In 2006, the Twins clinched the AL Central Division Championship on the last day of the regular season. In 2009, the Twins clinched in a post regular-season, epic tie-breaker known simply as Game 163. In 2010, the Twins apparently won 10 extra games--because last night, they became the first team in MLB to clinch their division and guarantee themselves a trip to the playoffs!
Anti-Climatic? Maybe. But watching the White Sox lose to give you the championship certainly isn't the worst thing in the world. With the White Sox down by three in the 9th inning, even Hawk Harrelson was talking Twins, pointing out how good Cuddyer and Young have been, and how "Mauer is Mauer." And the Hawk's Twins' MVP choice? Jon Rauch--you know, because the Twins weren't supposed to win anything after losing Joe Nathan for the season (or something like that).
Ozzie also tipped his hat to the Twins, saying:
"Look at my quotes in Spring Training. ... Look at my quotes all year long. Look at what I said about them the last seven years. Good ballclub. Now, I hope people will start believing that. It's not the same Minnesota Twins we saw 10 years ago. ... This is a good ballclub. They spent a lot of money. They have good ballplayers. They deserve to be there.
"They kicked everybody's
[butt]ass. That's the reason they clinched before everybody else. That's the only reason they did it, because they're a good ballclub. They earned it. They deserve to be there. They play very hard. When your enemy kicks your butt, sometimes you've got to tip your hat to those guys for the way they played, at least against us. ... I think Ron Gardenhire should be proud of his ballclub."
But that's pretty much typical Ozzie.
The Twins celebration started at 11:37pm CT--a little late, considering the Twins play today at noon. I suspect today's game might be a little rough for the boys, based on the following observations:
- Span stroking Punto's arm while walking out to the field to high-five fans.
- O-Dog telling a reporter, "Right now we rollin'!"
- Matt Guerrier, when asked how he and Crain support each other, responding, "Well, we hold hands when we walk out to the bullpen, that helps."
- Rauch running on to the field with a cooler full of water and throwing it on fans.
- Various players doing an MVP chant around Ben Revere.
- Nick Punto screaming "I love Dick [Bremer]!!!" all night.
- Nickleback playing in the clubhouse at one point during the celebration