal or a double and then you are on the board.

Players and teams will have runs and streaks through out the season.  You can't win the division in April.  Playing everyday and competing with the others on the field is what will make to difference. 

Hats off to the Twins and the way they play the game.  They have made their organization the cream of the crop because of the philosophy.  Not every team is going to have the salary like the Yankees to try to buy a championship.  The Twins win and continue to produce a great product every night because of the mindset that is throughout the organization. 

Why do you think that as the trade deadline approaches that the Twins are one of the first places teams look.  The Twins can continue to put players in position to succeed.  Sometimes it works (young rotation or '08) and others it doesn't.

I'll take my chances with the way they have put together their organization, top to bottom.  It is more entertaining to see them show up everyday and fight from first pitch to last.  Ozzie Gullien of the White Sox called them the pirhannas a few years back because from the top of the order to the bottom they play the game the way it should be played. 

They may not all hit 40 HRs a year, but they all help produce winning attitudes.  It's a long season and they enjoy playing in all 162 (or 163) games as if it were their last.

The marathon is still in preparation form.  Spring training is just that, training.  Once the season starts, don't think that one team is destined to win because they get out to a fast start (sorry met fans). 

Money isn't always the answer (Tampa Bay Devil Rays for example). 

Let the race begin.  Let's enjoy the ride and have some fun playing a kids game once again.