Pissing Off the Baseball Gods Vol. IX: Dome Sweet Dome

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January 29, 2014 by NowhereButPop

by Andrew Doscas

Baseball is an incredibly superstitious sport; from players such as Wade Boggs and Justin Verlander, and instances like a black cat walking across Ron Santo in the one deck circle, it’s a sport that is steeped in superstition as much as it is rooted in tradition.  The reason for such is that much the same way that the course of the NBA is dictated by David Stern, the MLB is governed by the baseball gods.  They are the committee that controls the flow of the game and the outcome of events.  Like the gods of ancient mythology however, they are not infallible and from time to time have been stymied by the actions of a certain player or team.  As such, there comes a price for crossing the gods and their plans for baseball.

Pissing Off the Baseball Gods: is a 30 part anthology wherein I will go through each of the 30 franchises in the MLB and give an example of how they crossed the baseball gods, and give the ensuing penalty that arose from their transgression.  Essentially, a gigantic dose of karma, each team has had to pay for a victory they shouldn’t have had, or having unfavorable players on their team.  Most of the examples provided may seem disassociated and incongruent, but given the superstitious nature of baseball, chances are it’s just the price to pay for pissing off the baseball gods.

The Twins are a strange case because for the entirety of their 110 plus years of existence I can’t really find an instance where they came into conflict with the greater plans of the baseball gods.  The closest thing I can find is their victory over the Cardinals in the 1987 World Series.  But even that was more a case of justice because the Twins, as the Washington Senators, were robbed of a championship by the Pirates back in 1925.  The best I can come up with is that the baseball gods just weren’t too fond of the Herbert H. Humphrey Dome where the Twins played their home games.  That’s really the best I got.

During the Tom Kelly years, which was the golden age of Minnesota baseball as it yielded two championships, the Twins were a combined 11-1 at home across four playoff series.  The 1987 and 1991 World Series’ were the first such wherein the home team won every game.  Playing in a sealed bubble with a white dome and that echoed like a canyon, you could understand why opposing players hated going to Minnesota for a series.  In all honesty, that’s most likely the reason why the Twins won the World Series in 1991, and it’s definitely the reason why they won in 1987-they played more home games than their opposition did.  Had the national league been awarded home field advantage in those years, the Twins most likely lose both World Series.

Obviously, I understand the importance of home field advantage, but the Humphrey Dome created too much of an advantage to the point of artificially bolstering the team as their 11-1 home postseason record under Tom Kelly shows us.  It’s the same reason why people hate playing in Tampa Bay- it’s hard to see a fly ball, and the loud noises bounce off the stadium making it seem louder than it is.  There was a synthetic advantage that came about not from the fans or the team, but because of the condition of the stadium.  Not to mention that the Humphrey Dome was a shithole too.

To make amends for this, the gods decided that the next manager of the Twins, Ron Gardenhire, would suffer abysmally in the playoffs despite the fact that he is a much better manager than Tom Kelly was.  Under Gardenhire, the Twins are 6-21 in the playoffs.  Now, most of those defeats have come at the hands of the Yankees, which I’m pretty sure the reason for that is the play Damn Yankees, but if I made that the reason to justify the Twins postseason ineptitudes, I’d clearly be letting my biases get the better of me.  But alas, any artificial advantage the Twins had over better teams under Tom Kelly, the gods made sure to do away with under Ron Gardenhire.  Maybe they wanted to level the playing fields as much as possible; maybe they wanted to punish the Twins for besting two (arguably) better teams, or maybe the baseball gods were just being pricks to Ron Gardenhire.

 

Next Week: Kansas City Royals

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