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Posted on: October 3, 2010 1:20 pm
Edited on: October 3, 2010 1:20 pm

If you build it, they will come

Met Stadium is gone.  The echoes from Rod Carew, Tony Oliva, Jim Kaat, Larry Hisle,  Danny Ford, Bob Allison, Harmon Killebrew, Billy Martin and Frank Quilicy  are done... Calvin Griffith and his notoriously short pockets and his utter lack of loyalty to anything but his business are gone.  In its place is a behemoth shopping center, loads of hotels and an extremely large waterpark; tons of entertainment, though the street behind is Puckett Drive... and Killebrew drive...

The seasons when we came close enough to win the American League penant outright; only to hit a buzzsaw of  Sandy Koufax and his three game shutdown... the ones where we were in dead last place and yearned for a glimpse of ANY place besides teh bottom...

Where we saw hall of famers grown, play, only to be stolen or traded away by a greedy owner, where we never QUITE reached the pinnacle...but a few times got oh so close...

The Metrodome is still there.  It is a ticking timebomb, with a frustrated Vikings team lividly angry; with its prospects bleak and the area around the new stadium revitalized...

But the echoes from there also live.  I was there... during the post Griffith new ownership, bought on the request of a lifelong passionate fan mother, at one point had teams that wouldn't have beat AA... where fifth place was a  dream spot...

and then there were the magic years.  When we had the little engine that could season; where a team with 85 wins and the worst road record in history for playoff teams met a buzzsaw that had killed them every game during the year, with a team of people no one had yet heard of, with a town that is a football town and a hockey town and NO one gave them a chance..

and that place became electric.  It was ugly, dingy, bizarre and a game changer; but that fall that place came alive; and it became part of the Twins history.

Where Tom Brunansky and Frank Viola and  KirbyPuckett and Billy Hatcher and Gary Gaetti and Greg Gagner and Kent Hrbek came together, won the division; and came back from the away game they clinched at; to be sent to the dome to have a couple thousand greet them after they made it to the postseason for the first time in ages.

Only to be greeted by 50,000 screaming fans, late at night, no notice whatsoever.

That night lasted for HOURS.  It was the first sign of life a team with non caring owners, revolving players and a history of either almosts or nowhere nears, ended.

they get to the world series, fight with heart, sweat, AMAZING defense and clutch hits by the unexpected...  and they win.

HUGE parade... fans finally care... people started to believe again.  The town came together and nothing else mattered.

Stayed good for a while but again, lost players to necessary and stupid trades (tommy Herr, anyone?)

We lose power, we bleed to other teams because STILL our owner doesn't care; the team becomes all home grown... four years later we again get to the postseason.  Again, I was there... in the place during the world series; where your throat bled, your ears rang for a week and it was literally alive.

I got my wallet stolen.  I lost my voice.  I lost my hearing partially for a while.  But we won, and it was the most amazing series overall I've ever seen, and not just because it was the Twins.  It was AMAZING baseball.  It was a shame anyone had to lose.

We ended up the next year having the best record we'd ever had, but Oakland was better.  That was it for a while; and then our owner decided developing players to sell off was not getting him rich fast enough.  He decided he could make the most money if he chopped up his mother's heart team and sold it for spare parts.

Our history be damned.  Our players be damned.  Our heritage of AMAZING players, some special teams, and the memories of what those even losing penants brought to our city; be damned.

He was already the richest owner in the league, but to Carl Pohlad  it wasn't enough.  He didn't care about the team.  He wanted more money; and he was good pals with the commissioner; who just happened to be the one person who would most benefit from us ceasing to exist; as he was first in line to inherit all the newly displaced fans...

And they agreed; and our team had a pickaxe held over its head... the commission was the only one that kept them alive at all, and that was with a ticking timebomb...

build it, or we WILL revisit this, and you will be chopped up and sold for spare parts.  No moving you, no trading you; you will cease to exist.

Six years... new stadium, or else...

In that six years some amazingly special players came, and in that six years one of the most special players EVER on any team died.  The smile that lit up the entire state; went away.

I was there when the dome lost power, and had a game delay for 45 minutes.  I was there when people got fed up with the ownerships treatment of the team.  People got angry.  People got apathetic.  People still bled purple; and this team which did nothing but play its heart out every single solitary game regardless of the owners, regardless of the fans, regardless of the scenery and the potential upheaval, just kept playing perfect baseball.

TK changed from manager to scout.  Gebhart left.  McPhail left... we kept developing players... we got to the point where we not only weren't in the basement; we were the ones who somehow every year had a REALLY good shot at winning the division; but we knew it wouldn't matter; we would not advance.

The magic was gone.

Somehow, some way; they got the deal done.  The dome with the best record in baseball, the dome that had the magic, was about to become yet another piece of fabric to the past...

and this year they unveiled their future.   close to the dome, but not on top of it.

Puckett honored, Mauer honored.  Two MVPs and another future hall of famer on the team right now (two of which are not playing at all; and we've still been winning); a manager who has been robbed at not having won manager of the year as yet; when he has had nothing but MASSIVELY huge hurdles, uncertainty, horrendous injuries that would have crippled most teams and constant shuffling and plugging of major holes without missing a beat...

They built it.  And the fans FINALLY started to come.  Four games thus far have not been a sellout.  People are seeing in person what has been there all along... a team with heart, a team with AMAZING talent that most of the league doesn't know except for a couple superstars... a first basemen who has taken over for the MVP that has not only filled in there; but almost every other position on the field... and done it quietly, and done it rock solid.  Rookies have been performing.  We lose a MASSIVELY huge foundational stone in Joe Nathan, and everyone else steps up.  Justin Morneau goes down and Young ends up with the season of his life; Thome has been beyond words in the heart, drive, talent and veteran leadership.  Joe Mauer has the worst year he's ever had and STILL is lightyears ahead of almost any other catcher ever.  And the second half of the season he's improved 1000%.  He has gotten the pitchers through unbelievably difficult transitions with both starters and pen being almost completely rebuilt throughout the season; and done it with amazing defense, focus and solidness.

There is a new hero every day.  And when the sun sets at that field and it glows off the skyline that is part of the view from the field, it is so beautifiul it makes a person want to cry.   When the fireflies come out;  when Minny and Paul shake hands on the outfield sign at the hitting of a home run...

The magic is back.  We actually spent money for once this year; and kept the player we would have lost in the past; he's not only one of the most special players to ever play the game, but he's OURS.

We have outside baseball again, and in a place that the beauty is not just in the environment (and make no mistake; it is INCREDIBLY beautiful); it's on the field.  Because they play beautiful baseball.

Some fans have stuck through them through thick and thin, those of us who have followed during the lean years and the years of magic have been on a wild ride; but this year is yet again special.

Still don't for sure know who will be coming out next week... but I know one thing... baseball in October here, OUTSIDE, with fans who are passionate again following a team that has always been about passion, heart, incredible work ethic and loyalty, even when it has not been paid back by all of the fans and by almost none of the ownership...

they are a team that deserves to be appreciated... they are a team that deserves to be followed, and they are VERY much a team that deserves to be cheered.  And now they finally have an amazingly indescribably beautiful place to be cheered at.

The players and managers do it right; even when they do it alone. 
Play ball, it was built; let them come.

and let them cheer.
Category: MLB
Posted on: October 3, 2010 1:10 pm
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