It's possible that the 1991 playoffs weren't the first thing to make her go bonkers; it's just the first time I remember witnessing it. Maybe she lost her marbles in '87 when the Twins beat the Cards, or maybe it happened in '65 when Koufax beat Kaat in Game 7. She could have flipped out during any baseball season, really, on any summer day at the old Met or even the Dome for all I know, but I do know I saw her scream and jump and cry in her kitchen in October of 1991 as Jack Morris and Danny Gladden hugged it out at home plate in the Dome. It's all as clear in my mind as my first day of school, my first little-league hit or the first time I high-fived my wife. I remember it because I was screaming and jumping and crying right there with her. We had our own at-home celebration somewhere between the fridge and the stove, waving our tear-soaked Homer Hankies, and I lost my mind over baseball for the very first time. Her sickness became mine.
It's been twenty years since we tore up paper towels and junk mail and threw it around the kitchen like homemade confetti. Since then the Twins have been, at times, plenty exciting to say the least. They've flirted with a playoff run here and there, they've thrilled me and killed me, made me wonder why and what if, but nothing has been quite as exciting as 1991. Not their gritty resurgence in '02, not the unbelievable magic of '06, and not even the boozy sunshine that soaked Target Field's inaugural season in 2010 compares. I'm still trying to get back to that original high. It's like I'm dopesick.
And since I'm chasing the dragon, it should come as no surprise that I made sure to get my hands on the 1991 World Champs commemorative bobblehead, given away by the Twins during their 20th anniversary weekend earlier this month. Last night, as the Twins played Delmon Young and the Tigers at Comerica Park, I finally had some time to take the bobblehead down to my folks' house so I could show it to my mom. As expected, she took one look at it and started boasting about how Ron Gant was clearly out. She smiled, too, and I think she may have sniffled a little when I told her she could have it. You see, even though she always loved Blyleven and Puck the most, she still has a special place carved out for Hrbek. Shoot, she even gets emotional over Al Newman. Like I said, it's a sickness.
|Mom took a swing at Cuddyer, Nathan and Matty G.|
|OK, my wife's a pretty big fan, too. |
Here she is in Mom's kitchen.