Jason Kubel's catwalk-enabled, game-winning hit against Tampa Bay on Thursday is one of the strangest endings to a Minnesota Twins game in recent memory. But it's not the only one. Below are some other memorable games that you may have forgotten or never heard of, as I am making them up:
- The Rusty Kuntz Game, June 21, 1983. The Twins had traded minor-leaguer Mike Sodders to the White Sox for outfielder Rusty Kuntz earlier in the day. When Bob Casey announced the trade over the Metrodome PA system, outraged parents, unaware that this was a real person's name, stormed the field and attempted to get into Casey's booth behind home plate. Unable to restore order, the umpires called the game and the Twins were forced to forfeit to the Blue Jays.
- The Rocky Rococo Buffet Incident, June 19, 1987. Minnesota had recently signed girthy free agent pitcher Terry Forster to bolster their bullpen. Upon arriving in the Twins locker room, Forster was greeted by first baseman Kent Hrbek, himself a heavier fellow. Hrbek reportedly said, "There's only room for one of us in this locker room, hombre. Rocky Rococo, 494 strip, NOW." Forster and Hrbek then allegedly gorged on the restaurant's $3.99 All-You-Can-Eat Pizza Buffet, with Hrbek stripping to his waist and eating three Canadian bacon-and-pineapple pies atop a passed out Forster to claim the victory. Hrbek arrived late at the park and, unable to fit into his uniform, attempted to enter the game as a defensive replacement wearing sweatpants and flip-flops, and was immediately tossed. Meanwhile, Forster, shamed, would never pitch for the Twins and soon retired.
- Junior Ortiz Embraces the Seattle Sound, September 29, 1991. While holed up in a Toronto hotel room on the team's last road trip of the seaason, Twins catcher Junior Ortiz saw the video for Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit." Enraptured, Ortiz became obsessed with the "grunge" scene, going to a nearby record store and buying the latest by Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Screaming Trees, etc. This culminated in Ortiz taking the field in a flannel shirt and only communicating with pitcher Scott Erickson in Mudhoney lyrics. When Ortiz yelled "Touch me I'm sick" to the 20-game winner, Erickson was so distracted that he grooved a fastball to Candy Maldonado, surrendering the eventual game-winning RBI.