The Week That Was in Baseball: September 21-27, 2009
The Ten Most Memorable Metrodome Moments • Bobby Cox Eyes Retirement
Braving the G-20and the Piratesin Pittsburgh • Angel Villalona: Angel or Villain?
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A Swan Song For Bobby Cox
Cox began his major league managing career in 1978 at age 36, piloting the Braves under the then-meddlesome tenure of owner Ted Turner. He departed the Braves after 1981 just as the Braves were on the brink of a brief rise towards the top, immediately joined a Toronto club that he quickly made respectable (capping it off with 99 wins and an ALCS appearance in 1985) and then rejoined the Braves in 1986first as general manager, then again as the field pilot in time for Atlanta’s long, almost historic run through which, from 1991-2005, yielded 14 divisional titles and five NL pennants, but, disappointingly, only one World Series trophy (in 1995). Cox is fourth in all-time wins with 2,387 and countingbut, as a guy who’s shown an increasingly cranky disposition over the years, he’ll also be remembered in the record book for something completely different: He’s been kicked out of more games (150) than any other major league manager.
An Angel in Name Only
Bronx Bombin' Away
Steroids Suspect of the Week
Major League Furlough
First in War, First in Peace, Last in the National League
Irony of the Week
What's "You're a Bum" in Japanese?
Thanks, Pal, But I'm Not Mark McGwire
Behind the Strike Zone, It's a Danger Zone
Dr. Lee and Mr. Hyde
We'll Kinda, Sorta, Miss Ya', Metrodome
Yet the Twins can’t deny that they had a distinct advantage playing in the Metrodome; when the joint was packed, the cheers echoed about to create a thunderous level of noise that was said to rival that of a jumbo jet and, more controversially, was said to have an unfair advantage by turning on the air while at bat, pushing fly balls a little deeper and beyond the outfield fences. Through this past weekend, the Twins have a 1,200-1,028 record at the Metrodome; on the road during this same time, they’re 980-1,242.
While the Metrodome isn’t drenched in history the way old Yankee Stadium was, it does have its share of memories, good and bad. Here’s a countdown of our ten favorite moments:
10. August 31, 1993: The Twins beat the Indians, 5-4, in the longest game ever played at the Metrodome in both innings (22) and time (six hours, 17 minutes). The Twins trailed going to the bottom of the eighth, 4-1, then rallied to tie it up; the teams then stayed scoreless for the next 12-plus innings until Pedro Munoz’s leadoff homer in the 22nd won the game.
9. May 8, 1985: During the Twins’ 8-6 victory over the New York Yankeesa game plagued by a number of artificial turf infield hits and pop flies lost by fielders against the white roofYankee manager Billy Martin plays the game under protest because of the ballpark’s conditions, calling the Metrodome a “Little League park” that is “not up to major league standards.” Yankee owner George Steinbrenner naturally chimes in, stating, “What takes place in the Metrodome is not a ballgame, it is a circus.” AL President Bobby Brown rejects the Yankees’ protest.
8. April 14, 1983: Heavy snow tears through the Metrodome roof and forces the only postponement of a baseball game in the facility’s history, sending the Twins and California Angels home for the day.
7. April 30, 2001: Even though it’s been four years since the once-popular, now-vilified Chuck Knoblauch was granted his wish and traded from Minnesota to New York, he gets his harshest treatment yet at the Metrodomebecause the one-time second baseman, suddenly inflicted with an inability to make a simple throw to first, is placed in left field, making him an easy target for Twin fans saddled with long memories. Anything and everything is thrown his way from out of the stands, nearly leading to a forfeit of the game; 40 fans are ejected, and the Twins go on to win, 2-1 behind a complete game performance from Brad Radke.
6. October 1, 2006: After losing the first two games of a critical season-ending series against the Chicago White Sox, the Twinsbehind Carlos Silva, of all pitcherstame the Sox, 5-1, while Detroit loses at Kansas City to give Minnesota, after a miserable start to the season, the AL Central title on the only day of the year it has a sole divisional lead. (Could this be a blueprint for 2009?)
5. October 9, 2004: In Game Four of the ALDS against the Yankees, the Twins own a four-run lead and are six outs away from a winner-take-all Game Five back at New Yorkwith Johan Santana slated to start for the Twins. But Ruben Sierra’s three-run homer caps a four-run, eighth-inning outburst and, in the 11th, Alex Rodriguez scores on a wild pitch after earlier doubling to knock the Twins out of the postseason, 6-5.
4. May 4, 1984: Dave Kingman, for whom no ballpark was too big, sends a soaring pop fly that finds reaches the roof of the Metrodomeand is never seen again. Kingman is given a ground rule double, but the Twins defeat Oakland, 3-1.
3. October 25, 1987: In Game Seven of a raucous World Series against St. Louis, the Twins come from an early 2-0 deficit to topple the Twins and win their first championship in 63 years, ending a much-talked about campaign in which the Twins were awful on the roadbut unbeatable at the Metrodome.
2. October 26, 1991: Trailing 3-2 in the World Series against Atlanta, the Twins keep force Game Seven thanks to the definitive performance of Kirby Puckett, who triples in one run, sacrifices in another, makes a patented over-the-wall catch (robbing Ron Gant of a home run) and ends the game in the 11th inning with a leadoff, walk-off homer of his own.
1. October 27, 1991: We love Puckett, and many of you may disagree with our number one choice on this list, but Jack Morris’ 10-inning, 1-0 shutoutdone on three days’ restto cap the Twins’ second world championship in five years ranks as one of the great pitching performances in baseball history.
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