Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Something(s) to play for

As the Twins slide further out of contention — and, Tuesday's win over Texas notwithstanding, they assuredly will — there will be repeated references to "meaningless" games, that the team has "nothing to play for."

Whadda buncha baloney.

Joe Mauer and (to a lesser extent) Justin Morneau are playing for history, for the dabs of bold-face ink in the stat books that will illuminate their superiority to future generations.

Orlando Cabrera, Joe Crede and Carl Pavano, veterans on one-year deals, are playing for their next contracts.

Jeff Manship, Anthony Swarzak, Phil Humber and Brian Duensing are pitching to establish themselves as major leaguers. Jesse Crain is pitching to establish that he shouldn't be pushed aside. Nick Blackburn is pitching to find what worked in the first half, to fix what's gone sour in the second half.

Carlos Gomez and Delmon Young, Alexi Casilla and Brendan Harris and Nick Punto — all have next season's playing time at stake.

These are "me" goals rather than "we" goals. But they are real goals, with real pressures on the players involved — in some ways, there is more pressure on Casilla this September than there was last September, because his future may be at stake.

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