Reach back to the Twins and Tigers, Game 163 of the 2009 season. Standing on the hill for the Twins was Scott Baker, while on the other side was rookie Rick Porcello. Broadcasting that game was TBS, and one of the announcers was the one and only Chip Carey. His father he was not, and Carey made a couple of mistakes throughout the game. Most notably, to Twins fans, was this call:
"Line drive. Base hit. Caught out there. The runner tags. Throw to the plate. On target! And on time! Double play!"
In addition to Carey's broadcasting gaffs, which I don't want to get too down on him for because they happen to everybody, was the inexhaustible number of ways in which he could bring up that Rick Porcello was "just 20 years old."
Little things? Absolutely. But our Minnesota Twins had been written off for dead. They were seven games behind the first place Tigers at the start of September, and still three games back with four games remaining. So naturally, after watching the effort of our Twins day in and day out for more than a month and seeing them scratch and claw their way to forcing a tie at the top of the American League Central Division and forcing the Tigers into Game 163, naturally we all wanted some accuracy and a little bit of respect.
And on that day, Caray was lacking in accuracy and, as Twins fans, maybe we felt we were being glossed over for the team that had been in first place all season and in favor of what the broadcasters perhaps thought was the better storyline: not the team that miraculously forced Game 163, but that a rookie was starting such a pivotal contest.
So we took it over the top. You can look through the game thread that night - comments like "Rick Porcello is the best rookie ever" and "Stop talking about how the Tigers deserve this more. They don't." really hammer home what the experience was like when watching Caray's broadcast on TBS. There's also a lot of complaining about home plate umpire Randy Marsh, which was eventually backed up by the "biased" broadcasting crew who called the strike zone "inconsistent".
This comment may have been the actual birth of the meme, in Overflow Thread #1. By Overflow Thread #3, it's all sunk in pretty well.
Based on the importance of that game, and the (at least perceived) bias towards the Tigers, it's just become one of those things. Most likely because the Twins actually won the game.
So the next time somebody asks you about the RICK-PORCELLO-IS-JUST-20-YEARS-OLD meme, you can answer with some confidence that it's just Twinkie Town fans holding onto a joke that's more than three and a half years old at the time of this writing.
At least to me, this meme is really about finding a narrative and blowing it up to gargantuan status. Clearly, we've chosen to take it to a completely different level.
Anyway - below are highlights from Game 163, which has been hailed as the 16th best baseball game of all time. It truly was incredible.