Thursday, May 12, 2016

Dick Bremer Disease

It occurred to me Wednesday afternoon that there is probably no more difficult job in Minnesota sports right now than broadcasting Twins games.

Unlike the newspaper writers, the broadcasters are under team control. Part of the job is to hype and shill and sell tickets. And it is not easy to talk with enthusiasm this month about the 2016 Twins, especially when, unlike the rest of us, they have to sit there and actually watch all of it.

So it was with sour amusement that I listened to Dick Bremer and Roy Smalley cling to the notion that 2015 represented the "real" Twins. The 2015 Twins had one extraordinary month (May) and played below .500 in every other month. That was enough to keep them in the playoff chase until the final weekend.

We all share, to one degree or another, the tendency to believe that a certain player's best short-term performance is his true level of ability. Bremer has vocalized that tendency so often over the years that I started calling it "Dick Bremer Disease." Torii Hunter reached the All Star break in 2002 with his batting average above .300, and Bremer spent a couple years talking about Hunter as a .300 hitter. He recently referred to Kurt Suzuki as "an All-Star" in the context of him being part of a challenging part of the lineup facing an opposing reliever. For Bremer, presumably, Suzuki's April-July in 2014 was the "real" Suzuki, and the rest of his career the aberration.

This was, I think, the first case of Dick Bremer Disease applied to the entire team. But, as I say, he's expected to speak well of this bunch. How to do that and maintain any credibility is his problem.

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