With a two-run lead the Minnesota Twins were three outs away from leaving New York tied up at one game apiece. A single off closer Joe Nathan and a two-run homerun later, and the game was all tied. The Twins would go on to lose, and instead of having a great chance heading home, they’ll instead be looking to avoid a sweep when they take the field at the Metrodome for their first home game.
Now is not the time to turn on Joe Nathan. It’s not the time to say he doesn’t deserve what he makes. It’s not the time to say he shouldn’t be put right back in the game if the situation faces the team again. And it’s not the time to trash his ability.
Joe Nathan is one of the best closers in all of baseball, many would argue that he and Mariano Rivera are right up there at the top. This season, Joe Nathan helped the team cap off 47 games, and without his incredible performance in game 163, he might not have been on the mound in that situation in the first place.
Next season, barring an injury or major setback, Joe Nathan will become the team’s all-time saves leader. He already set the single-season saves record this season, and next year he’ll more than likely become the best in franchise history.
No he was not the best this season against the New York Yankees, and no he couldn’t send the Twins home with a game two victory. But Joe Nathan is one of the best closers in all of baseball, he is the closer for the team you support, and one poor game shouldn’t make fans turn their back.
There isn’t a much worse thing a fan can do than turn on a player, and Nathan doesn’t deserve it. Sure it’s the playoffs, and sure it was a huge game, but Nathan has been instrumental in the success of the team since his arrival in 2004. He has been a leader, a winner, and an All-Star, and one game shouldn’t change that.