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The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

Twins keep baseball alive in Metrodome with playoff berth

By Daniel Kerwin

I’m going to miss going to Twins games in the Metrodome. At every game I went to this season another number was removed from the Twins’ “countdown to outdoor baseball,” marking the number of games they had left in the Dome before moving to their new home of Target Field next year. The countdown was supposed to end on Sunday, but the Twins weren’t ready to say goodbye to the Dome just yet.My housemates and fellow Mac Weekly staffers Mathew Starner and Matt Day attended Sunday’s game, expecting to perhaps see the last ever Twins game at the Dome. But the Twins proved them wrong, smashing five home runs in a convincing 13-4 victory against the Royals to secure at least one further game in the Metrodome, Tuesday night’s play-in game against the Tigers to determine the Central Division champion. Again, this game had the potential to be the last time the Twins would play at the Dome, but after their thrilling 6-5 walk-off win the Twins will be playing at least one more game in the Dome and potentially up to nine more if they make it to the World Series. The more the merrier!

The Twins have produced no shortage of great memories in their 28 years playing in the Metrodome, most of them resonating around the name Kirby Puckett, but this season could become their most memorable yet. The Twins had to make up significant ground over the last part of the season to challenge Detroit for the division title, and they came through by going 16-4 to close out the season. They became the first team ever to come back from a three game deficit with four games left to play, matching the Tigers for the Central Division’s best record and setting up the play-in game. The Twins won two World Series playing in the dome in 1987 and 1991, and a World Series title this year would be a fitting sendoff for the Dome.

If they do win the World Series it will likely be Joe Mauer that’s remembered as the face of this team. Mauer, who went to high school just down Snelling Avenue from Macalester at Cretin Durham Hall, is the perfect homegrown talent and the state’s most eligible bachelor, loved so much in this state that I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Twins renamed the Minnesota Mauers in the near future. Mauer is also likely the best hitter in the game, coming off of his best season yet despite missing all of April, a season in which he won his third batting title, more than doubled his previous high in home runs and will probably be named as the AL MVP. Mauer managed to stay in relative obscurity on the national scene before this year, but not anymore, especially if the playoffs go well.

The Twins last playoff run came in 2006, when I and the rest of the senior class were just starting freshman year, and now this year’s run gives the rest of the student body the chance to experience the excitement surrounding Twins playoff baseball. Back in 2006 they had the Cy Young winner in Johan Santana, the MVP in Justin Morneau and batting champion in Mauer, but they couldn’t get past the Oakland Athletics in the first round This year they have to take down the Yankees, whom they lost to in the first round in both 2003 and 2004.

There’s no question that getting past the Yankees will be tough, and the series didn’t start off in the best fashion with the Twins losing the first game 7-2 on Wednesday night. To be fair the Yankees did have a full two days to prepare for the matchup while the Twins had to zoom into town after their exhausting 12 inning contest against the Tigers, but the odds are still stacked in the Yankees favor. The Twins went 0-7 against the Yankees this season, and the Yankees finished with baseball’s best record, and for them every year they don’t win the World Series is deemed a disappointing season.

But that’s only the beginning of the disparity between the two teams. The Yankees have the highest payroll in baseball by far, over three times larger than that of the Twins, and have controversial stars such as Alex Rodriguez in contrast to the Twins’ hometown hero in Mauer. The Twins can seldom afford to keep their top players, losing stars such as Santana, Torii Hunter and David Ortiz over the years, but the Yankees seem to buy top players every off season, adding Mark Teixiera and CC Sabathia among others this past offseason. Also, the Yankees have won the World Series four times since the Twins last won it. Any non-partial observer who has a heart should be rooting for the Twins in this one.

The Colorado Rockies are the Twins’ counterpart as heavy underdogs in the National League, making the playoffs after an 18-28 start to the season. Starner and I, both hailing from Colorado, have been pulling for a Rockies vs. Twins World Series since the season began, and with both in the playoffs the first criterion has been met. You can be rest assured that you will find us in the Dome if the rest of the scenario plays out.

In the end no matter how far the Twins go, it will be a shame to see baseball leave the Metrodome. Regardless of how many people have complained about the quality of baseball in the Dome, there’s going to be a ton more complaining when people are sitting through frigid games in outdoor Target Field come April. Isn’t that why the Metrodome was built in the first place?

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