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A Tale of Two (Super Bowl) Cities

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The Big Game’s combatants with a baseball twist

Tampa Bay Rays Summer Workouts Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

Each February when Super Bowl Sunday rolls around, I search for potential connections to Twins baseball. Last year, for example, I picked the low-hanging fruit of Patrick Mahomes’ paternal link to Minnesota. I can’t plumb similar depths with his return appearance, and for the life of me I can find no connection between Tom Brady and the Twins (other than his mother hailing from Browerville). As such, I present my most vivid baseball-related recollections of the two SB LV competitors:

Kansas City

When I think of KC, the first baseball image that comes to mind is “complete and utter dominance”. From 2001-2012, the Twins went 139-83 against the Royals—a .626 winning percentage. The high-water mark of that period? 2002. Jacque Jones put a baseball in the fountain to start the season, and the Twins ultimately finished 14-5 against the royal blue brigade.

Minnesota Twins v Kansas City Royals
“Now THAT’s the way to start a ballgame!” (Bert Blyleven, probably)

During that stretch, whenever the Twins needed to “get healthy”, Kansas City would always be the right prescription.

Tampa Bay

On August 5, 2010, the Twins & Rays were involved in one of the craziest finishes I can recall.

Through 7 innings, the road Twins were up 6-0 and looked to be cruising to an easy victory behind Kevin Slowey. But the soft-tossing righty tired in the 8th, allowing one run and departing with the sacks full. Jesse Crain proceeded to walk in a run (because of course my least-favorite Twin of all-time would do that) and then Ron Mahay promptly un-loaded the bases—by allowing a grand slam to old friend-turned-foe Jason Bartlett. Tie game.

In the top of the ninth, however, the visitors mounted a rally. With Jason Repko & future Australian League hurler Delmon Young on base, but two out, Jason Kubel (SO MANY JASONS BACK THEN) lofted a a sky-scraping—but seemingly harmless, inning-ending—pop-up to short. Bartlett looked to be camped under it—until he wasn’t. You see, Kubes’ “home run in an elevator shaft” bounced off the Tropicana Field catwalk and landed un-gloved in short left field, scoring Repko and giving the Twins the lead.

Milwaukee Brewers v Minnesota Twins
Kubel did his little turn on the catwalk—on the catwalk
Photo by Bruce Kluckhohn/Getty Images

For good measure, Michael Cuddyer would quickly single home Young, and Matt Capps would close things out in the bottom of the frame. Each team would ultimately win their respective division and be defeated in the ALDS. Ironically, in TB’s case, they—a team employing Rocco Baldelli in his last season as MLB player—were bounced by a Texas Rangers squad led by white-hot Nelson Cruz.

Oh yeah, one last thing...

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  • 49%
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  • 50%
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