Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Joe Mauer is no Jake Taylor

A six degrees of separation type thing happening tonight. Or something.

Four days ago, character actor James Gammon died at the age of 70. Gammon might have been best known as playing the grouchy Lou Brown, the hard-scrabbled manager who improbably leads the Cleveland Indians to a division title in the classic movie Major League.

Tonight I saw Inception. Tom Berenger has a role in it. Berenger, of course, played grouchy catcher Jake Taylor, the veteran, over-the-hill tough guy whose guts and grittiness help the Indians to the title in Major League.

Tonight the Twins played the hapless Indians.

In the movie, Jake Taylor wins the one-game playoff against the hated Yankees with a surprise bunt down the third-base line. The winning run comes around from second to score.

Tonight, Joe Mauer stepped up to the plate with the score tied and runners on first and second. To the surprise of, well, everyone but the Major League screenwriter, Mauer bunted. He failed. The Indians got out of the inning a batter later. The Indians won the game. The Twins mourned. Their fans cursed. Writers wailed.

If Mauer was indeed inspired by a movie, couldn't it have been The Natural instead?

Now, if the Twins follow the plot to Major League II, next season Mauer will take over as interim manager for an ill Ron Gardenhire and lead the team to the AL pennant. And that really doesn't sound any more improbable than Mauer's bunt.

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