Twin killing?

November 13, 2001 8:35 AM
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Until this month, I always thought of contraction as a way to shorten words.

Now, thanks to Major League Baseball, contraction has a much more sinister tone. It means the end. As in possibly no more Montreal Expos, Minnesota Twins, Florida Marlins and Tampa Devil Rays.

To the Expos I say, au revoir. These guys opened in a joke of a field called Jarry Park, and went downhill from there. I still haven’t recovered from watching Coco Laboy play third base.

The Marlins have been a blight on baseball ever since they bought themselves a World Series title five years ago. As for the Devil Rays, when are they due to join the Major Leagues? Oh, they’ve been in the American League. Hadn’t noticed. Their players have about as much recognition as a CIA mole.

But what in the name of Harmon Killebrew, Zoilo Versalles and Tony Oliva is baseball trying to do by eliminating the Minnesota Twins? If they don’t cease and desist, I’m going to send Don Mincher and Bobby Allison over to cause them bodily harm.

The Twins are one of the more popular teams throughout the Midwest and farm belt states. Doesn’t Major League Baseball realize the Twins rank with the New York Yankees and Chicago Cubs as the team tourists bet on the most to win the World Series?

If they do eliminate the Twins, it will have come 10 years too late for Nevada bookmakers. They still haven’t recovered from the Twins winning the 1991 World Series at opening odds as high as 250-1.

Naturally the baseball union filed a grievance claiming Major League Baseball couldn’t do away with teams because it violates the labor contract.

Never mind what occurred Sept. 11. Baseball owners and players are headed for another work stoppage, if not a strike. Man, don’t these people ever learn. Forget Stonehenge or the identity of Jack the Ripper. The greatest mystery is how baseball owners ever made enough money to buy a team. Some of these owners make Terrell Owens and Kyle Turley look like brain surgeons.

Baseball players aren’t the sharpest tools in the woodshed either. These guys are greedier than a Spanish Conquistador. It’s insulting to see some .220 hitting journeyman making nearly a million dollars a year, when half of Las Vegas is out of jobs.

But, heck, why stop with eliminating just two teams. Why not kick out half the teams since they have no shot anyway. Unlike pro football and basketball, which have a salary cap system, baseball has no such evening-out safeguard. It’s not a level playing field in baseball.

Sports books might as well lump the Pittsburgh Pirates, Milwaukee Brewers, Kansas City Royals, Detroit Tigers, Twins and Expos together as a “field” wager, and still put them up at 50-1 for all the chance they have.

Commissioner Bud Selig recognizes that. He should know it owning the Brewers. Selig realizes there has to be more revenue sharing between teams. However, asking the players and owners to cooperate for the harmony of the game is like asking Ariel Sharon and Yasir Arafat to exchange Hanukkah gifts.

Here’s my suggestion for Major League Baseball. Don’t get rid of teams. Get rid of owners and players. I’m sure Baltimore fans wouldn’t mind Peter Angelos leaving. Certainly there would be no sympathy if brutish George Steinbrenner was given the boot, or devious Jerry Reinsdorf of the Chicago White Sox was given the heave-ho.

Now let’s get rid of a bunch of these me-first ballplayers. Goodbye and good riddance to Gary Sheffield, Carl Everett, Frank Thomas and Derek Bell.

I’d suggest Barry Bonds, too, but I will cut him a little slack since he did just set the single-season home run record. The only people rooting harder against Bonds than me were those who bet the “no” on a proposition wager that he wouldn’t break the homer record, and his own teammates.

Bonds is now a free agent ready to sell his mercenary soul to the highest bidder. Somehow I don’t think he’ll be returning to Pittsburgh.

Sports books around town have the Twins up at around 20-1, and the Expos around 100-1. Presumably, these are their odds to win the 2002 World Series, not their chances for survival.

If a hotel is looking for some cheap publicity, they should hang a prop on will there be a baseball season in 2002, “yes” or “no.”

If there isn’t a baseball season next year there may never be another one.