The Twins have erected a "Bomba Counter" behind the right-field bleachers at Target Field to track the team's progress toward the all-time home-run record. By late Tuesday night, it read "244." The team has an option on a fourth digit.
Any minute now, the Twins are going to break the all-time home-run record, and they're going to do it with nonchalance, dismissing tradition and history with a bat flip and a chest thump.
If you are a traditionalist, this might bother you. The Twins hit three more homers Tuesday in a 14-4 victory over the White Sox at Target Field, leaving them on pace to hit more than 300, which will break the record of 267 hit last year by the Yankees.
What's most remarkable about this feat is that with a little more luck and health the Bomba Squad could have hit far more.
Miguel Sano, their most powerful slugger, missed a month and a half because of injury, then slumped for five weeks. Nelson Cruz has missed time because of injuries and interleague play. C.J. Cron has missed time and slumped at other times because of a thumb injury.
At second base, line-drive hitting Luis Arraez has earned playing time over home-run hitting Jonathan Schoop. Byron Buxton, who has the power to hit 30 homers if he could stay healthy, has hit just 10 because of injuries.
Of the soon-to-be-record-setting Twins, perhaps only Max Kepler and Mitch Garver are hitting home runs at a surprising rate, and they were both expected to develop power eventually.
Their assault on the record seems equally blasphemous and ridiculous, and I'm OK with that.
When Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa were hulk-flexing and destroying the record book in 1998, the theory masking their alleged use of performance-enhancing drugs: That baseball players were just then learning how to beneficially train with weights.
This year's masking phrase is "launch angle," as if this is the first generation of baseball players to understand that hitting the ball high and far is optimal.
We learned following 1998 to never be naive about PEDs, and illicit substances may have something to do with baseball's latest power burst, but in this case Occam's razor budges us toward this explanation:
The 2019 baseball is as juiced as McGwire's 1998-era biceps.
Last week, there were 313 home runs hit, the most ever in any Monday-to-Sunday week in big-league history. The only other time baseball has produced more than 300 homers in a week? The previous week. August's hot air and tired bullpens have conspired to turn baseballs into bleacher-seeking drones.
If you believe in the good old days, this might be a good time to adopt modernity. This Twins season has been fascinating.
Just as the three-point shot in basketball meant that few leads were safe, the Twins' sluggers have made even the late innings of seeming blowouts worth watching.
"We don't talk about it much as a team," Cruz said of the record. "But it's there. We hear about it everywhere we go."
The Twins are taking literal and figurative aim at the spinning numbers in rightfield.
"It's cool," Cron said. "I think we've put ourselves in a position to deserve that. What this offense has done has been pretty historic, it seems like, so to be even in the conversation for the most home runs of all time is pretty cool, and I'm sure it's kind of fun for the fans to peek out there and see where we're at."
They're at history's doorstep, and their records won't obliterate or diminish Hank Aaron's or Babe Ruth's.
"I don't know where to go with the home-run discussion," Baldelli said. "They're definitely up. They're definitely up in Triple A. I don't know what to do about it except to learn from it and maybe find ways to help ourselves win games because of it."
To reprise a theme, there is little reason not to enjoy this. Baseball's age of innocence is expired. The Twins' sluggers are winning a fair fight.