In the followup to the wonderful 1994 documentary series Baseball: A Film By Ken Burns, Baseball: The Tenth Inning (2010) features Washington Post writer Thomas Boswell stating, words to the effect, “The natural state of things in baseball is to hate the New York Yankees.” I couldn’t find the exact quote, but it’s close. And I agree with Mr. Boswell.
His reasons for hating the Yankees may not be the same as mine, not all of them anyway, but hate them I do. 27 World Series Championships is enough. Let someone else win (and, to be honest, in recent years they have). They’ve lucked out by being in a massive market, so they have all the money in the world to get the best players. And their fans seem to have the attitude that once the team makes the postseason the World Series trophy should just be given to them.
In fact, the late, great scientist Stephen Jay Gould, who was a contributor to Burns’ first baseball documentary series, still held a grudge, 30 plus years on, toward the Pittsburgh Pirates who had beaten his beloved Yankees in the 1960 fall classic. Seriously? Uh, Steve. Of the 14 prior World Series, your Yankees had won eight! And they would go on to win then next two. Let it go!
Minnesota Twins fans have six more reasons to hate the New York Yankees:
2003 – Lost the American League Division Series to the Yankees three games to one.
2004 – Lost the American League Division Series to the Yankees three games to one.
2009 – Lost the American League Division Series to the Yankees three games to none.
2010 – Lost the American League Division Series to the Yankees three games to none.
2017 – Lost the American League Wildcard Game to the Yankees.
And just added:
2019 – Lost the American League Division Series to the Yankees three games to none.
If there is such a thing as “Pinstripe Fever” the 21st century Minnesota Twins got it!
With the exception of the 2006 postseason appearance, in which they lost the ALDS to the Oakland A’s, since 2003 every time the Twins made it to the postseason their first opponent has been the New York Yankees. And, as you can see, every time the Hated Yankees sent the good guys packing. Those damn Yankees must think of these postseason meetings with the Twins as warmup games for the real playoffs.
(The video at this link pretty much sums it up.)
Many here in the Great Northwest believed this was going to be the year. The boys were finally going to beat the Yankees. I was not among them. My eternal pessimism had me predicting the Twins would be swept. And I was right. (Of course, you’ll just have to take my word on that.)
If the Twins had continued to play at the same level through the entire season as they had during the first half, I would have been more optimistic. In that first half the boys never lost more than two games in a row, and rarely that many. For a time, they had the best record in the majors. But, after the All Star Break, they began to falter. First, their bullpen got a bit iffy. They might still win games due to their powerful offense, they do hold the record for most home runs in a season (307!), but when I’d look at the line score I would see 3 or 4 runs given up in the late innings. It was getting to be very consistent and very troubling. And some of those games would turn into losses.
Well, the bullpen did get better, but then the starting pitching began to go wonky. Our ace Jose Berrios had a lousy August. Next Michael Pineda, who had been pitching very well, got popped for using a banned substance. Bang! He’s gone. And then the injuries to our powerful offense began to pile up.
If it weren’t for the soft schedule the last three weeks of the season (games against the Kansas City Royals, Chicago White Sox, and Detroit Tigers all of whom were having a terrible year), the Twins might have lost the division to the Cleveland Indians.
So, you can understand why I wasn’t very optimistic when it came to the Twins having to play the Yankees first up in the playoffs.
Historically, though, the Minnesota Twins haven’t been the Yankees’ only patsy. There were also the Brooklyn Dodgers. The Dodgers were (and still are) in the National League, while the Yankees are in the American League, so the two teams would only meet in the World Series. From 1941 until 1956, these two teams from the Empire State would meet seven times. The Dodgers were only able to beat the Bronx Bastards once in 1955. That must have been a glorious year for the Brooklyn faithful.
We Twins fans of today can’t imagine what that must have been like.
Well, there’s always next year.
Unless you were a Brooklyn Dodger fan in 1957. In 1958, the Dodgers moved to Los Angeles, California, breaking Brooklyn’s heart. However, the LA Dodgers would meet the Evil Empire in the 1963 World Series. The Dodgers won.
I love L.A.!
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Warehouse Find is the official blog of NostalgiaZone.com, where you can find books, games, toys, cards, and a huge selection of Golden, Silver, Bronze, and Modern Age comic books. Jim also has a podcast called Dimland Radio. He’d love it if you checked it out. It’s available on iTunes.