If anyone had told me three weeks ago that today the Twins would be the AL Central Division Champs, I would have said they were crazy. After all, they had been having a miserable season. Everybody was getting hurt. Their best pitchers were either hurt or couldn’t find the strike zone. Joe Crede and Justin Morneau had season-ending injuries, and the best hitter in the game, Joe Mauer, was out for the first month of the season. The bullpen was extremely shaky. Pitchers we could depend on were no longer dependable. Even our great closer, Joe Nathan, was unable to throw a strike to save his life. And while the Twins were hitting more home runs than they had in many years, the other teams were hitting them too, and at just the right times.
It was looking mighty bleak. But guys started stepping up, as they say. Guys who used to sit on the bench for much of the game were being pressed into service, and they were performing. And the Twins started winning. And over the last month they somehow caught up with the Detroit Tigers, and last night in the Metrodome the managed to pull it out in twelve innings, winning the division in the 163’d game of the season.
It makes me think of the 1987 season. The Twins weren’t supposed to win that time either, but they did. I don’t know what it is, but there’s a feeling in the air – it’s October Magic. Players who shouldn’t be able to win are winning. And our dumpy old Metrodome, which was supposed to be dark by now, will host at least one more game before the Twins move to Target Field.
Tonight the Twins play the Yankees in game one of the division series at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees and the New York press are supremely confident. And with the Yankees’ record, I suppose they have every right to be.
But there’s something magical afoot. The Yankees might be surprised to find themselves losers when the series is done.
No, I don’t know if the Twins can beat the mighty Yankees. But when that October Magic comes around, who knows what will happen? I’ve seen stranger things happen in baseball. There may still be some of that magic left in the Dome, enough for one more World Series.