The Mariners are officially eliminated from postseason contention and that is sad, but other teams have made their fans very happy by reaching the hallowed ground of the postseason, and that is nice for them, I guess. There is no reason we shouldn’t get a little taste of that glory just because we are Mariners fans, so over the coming weeks, we will be inviting a writer from each playoff-bound team to make their most compelling case for the postseason hearts and minds of Mariners fans. Yesterday, Charlie Gebow from AZ Snakepit wrote on the Diamondbacks. Today, Brandon Warne from The Athletic argues for the surprisingly capable Minnesota Twins.
1. The short pitch: in a tweet, limerick, haiku, or other short form, tell us why we should bandwagon your team.
There once was a team named the Twins
Who defied expectations with wins
They won't break your heart
If you never start
Dreaming where the parade route begins
2. The longer pitch: Expand on the most compelling reasons to root for your team.
The big thing here is that it's virtually the same roster that lost 103 games in 2016. A new, more forward-thinking front office was brought in, but their only significant offseason moves were bringing in pitch-framer extraordinaire Jason Castro and not trading Brian Dozier for pennies on the dollar. They're going from the outhouse to the penthouse, as a team that selected No. 1 overall just three months ago. If any team can make you believe that your team has a shot, it's this Minnesota Twins club.
3. Help us fake it: What's a cool stat we can casually drop to make it seem like we've been following this team all along?
Since returning from the disabled list on Aug. 1, Byron Buxton is hitting .302/.350/.566 with 11 home runs and 11 steals in 209 PA. In other words, he's playing at a pace that'd get him into the 30-30 club. The overall numbers say he's been OK, but outside of a rough April, he's been amazing (.272/.328/.463 with plus-plus defense in CF). He should win a Gold Glove this year.
He's also 27-of-28 in stolen bases this season, and his only time being caught was when he overslid the bag on May 23 in Baltimore.
4. Our new favorite player: Which under-the-radar player has a particularly cool backstory, social media presence, or is just generally awesome and worthy of our love and admiration?
Trevor Hildenberger. On a team full of generally likable dudes, Hildy is near the top as an unassuming righty who rarely cracks 90 with his fastball, but throws from a funky angle with great results. He's like Pat Neshek with grounders, and by the way, his Twitter account says he loves memes. [Ed. note: also science gifs and Doctor Who and Mahershala Ali and now I love him too.]
5. Mariners fans are used to being miserable/love an underdog. What's your team's misery/underdog quotient?
It's pretty simple -- they're the only team ever to lose 100 games one year and make the playoffs the next. They're playing with house money, and they're an extremely likable group of misfits.
6. The happiness quotient: What are the chances your team can go all the way?
Virtually zero -- so Mariners fans can stay in their comfort zone. Not but seriously, for a fall fling, why not shoot for the stars?