Tom Powers writes an astute article about the Twins losing a lot of games over the past few years because they have too many players who are psychologically healthy. In his piece, “Twins need fewer smiles, more snarls,” he argues that the Twins have too many nice guys, and not enough angry jerks. A compelling argument, supported by an impressive pile of evidence as large as the world’s largest unicorn, but I think Powers misses one key insight:
It’s not that the Twins don’t have enough snarls, it’s that the snarls aren’t coming in clutch situations. They’re wasting their snarls on two-out, nobody-on situations, or late in the game when it’s already a blowout, or they’re spreading them out instead of stacking them for maximum effect. I know they say that there’s no such thing as a clutch snarler, but, having done at least as much research as Powers, I can stand behind three — no, four — airtight conclusions about the game of baseball and about snarling:
1. A lone snarl is as useless as a walk. You can’t win with one snarl at a time, just like baserunners don’t mean anything unless they arrived at first via a headfirst slide.
2. Your best snarler needs to bat 6th in the lineup. Whoever says lineup order doesn’t matter has his head buried in a pile of meticulously-analyzed records. Batting order counts, and snarls need to come 6th. That’s all there is to it.
3. If a lefty snarls, and then a righty snarls, the two snarls cancel each other out. That’s why you need to have all your snarls come from the same side.
4. If your Clutch Snarl Index Ratio falls below 64, you will not make the playoffs.
That’s right– taking every team in history and running them through my proprietary Clutch Snarl Index Ratio formula (which I cannot reveal due to my upcoming book, Clutch Snarl Index Ratio For Real Dummies, You Dummy), I’ve found that no team has ever reached the playoffs with a Clutch Snarl Index Ratio below 64. It was a shocking insight, especially since the Clutch Snarl Index Ratio operates on a scale that runs between 65 and 147.
Of course, so much more research must be done before I could even think about publishing an article about this in an actual newspaper. They have standards, y’know?