A lot can change over the course of a decade. In that amount of time, I moved from my 20+ year hometown—Fergus Falls, MN—to the Twin Cities metro, worked six different jobs living out of six different locations, and finished one Masters Degree (Library Science) with a second (English) almost in the bag. I’ve seen my political beliefs almost completely flip, experienced deaths & births of family members, and had three siblings move out of state. In many ways, the 24-year old who counted down 2009 into 2010 is a completely different individual from the 34-year old typing this today.
While the passage of time and the changes it brings are inevitable, baseball has been, in the sage words of James Earl Jones, my one constant. Through the ups and downs in the 2010s, the Minnesota Twins truly did “mark the times” for me.
As such, here are the five moments I consider to be the most memorable during the past ten years of Twins baseball...
August 17, 2010: Thome hits the flagpole
Back in ‘10, I was working 3-11’s in retail. Not exactly my finest hour, as a Twins fan or human being in general. I’d record the games on VHS tapes, try my best to avoid spoilers, and watch them upon returning from those death shifts. The way my family members were acting, however, I could tell something big had happened in that particular contest. Yep...it had. The Twins may not have clinched the AL Central that night in fact, but they did in spirit.
July 15, 2014: Hometown boy makes good
The 2014 season was a buzzkill for the Twins. Not only did they lose 87 games in the year their state hosted the All-Star game, but it also rained during the Home Run Derby and hometown icon Joe Mauer was too concussed to put together an AS-worthy season. It all seemed like kind of a downer—until the top of the ninth, when Mauer-replacement Kurt Suzuki was behind the plate and, well, would you look at that, Stillwater HS & University of Minnesota grad Glen Perkins was on the mound looking for a save. Three quick batters later and this franchise had an iconic moment in Target Field’s national introduction.
July 10, 2015: “Are you KIDDING me?!”
After four consecutive losing seasons, this franchise needed a boost in a big way. Down 6-1 to the rival Tigers heading into the final frame, team spark plug Brian Dozier provided it, capping an epic comeback with a three-run home run. I’ll never forget jumping out of my easy chair yelling at the TV in excitement. “The most electrifying moment at Target Field in years”, indeed, Mr. Bremer. The Twins may have barely missed the playoffs at the end of that season, but it was a long-awaited great summer to be a Twins fan.
May 5, 2017: What you know about that?
By the start of the ‘17 campaign, Joe Mauer was construed only one of two ways in Twins Territory: either he was the lovable hometown boy (right answer), or the albatross around the franchise (wrong answer). I attended this game with my younger sister, and the entire contest some loud-mouth behind us was constantly ragging on Joe. Even my sister noticed the vitriol and smugness. Despite struggling in ‘17’s early goings, on this night our Joe was able to shut all the critics up. He’d eventually compile his last .300 BA season, develop into a plus defender at first base, and help the team make the postseason for the first time in seven years.
September 14, 2019: The biggest Bomba of them all
In a season defined by home run hitting prowess from the Twins, it’s fitting that the biggest moment of it all came via a grand slam to finish off the closest division rival. My Mom and I made the trip to Cleveland that weekend, and after sitting through a two-hour rain postponement the night before and then witnessing a knock-down, drag-out fight in the stands the next afternoon, we were treated to Sano’s grand salami bomba that effectively put the Indians in the rearview mirror. Despite being in “enemy territory”, when I saw Sano’s launched sphere land in the seats I stood up and yelled “That’s it...the race is over!”.
Those were my favorite moments from the last decade of Twins baseball—what are yours?!