For the entire history of the Minnesota Twins/Washington Senators franchise there have been in effect only two owners. The Griffith Family and the Pohlad Family. The transition in 1984 was seismic, with the infamously stingy Calvin Griffith handing off to the, well also stingy Carl Pohlad. At the signing over ceremony Calvin wiped a tear from his eye and handed over a business card saying: “Good luck, Carl. This here is my personal number. It will always reach me. I want you to call if you have problems.”
Of course it never happened.
Until recently. That’s when Jim Pohlad, pondering the ruin of the 2021 season, found the yellowed card in the back of a drawer when he was looking for that bottle of rye that he remembered might be in there somewhere. On a whim he dialed the number. After a series of very analog sounding ring tones and possibly the sound of distant Samba music, it was answered.
“Griffith here. Hey, this better not be collect. You know what the long distance charges to the After Life are?”
“Uh, Mr. Griffith. This is Pohlad. Jim Pohlad. I, uh, well you said to call if we needed help.”
“Ah, sure. What can I do fer ya kid?”
“Well I thought you could help me understand the soul of the team. Help me get them back to the spirit of early Twins. How do I give them some heart?”
“Not sure I can help ya…I was always a Numbers Guy.”
“You, a Numbers Guy? I’m having more trouble buying that than the fact that I’m talking with someone who has been Gone for 22 years.”
“Hah! You got no business running a team without numbers. Why I always knew the wholesale price of bratwurst AND the average condiment cost by day of the week. I had an equation that would take game day temperature and generate not only projected beer sales but its effect on toilet paper use in the Ladies Rooms. Did I know how often my starters would throw first pitch strikes in the upper half of the zone? Nope. And other than Kaat they usually didn’t either.”
“Now let’s talk about YOUR numbers, sonny. The last year I ran the Twins we had a payroll that cost us $23,000 per win. We’ll skip 2020 but the last real season you had in ’19 you paid almost $1.2 million per win. And you project out the 2021 numbers its gonna be ugly….$2.3 million dollars per entry in the W column.”
“My goodness. I did not know that you could follow the team so closely where, er where you are”.
“Of course. In Heaven you are allowed to watch the 2021 Twins. In Hell you are required to. Extra inning losses run in a continuous loop on a Jumbotron that fills the sky.”
“Look Calvin, it’s a different game now. Free agency and all. Besides for your way of doing things I have one word. Waseca.”
“Yeah, I know, I know. I was having a beer the other day – they got Hamm’s by the way – with Jackie and he was givin’ me all kinds a crap. I mean sure I basically grew up in a locker room but I was just plain wrong about a lot of the non-numbers stuff. The old ways and your new ways. Neither one is perfect.”
“Look Calvin, I’m not quite sure how this chat is even possible and I don’t want to mess up Time and Space or anything, but I just have to ask….you’ve seen God…what is He like?”
“Ah I’ve had a couple of beers already, so why not. Now, He says its coincidence but I can tell you that God looks exactly like Judge Kennesaw Mountain Landis! And by the way, He just found out about your extra innings runner on second rule. And He is Mightily Displeased…..”