Puddle on the Floor
We hung up our cleats back in April, but recent developments are too good not to throw in our two cents. Really.
Think about it. In early August, our boys were 6 games under .500. They’d have one good game followed by two or three lousy ones. Almost everybody gave up on even the notion of playoffs. And honestly, I think we all pretty much made our peace with that. We still watched the games and cheered, because it’s baseball, the Twins are our team, and it’s fun.
Then poor Joe Crede, who really grew on me, needed back surgery. And Justin was diagnosed with a stress fracture in his back and had to quit playing for the year. Our rotation was mostly untested rookies and guys who’d all had rough patches this year. You all get the idea, you know how it was.
But then, dang. Cuddy moved to first base and started channeling 2006 MVP Morneau. Nick “Big Game” Blackburn found his groove. Brian Duensing and Jeff Manship pitched better than we could possibly have hoped. And of course Denard, Joey and Kubel stayed awesome.
Things really started to go the team’s way. A sweep at the Cell. Beating Grienke. Enough wins against the Tigers to stay alive. All the Tigers had to do was win two games against the White Sox, in Detroit, and the Sox won two instead.
So it all came down to game 163. Again. All day Tuesday I had a knot in my stomach. I couldn’t eat, I was so nervous.
That game was crazy intense. Back and forth with the lead, some good breaks for the Twins, an insane crowd.
When Orlando Cabrera hit the two-run shot, I screamed, and scared the bejeezus out of the kitty, who jumped off my lap.
When Cuddy hit that triple, my hope was restored, but I just wasn’t sure anyone was going to get him in from third. After the Tigers intentionally walked Delmon, Matt Tolbert came a millimeter from hitting into an inning-ending, game-ending, season-ending double play, instead scoring the tying run. Again.
Then Bobby Keppel pitches. Bobby Keppel?? Yikes! Watching him get out of that bases-loaded jam was a thing of beauty. I had a feeling Gerald Laird was going to strike out, a gut feeling, so watching that third whiff was super sweet.
So here we are, at the bottom of the 12th. I had totally lost track of whose turn it was to bat because of all the pinch hitters, pinch runners and defensive changes. Go Go comes up to bat and gets a single. Huh. Cuddy grounds out but advances Go Go to 2nd. Then Alexi comes up. Alexi of the .198 batting average but still, who didn’t remember that clutch hit against the Sox in the 10th inning last September? Up he walks to the batters box, and it’s like, oh please, please just a single will do the trick. Please do it. And he did! I got off the couch, started hollering, “Run, run, run!!” Go Go was off like a bat out of hell around the bases, and the throw to the plate from right field was nowhere near in time. Yes, yes, yes, yes!! I was on the floor, pounding it with my fist, and screaming at the top of my lungs. My son was laughing his head off. He’s never, ever seen me act like that. Oh. My. Goodness. What a game. It’s impossible to imagine a better one. I really was almost a puddle on the floor. Division champs after a brutal August, after an extra game, after extra innings, with improbable heroes.
Ignore that first loss to the Yankees, fellas. Ignore the hell out of it. Go get ‘em tonight. It’s time to put this Yankee curse to bed once and for all.