Twins win AL Central in epic fitting of ballpark that just won't die
Back in the day, the Thing That Wouldn't Leave was
Skip ahead 30 years from the early
"Hopefully it's in November,'' Minnesota Twins pitcher
Wait a minute. November? The Metrodome?
The Twin Cities' gray mausoleum of a ballpark was supposed to have staged its own funeral Sunday, synchronized with game No. 162 of the regular season. The team had been counting down to Oct. 3, 2009, since back in 2008. Through state-of-the-art marketing methodology, the Twins had managed to sell the joint out in advance for the alleged finale while wringing nostalgia out of a building known for more engineering gaffes, lousy ergonomics, cut corners and aesthetic effrontery than the last Yugo plant in Kragujevac.
Then a funny thing happened (funny strange, not funny ha-ha): Minnesota caught Detroit in the AL Central and extended the season to a tiebreaker for the division title. That meant game No. 163 Tuesday (one day after the other Thing That Wouldn't Leave,
So what happened? The AL Central title that no one wanted to win for so much of this season was decided in a game that seemingly wouldn't end, at a ballpark that refuses to die. Until
Funny thing is, the Metrodome's never-say-die attitude really suits the Twins team still playing there. Whether building or club, each time someone tries to pull its plug, it perks up and starts the machines to blinking again. And lot of folks' pulses to racing.
"This is the most unbelievable game I've ever played or seen,'' said Minnesota shortstop
Said Twins catcher
Even the Tigers had to agree. Saddled with this most regrettable of collapses -- they led the division by seven games on Sept. 6 and went 3-5 in their final eight when winning just once more would have clinched the title -- they managed to separate the disappointment of it all from the game. Across 12 innings and 4 hours 37 minutes, even the losers could appreciate what they'd been part of.
"I guess it's fitting to say there was a loser in this game, because we lost the game, but it's hard for me to believe there was a loser," Detroit manager
Said Tigers third baseman
Inge had doubled home the lead run, 5-4, in the 10th, only to see Minnesota's
That's how it goes, though, in the Metrodome when the leaves change color and the mercury drops (not that anyone would know, of course, since they're all inside). The magic now is a little weaker; this wasn't
If the magic is flickering, maybe it's because the Metrodome is older, showing more age, about to be dumped for alluring new Target Field on the other side of downtown. It is not, however, dead yet, something the New York Yankees would do well to remember for the game or --