Let me preface the following by stating that I’m nether a Detroit
Tigers or Minnesota Twins fans. In fact, I’m a Milwaukee Brewers fan
and because of our old American League days and the fact that when you
live in Wisconsin you’re born to instinctively hate the boys from the
Twin Cities or any team from the land of many lakes for that matter.
But with that said, how can you dislike the Twins? After pulling out an
amazing 6-5, 12-inning come-from-behind victory over Detroit to win the
AL Central for fifth time in the last eight seasons, what’s not to like.
Here’s a team that stuck together despite looking up at the Tigers in
the standings since early May. Let’s not forget that this is the same
team that trailed Detroit by three games with four to go just a week
ago and could’ve easily folded up the tents, content that they made
them sweat and congratulated each other on a job almost done. But the
Twins, ah, those pesky Twins, just kept coming and coming. And how are
they rewarded for their incredible rally? They get to race off to New
York on a red-eye to square off against C.C. Sabathia and the mighty
Yankees later today.
On the surface, it doesn’t appear to be a fair fight, but then again
that’s something the Twins are used to. Minnesota entered the 1987 and
1991 World Series as prohibitive underdogs and we all now how those
turned out. So before we dismiss the Twins yet again, re-examine
Tuesday’s game against the Tigers and replay the entire telecast. If
you do, you’ll notice something you don’t often see. Whenever the
cameras found the Twins players in the dugout, you never once saw heads
hanging low and instead saw the look of a group of guys that believed
the next rally was only the next batter away. And that particular look
has alluded many a good team over the years but once you get it, it
doesn’t go away. It sticks with you until the final out because you’ve
already proven that your team is capable.
And while the Yankees $200 million-plus payroll has afforded them the
luxury of putting at least five future Hall of Famers into their lineup
every day, the Twins and their measly $58 million payroll will likely
make them sweat out a series win as they have vitrually every series
they’ve competed in all season.
If I were a betting man (and I am by the way) I would stay away from
this series altogether because despite the boys from the Bronx being
the heavy favorite, you can’t discount a team with the collective
hearts bigger than the Big Apple itself. My guess is the Yanks will
ultimately prevail in this series but not before being involved in a
heavyweight fight with a roster made up primarily of lightweights.