The Twins are cursed. By the Yankees. Somehow. This is the only logical conclusion to draw from the past 14 years. If you just woke up from a 14 year coma (Trigger Warning for everyone else), Joe Posnanski recently chronicled in detail just how heartbreakingly bad the Twins have been against the Yankees since 2002. It is a literal horror story.
Where did this curse come from? I tried to think of something that happened between the two teams around 2001-2002, and the answer was suddenly obvious: May 2nd, 2001—The Chuck Knoblauch Incident.
If you weren't born yet, or have a bad memory, here's the story:
It was Wednesday, May 2nd, 2001. The Twins had just gotten the band together and were surging in the standings after a decade of sucking ass. The defending World Champion New York Yankees were in town for a three game series at the Metrodome. People were excited. The Twins sold like 16,000 walk-up tickets. It was Dollar Dog Night.
A little background: Chuck Knoblauch—former four-time All-Star for the Twins, who won Rookie of the Year in 1991 when the Twins won the World Series—signed a five year contract with the Twins in 1996. Less than two years later, he publicly demanded to be traded to a "contender," and was shipped off to the New York Yankees, where he won a billion World Series rings or something like that. It was sort of like the whole Kevin Love debacle, except Chuck actually won things.
Anywho, Chuckie was still with the Yankees that fateful night at the Metrodome, except by that point he had forgotten how to play second base (specifically how to throw to first), and was now relegated to left field.
People who were at the game noticed the ruckus attitude of the fans in left field from the start. Lots of yelling at Chuck, beach balls, throwing things at each other—that kinda stuff. As the game went on, the Twins pulled ahead. At 9:11pm, in the the bottom of the 6th inning (this was a Yankees game after all), Doug Mientkiewicz hit a single to drive in Matt Lawton and David Ortiz and put the Twins up by three runs.
The response from the excited crowd in left field? Throw things at Chuck Knoblauch. They threw quarters. They threw batteries. They threw plastic beer bottles. One person threw a kazoo. And, of course, Dollar Dogs. Lots and lots of Dollar Dogs.
If you've watched the Twins in any capacity, you know that this is very atypical behavior for Twins fans. It was just that damn Chuck Knoblauch. Demanding to be traded to "a contender" when he had already won the best World Series of all-time with the Twins? It just incensed people. Plus there were lots of excited, drunk, college kids out there. That helped a lot.
Umpire Angel Hernandez and Yankees manager Joe Torre took all the Yankees off the field and the game was suspended. Legendary Twins PA Announcer Bob Casey chastised the fans: "If the trouble in left field does not end, the game will be forfeited and the Yankees will win. NOW QUIT THIS!" It went so far that Tom Kelly—who didn't even ever really like Chuck Knoblauch—came out onto the field and put his arm around Chuck as he pleaded with the fans to stop.
After about 15 minutes and 40 or so fans being ejected from the Metrodome, play resumed... until the 8th inning when A.J. Pierzynski took a strike three called and fans started throwing crap on the field again. There was another five-minute delay as more fans were ejected. The game resumed, and the Twins won 4-2.
Ever since that day, the Twins have had a two hot dog limit on Dollar Dog Night. Yes kids, if you've ever wondered why they have those signs prominently warning fans you can only buy two hot dogs at a time, it's literally because one time we threw a shit-load of them at Chuck Knoblauch.
BACK TO THE POINT: Is this the Twins-Yankees incident that cursed the Twins to 14 (or more!?) years of agony against the Yankees? Is this why we've had to endure this ongoing pain (save maybe that one time Jason Kubel hit a grand slam off Mariano Rivera at Yankee Stadium, which ruled)?
I think it is.
You know how the Twins can fix this? Lift the two Dollar Dog limit on Dollar Dog Night.
The limit is ridiculous in the first place. All you have to do is go to a different stand, or heck, just get back in line and you can buy more hot dogs. The last time I went to Dollar Dog night I ate like six of them. Plus, Target Field is much prettier than the Metrodome. I think fans realize the Twins can't just suck all those hot dogs up with some kind of giant vacuum anymore.
If the Twins ever want to get serious about beating the Yankees, they have to lift the two Dollar Dog limit on Dollar Dog Night.
I'm sorry, these are just the facts.