Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Twins Believe In Wondrous Comebacks: No Mirage, It's an October Miracle

At last, a distressing night of madness came to a close, jolting relaxed Detroit fans who believed in Fang Power and pitches with roaring speed. Wouldn’t it have been nice for a town that has dealt with affliction the last few years to maintain a three-game lead with four games left?

Wouldn’t it have been nice for the Tigers to eschew a seven-game lead, including a divisional league that lasted four months before the Minnesota Twins exposed star power and reduced a lead forcing a final playoff game that decided a season?

Yes, the Tigers obviously collapsed, losing momentum at a time winning counts. Disappointed fans watched the Tigers relapsed a lead, which could’ve soothed an ailing town that has been battered with economic downturns.

Unemployment rates are high, jobs have crippled, and homicide rates have tripled in an environment that’s ultimately in disarray and could’ve profited with a victory in trouble times. If the Tigers had excelled and mastered a delightful postseason bid, at least for the next upcoming weeks it would’ve been enough to escape disastrous letdowns occurring.

But advancing to the postseason was mutual for the Twins, too. It’s their final season, playing inside the colossal Metrodome, a friendly environment that has engendered memories over the years. Just along in an epic turn-of-events, another memorable game was played inside a lively dome.

Mostly all Minnesotans are rambunctious these days, though some will suggest the noise factor was still from the Favre Ferve and Vikings hangover a night ago. But others will suggest that the Twins momentum and sudden intensity level is the difference in shifting attitudes.

I’ll honestly admit the noise factor was strictly centered on the Twins impressive winning streak. In recent weeks, they were the hottest and most appealing team in baseball, gradually moving into contention and rode a 17-4 record to pull even on the final weekend. It seemed things were slowly deteriorating, and those Tiger fangs were too brutal to match.

But the Twins refused to quit, withstanding a gusty clash with their divisional rivals. On a long night that suddenly finished charmingly, the Metrodome erupted in roars louder than the Tigers. Before you know it, a speedy Carlos Gomez raced home with the winning run off Alexi Casilla’s single to possess a 6-5 win in a 12 inning thriller, turning an uptight night into a towel-swinging, bumping, and fanfare frenzy.

It’s a bit surprising, but more so, it’s unbelievable that mostly everyone in America counted out the Twins. At the right time, they heated up, they never stopped believing and they stayed poised.

Since it took exactly 163 games to decide a winner, the last thing the Twins expected was a late night at the dome. Fatigued bodies could be a disadvantage, having to travel to New York immediately following their remarkable rally to win and awaken an entire community. Limited in time, the Twins had exactly 21 hours before they encounter an intriguing contest with the Yankees in Game One of the ALDS.

But now, the Twins are beloved by locals after a remarkable comeback earns our attention. That leaves us guessing if they’re an October Miracle this year. Let’s wait and see.

In the town itself, Joe Mauer is the beloved Twin, who greeted fans after clinching the division, and heard cheats “MVP, MVP, MVP!” They used to wear fake sideburns to praise the slugging catcher. Thus far, in his career, he has done incredible damage at the plate and won two batting titles.

As a team, the Twins played countless hours in an epic classic, but finally celebrated a hard-to-believe comeback. Lasting five hours, they were anxious to win after coming far and sensing joy as the innings prolonged. It’s not a mirage, winning 16 of their previous 20 games to catch the Tigers. It’s not an illusion, dominating a team with prominent pitching, without slugger Justin Morneau, the reigning American League MVP.

It’s not impossible beating a franchise that consisted of the league’s strikeout leader Justin Verlander or the 20-year old pitching sensation Rick Porcello, who pitched in the most important game of his lifetime. Of all places, he threw in a noisy environment and struggled with his command, yielding a run on a throwing error and surrendered a solo home run to Jason Kubel in the sixth inning.

It was a game that had much intensity and dramatic scoring. For much of the game, the scoreboard changed often. In a classical performance, Orlando Cabrera's two-run homer pumped the crowd in the seventh, which gave the Twins a 4-3 lead. That certainly wasn’t enough, when Magglio Ordonez tied it at 4-4 on his solo homer in the eighth. The unstoppable drama summarized how the game played out much of the night.

But at home plate, scoring runs were really intense. Detroit’s outfielder Ryan Raburn fired a cannon-arm throw to home, getting out Casilla to end the 10th. From there, momentum strictly shifted into the Twins favor, as Jim Leyland’s frequent mound visits and pitching chances weren’t enough to resolve issues.

Perhaps, it worked productively for Twins longtime skipper Ron Gardenhire, who has been successful as manager in Minnesota. The track record is impeccable, and they’ve won multiple of games in previous seasons. They have amassed their fifth AL title in eight seasons under Gardenhire, and during that span have found ways advancing to the postseason.

Most overlooked the Twins in recent weeks, failing to acknowledge the team’s history and underestimated players who’ve shocked the world in a matter of moments. All you have to do is believe.

They certainly believed.