Say it ain't so, Joe.
First we had to deal with Justin, A.J. and Eddie Guardado. That was bad enough. Then they brought up that Mauer kid and the Neshek guy with the funky windup. Worse, but we could handle it.
But not Joe. Anyone but Joe.
Remember all those miracle home runs Joe Crede hit in crunch time? The line shots to the left field corner that just barely made it out of the park? The diving stops and double plays down at third?
Not Joe. Why you? Moreover, why the Twins?
Goodbye, Mr. Clutch
It's unfortunate, but we knew it was coming. The writing had been on the wall since 2007, when Crede went down and Josh Fields hit 22 homers in half a season. Sure, he batted way below .270 and didn't have the defense, but oh, the potential.
(Keep that in mind: potential.)
Then, the White Sox picked up Alexei Ramirez and Gordon Beckham, and Chris Getz's name started popping up in conversations everywhere. The writing was on the wall.
Joey C, Mr. Clutch, the best third baseman of the last four years not to win a Gold Glove, was leaving town. It was sad, but it was okay, because he was going to some faraway place—San Francisco or Seattle maybe.
But not the Twins. Crede would never play for the Twins. He wouldn't ever betray Chicago like that.
And Crede himself, the kid from central Missouri? He probably wouldn't. But you know Scott Boras would.
Now the Twins are like this decade's version of the Killer B's, except with J's—Justin, Joe and, well, Joe.
Imagine, if you will...
Mark Buerhle said himself he didn't know how Crede's back would hold up on AstroTurf. Brian Anderson wished him good luck and a 40-homer season (except against the Sox, of course.) And Ozzie Guillen reminded all the potential haters where the White Sox would be today without Crede. And that's all well and good.
But what happens when Ron Gardenhire and the Twinkies take our good-old Joe and mold him into that "Piranha" system of bunts and "get-'em-over" singles and groundouts?
Worse yet, what happens in September? Can't you see it now: a close, late-inning game at the Metrodome, men on base, Octavio Dotel on the mound to put out the fire, and Crede walks to plate representing the winning run?
Oh, the humanity.
In reality, it's way too early to tell what will happen. The White Sox had a tough enough time dealing with the Twins pitching staff, which has had a year to mature. Glen Perkins, Kevin Slowey, and Nick Blackburn are no doubt going to be even better than they were last year.
I predict they'll hit that sophomore wall around August, but the Sox will have to be tough on them, especially in Minnesota.
Besides that, Crede's back has been an albatross on his back (no pun intended) for a few years now. I never had to deal with it, but all the players say AstroTurf is no joke. If the Twins lose Crede, that would be a boost for the Sox, as the Brian Buscher/Brendan Harris platoon can't match a healthy Crede.
Right now, with the Sox picked to finish last, I think they'll come out and surprise critics for at least the first half of the season. It's just a given by now that the prognosticators don't believe in the South Siders.
But still, Joe, the Twins?
Say it ain't so.