Minnesota columnist outraged the Twins enjoyed themselves after a victory

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The Twins stink. This is not exactly a state secret. But even bad teams win sometimes and when they win they’re allowed to be happy. Unless, of course, they play in Minnesota, where according to one columnist there is no fun allowed.

The columnist is Patrick Reusse of the Star-Tribune and he is outraged that the Twins celebrated a victory the other night:

It was understandable the Twins celebrated Tuesday’s winning home run by greeting Dozier wildly at home plate, sending a bat boy to dump water over Dozier’s head during a postgame interview, and holding a smoke-filled dance party in the clubhouse.

It was understandable because this team and this organization appear to have lost all shame in the misery of a season that has captured huge momentum to stand as the most-disgusting in the 56 the Twins have played in Minnesota

That’s what Reusse uses as a launching pad into his assessment of a bad Twins team and organization. Which, as far as it goes, is fair to criticize. They have performed poorly and there are serious questions about whether there needs to be an organizational overhaul. That sort of thing is the stuff of sober analysis, though, not the stuff of comical shaming and bile that Reusse offers here.

He demands that everyone in the organization be “embarrassed” at their “pathetic” performance. He says fans are “outraged” and that “anger is not a strong enough description of the fans’ reaction. It is hostility.” He refers to 14-year-old transactions (i.e. letting David Ortiz go) as “wounds.” It’s a drama queen act so overheated I had to check to make sure I wasn’t reading a parody.

He also offers up some pretty questionable crap. Like saying, “there is nothing more damaging to the Twins’ future than the ongoing difficulty in getting extra-talented players from the Caribbean to become fully invested in reaching stardom.” There’s a lot to unpack there. It comes in a familiar suitcase, though, in which Latino players are seen as unmotivated as a basic proposition, which is some pretty ugly stuff in which I had assumed major paper columnists had stopped trafficking. Guess not.

He’s also chapped that minor league pitcher Kohl Stewart, isn’t a star. I can’t say I’m super high on Kohl Stewart either, but what a curious take it is to offer a high school pitcher drafted in 2013 as an example of a broken player development system. Oh, and near the end he complains about the high price of concessions at Target Field, which is about as transparent and cliche a beef as it comes. But rest assured, citizens of Minnesota, Patrick Reusse is your protector.

Or maybe the citizens of Minnesota don’t need a protector. Maybe they aren’t as emotionally invested in a baseball team as Reusse thinks they should be. I’m sure some are, and that they’re the small, loud handful which call in to his radio show, but I’d guess most Twins fans have challenges and concerns that anger and outrage them far more than an underachieving baseball team does. That, contrary to what sports yakkers like Reusse think, they realize that sports are not real life and most people have a better perspective on that than those who are paid to rile people up and spit hot fire a few times a week.

Reusse and his ilk are the tail that wags the dog. They’ve been so for decades, pretending that their anger, real or put-on, is the true voice of sports fandom. There’s a silent majority out there, however, that doesn’t think like this. Men, women and children who enjoy a game and prefer a win but who don’t expect the self-flagellation from athletes Reusse demands and who aren’t as self-entitled as Reusse would have them be. We’ve accepted such fictions as fact from a self-important sports media for far too long. We should stop accepting it.

Texas Rangers ink free-agent ace Jacob deGrom to 5-year deal

Jacob deGrom
USA Today

ARLINGTON, Texas — Jacob deGrom is headed to the free-spending Texas Rangers, who believe the health risk is worth the potential reward in trying to end a six-year run of losing.

The two-time Cy Young Award winner agreed to a $185 million, five-year contract Friday, leaving the New York Mets after nine seasons – the past two shortened substantially by injuries.

“We acknowledge the risk, but we also acknowledge that in order to get great players, there is a risk and a cost associated with that,” Rangers general manager Chris Young said. “And one we feel like is worth taking with a player of Jacob’s caliber.”

Texas announced the signing after the 34-year-old deGrom passed his physical. A person with direct knowledge of the deal disclosed the financial terms to The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the club did not announce those details.

The Rangers were also big spenders in free agency last offseason, signing shortstop Corey Seager ($325 million, 10 years) and second baseman Marcus Semien ($175 million, seven years).

The team said deGrom will be introduced in a news conference at Globe Life Field next week following the winter meetings in San Diego.

“It fits in so many ways in terms of what we need,” Young said. “He’s a tremendous person. I have a number of close friends and teammates who played with Jacob and love him. I think he’s going to be just a perfect fit for our clubhouse and our fans.”

Texas had modest expectations after adding Seager, Semien and starter Jon Gray ($56 million, four years) last offseason but still fell short of them.

The Rangers went 68-94, firing manager Chris Woodward during the season, and then hired Bruce Bochy, a three-time World Series champion with San Francisco. Texas’ six straight losing seasons are its worst skid since the franchise moved from Washington in 1972.

Rangers owner Ray Davis said the club wouldn’t hesitate to keep adding payroll. Including the $19.65 million qualifying offer accepted by Martin Perez, the team’s best pitcher last season, the Rangers have spent nearly $761 million in free agency over the past year.

“I hate losing, but I think there’s one person in our organization who hates losing worse than me, and I think it’s Ray Davis,” Young said. “He’s tired of losing. I’m tired of losing. Our organization is tired of losing.”

After making his first start in early August last season, deGrom went 5-4 with a 3.08 ERA in 11 outings. He helped the Mets reach the playoffs, then passed up a $30.5 million salary for 2023 and opted out of his contract to become a free agent for the first time.

That ended his deal with the Mets at $107 million over four years, and deGrom rejected their $19.65 million qualifying offer in November. New York will receive draft-pick compensation for losing him.

The fan favorite becomes the latest in a long line of ace pitchers to leave the Mets for one reason or another, including Nolan Ryan, Tom Seaver, Dwight Gooden and David Cone.

The Rangers visit Citi Field from Aug. 28-30.

When healthy, deGrom is perhaps baseball’s most dominant pitcher. His 2.52 career ERA ranks third in the expansion era (since 1961) behind Los Angeles Dodgers lefty Clayton Kershaw (2.48) and Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax (2.19) among those with at least 200 starts.

The right-hander is 4-1 with a 2.90 ERA in five career postseason starts, including a win over San Diego in the wild-card round this year that extended the Mets’ season. New York was eliminated the next night.

A four-time All-Star and the 2014 NL Rookie of the Year, deGrom was a ninth-round draft pick by the Mets in 2010 out of Stetson, where he played shortstop before moving to the mound. He was slowed by Tommy John surgery early in his career and didn’t reach the majors until age 26.

Once he arrived, though, he blossomed. He helped the Mets reach the 2015 World Series and earn a 2016 playoff berth before winning consecutive NL Cy Young Awards in 2018 and 2019.

But injuries to his elbow, forearm and shoulder blade have limited him to 26 starts over the past two seasons. He compiled a career-low 1.08 ERA over 92 innings in 2021, but did not pitch after July 7 that year because of arm trouble.

DeGrom is 82-57 with 1,607 strikeouts in 1,326 innings over nine big league seasons. He gets $30 million next year, $40 million in 2024 and 2025, $38 million in 2026 and $37 million in 2027. The deal includes a conditional option for 2028 with no guaranteed money.

The addition of deGrom gives the Rangers three proven starters along with Gray and Perez, who went 12-8 with a career-best 2.89 ERA in his return to the team that signed him as a teenager out of Venezuela. Young didn’t rule out the addition of another starter.

With several holes on their starting staff, the Mets have shown interest in free agents Justin Verlander and Carlos Rodon to pair with 38-year-old Max Scherzer atop the rotation.

Now, with deGrom gone, signing one of those two could become a much bigger priority.