Before I dive into the actual post I want to send my thoughts out to Twins Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew, who announced yesterday that he is battling esophageal cancer. Get well soon Killer!
On New Years Eve, I generally like to look back on memories from the previous year. And if you are a baseball fanatic like me, you will have many baseball ones in there. So I began to look back on Twins related memories from 2010, beginning with TwinsFest (The final one ever held in the Dome?) and ending with another painful sweep at the hands from that pinstriped team out east. So here are my top 5 memories:
5. AL Central Champs! (September 21): After destroying the 2nd place White Sox in a three game series a week earlier, the Twins wrapped up their 6th Central division championship under Ron Gardenhire with a come from behind 6-4 win over Cleveland, coupled with a Oakland victory over Chicago. Once September started, it became clear that the Twins were the best team in this division and were rewarded for it. Its always nice to spray the bubbly in September.
4. 50th Season Celebration (September 3-5): Any Twins fan was glued to either their seat at Target Field or their seat in front of the TV watching this weekend of baseball. All the old players and footage that makes up the history of Twins Baseball was on display during this weekend, highlighted by the the 50 greatest Twins and the old timers game. Meanwhile, the current Twins, swept the future AL Champs Texas Rangers. I had the privilege to attend the friday night game where Matt Fox was called up to spot start and had a very good outing. It was a shame he was sent down and snatched up on waivers by Boston the next day.
3. Jim Thome walks off the Sox (August 17): The Twins entered this game with a four game winning streak, highlighted by a sweep in Oakland. They also were three games up on the White Sox as the series kicked off at Target Field. The Twins jumped out to a 4-0 first inning lead, featuring a two run triple by Jason Kubel. By the fourth inning the game was tied at 4. Following a Delmon Young fifth inning home run, the Twins took a 5-4 lead into the ninth. Enter new closer Matt Capps, first man he faces (Alexi Ramirez) homers to tie the game and sends it to extra frames. In the 10th the Sox scored a run to make it 6-5. Matt Thornton came back out for the 10th to nail the save for Chicago. After a Young single, Thome stepped in. He swung wildly and missed on the first pitch. The next pitch, 93 MPH fastball, Thome connected. Sending it deep into the night and giving the Twins a 4 game lead. The homer was also the first walk off home run by the Twins at Target Field.
2. Mauer signs eight year extension (March 22): On March 21, I had the opportunity to go to the Target Field open house. At the conclusion of that open house, I received the news Twins fans had waited for all winter long. Joe Mauer had signed a 8 year $184 million extension. That might of been the best days ever (rivaling game 163 and the next memory). The following day, Joe put the ink to the paper and made it official. He was going to play the next nine seasons in a Twins uniform. But, that feeling only lasted a few weeks as the next memory took over...
1. Target Field Opener (April 12): For anyone who ever saw a game in the Dome, you didn't miss much. From the final game of 2009 to the first home game of 2010, Twins fans saw a game in the worst stadium then saw a game in the best stadium. Target Field was perfect. And any things that needed fixing, the Twins have made those updates for 2011. And to make it better, the Twins took it to Boston 5-2 on a glorious afternoon for baseball. Joe Mauer had a few hits, Jason Kubel hit the first homer, and Carl Pavano once again got the job done. A great game to break in the new place. Now lets hope that 2011 brings us even better memories (Or maybe even a World Series Ring?)...