This Friday, October 4, the Minnesota Twins open their 2019 playoff run. What could they also be embarking upon? Perhaps the greatest postseason revenge tour since Dave Roberts stole that base off of Mariano Rivera in 2004.
It all starts in New York, because of course it does. Pick a Twins playoff team in the last 15+ years, and it’s likely they went home to the strains of Sinatra’s “New York, New York”: 2003, 2004, 2009, 2010, 2017. Not only that, but the Twins haven’t actually won a postseason game—home or away—against the Bombers since 2004, which coincidentally is the playoff loss I want the most revenge for. After being two outs away from taking the first couple games at the House That Steinbrenner Built, it all fell apart.
A playoff series win over New York would almost seem like a championship in and of itself for this franchise and its fans.
If (when...WHEN) that is achieved, the next opponent could be the Oakland Athletics, who might find a way to upset the Houston Astros juggernaut. Now, you may be thinking: why do the Twins need revenge over the A’s? It’s not like there is a ton of bad blood between these teams. Yet, there does exist that little matter regarding the 2006 ALDS.
Coming off a wildly unlikely run to the division title, the Twins were actually thrilled that the Yankees wouldn’t be their first round foe. Instead, Oakland came to town looking like a beatable squad. But then, after the Twins dropped the first game at the Metrodome, Mark Kotsay blooped a ball into short CF, Torii Hunter tried one of his miraculous dives, and well, you know the rest. The greatest finish to a regular season I had ever seen fizzled out just as spectacularly, getting swept by the boys in green and white.
This year, once the A’s are hypothetically disposed of, it will be on to the World Series, where the Los Angeles Dodgers will be waiting. Back in 1965, just the fifth year of the Twins’ existence, Minnesota & Los Angeles staged an epic Fall Classic that came down to the seventh tilt. Pitching on only two days rest, Dodger ace Sandy Koufax out-dualed Jim Kaat by twirling a complete game, three-hit shutout. It would be 22 more years until the Twins returned to the late-October showcase.
The New York Yankees, Oakland A’s, and Los Angeles Dodgers all falling to the Bomba Squad in a single postseason. Would there even be any more demons to exorcise?! Is this scenario likely? Ehhhhhh...the A’s somehow upsetting the ‘Stros is probably the most implausible cog in all of it. But as Vin Scully once said: “In a year that has been so improbable, the impossible has happened!”.
That would certainly describe the 2019 Minnesota Twins.