320,000 fans tried getting tickets to yesterday’s winner-take-all Twins-Tigers showdown at the Metrodome in the one-game playoff for the division title. I was lucky enough to get tickets in the 7th row behind first base. Liz, Curt, Sarah, and I watched on for 4 hours, 37 minutes, and twelve innings of the most gut-wrenching, nerve-wracking, mind-numbingly unbelievable sports game I’ve ever seen.
The largest crowd for a regular season game in Metrodome history stood throughout almost the whole game, waving Homer Hankies and screaming. The noise was so deafening that it was tough to talk to the people right next to me, especially when Orlando Cabrera’s two-run homer gave the Twins a 4-3 lead in the seventh. Everyone was hanging on every pitch. Every pitch ended up being excruciatingly important.
Time after time after time, the Twins looked like they’d blown the game. Detroit had runners on first and third with nobody out in the ninth, but by some miracle Joe Nathan got out of it. They left the bases loaded in the 12th with one out and Bobby Keppel of all people got out of the jam. The Twins used all their relievers except Liriano as well as most bench players. And the Twins kept faltering when they had chances to win, like Alexi Casilla getting thrown out at home on a fly ball by Punto.
Finally, Casilla’s walk-off RBI single in the bottom of the twelfth ended it and the Twins mobbed at home plate after a 6-5 win. No one left their seats (except an exhausted Sarah) for ten minutes after the game, still screaming and waving Homer Hankies as the Twins took a lap around the Metrodome field.
I literally kept thinking it was over, getting dejected, wanting to leave, and then bam! The Twins would come up with a miraculous play to turn everything around. And my hopes would be so high that the Twins would win the game, and then the Tigers would do the same thing and escape a jam. Just back and forth for so long. It really was exhausting.
I am just happy to say that I was in attendance for that game. I wasn’t following the Twins in 1991, but this game had all the drama and heroics of Game 7.
And then I walked/jogged 45 minutes home, completely physically exhausted and soaked, partially from the rain but mostly from standing and cheering for so long.
It was such a great game that I’ve barely even thought about the fact that they have a game against the Yankees in a few hours.
I will write later about the much more important matter at hand—our wedding this weekend!