Yes, it's true: I picked the Minnesota Twins to reach the World Series. Which means I picked them to beat the Yankees. Which not only did they manage to not do, they managed to do so in the lamest way possible (non-Cincinnati Reds division). Yeah, this one's on me. I made this pick because I thought that the Twins had added some very nice players to the mix this year (JJ Hardy, Orlando Hudson, and my man Jim Thome) and had finally closed the talent gap with the Yankees. Plus, I thought (and still think) that the Yankees are not as strong as they were last year: their rotation remains a question mark after Sabathia (no matter how well Petite and Hughes handled the Twins), and they let go two of last year's heroes in Matsui and Damon. And Jeter officially sucks now, don't forget that.
But I knew the Twins were fucked shortly before game 2 began, when I was watching the TBS pregame, and Craig Sager reported all these little things the Twins were doing to deviate their routines. Because that said to me that they had let their failures against the Yankees into their heads, and that they had bought into all this Yankee mystique bullshit, and that they certainly weren't going to win that night, and probably wouldn't win the entire series.
After watching what's happened to the Twins, and the Reds, and the Braves, I can't help but wonder if the geniality of fans in places outside of the northeast is really for the best. I've read several things about Brooks Conrad, the Braves infielder whose defensive miscues greatly contributed to his team's elimination, and they talk about how supportive the fans are of him, and how they gave him a loud ovation when he pinch hit last night, and that's nice and all, but... dude made eight errors in seven games. You know that, if he were a Phillie, or a Yankee, or a Met, or a Red Sox, there'd be no gentle soothing ovation. Maybe in ten years we'd remember what we liked about this guy. But not now.
Things are just different here. Look, Donovan McNabb threw for over 300 yards and three touchdowns in a Super Bowl his team lost by three points, and people still talk about it as if it were one of the all-time worst big game performances. So perhaps there is something to this notion that playing in these places where trying your best just isn't good enough, because we can all try our best, but you're the professional, dammit. You ain't paid to try. Maybe that gives you the killer instinct needed to take advantage of your opponents mistakes, and the confident swagger that, sometimes, lets you win a game before it's even played.
Whatever. I just know I'm not picking against the Yankees again... until the Phillies get them, that is.