Rand: Plenty of former Twins to cheer for in MLB playoffs

  • Updated: September 26, 2013 - 9:52 PM

Detroit Tigers' Torii Hunter, who gave the Tigers the winning edge with an RBI single in the first inning, applauds as he leaves the field after the Tigers won the American League Central Division title following their 1-0 win over the Minnesota Twins in a baseball game, Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2013, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

The Twins are not playoff-bound. In fact, their magic number might be 2016 (the next time they could reasonably be expected to contend). ¶ But that doesn’t have to stop you — as a Twins fan and as a baseball fan — from picking a team to root for in the postseason. And if you are going to base it on local loyalty, here is a guide:

Frontrunner: The Pirates have three ex-Twins on their roster (Justin Morneau, Francisco Liriano and Garrett Jones). They are a feel-good story after returning to the playoffs after 20 losing seasons and they are a National League team, so you don’t even have to feel to guilty about it. The downside is it could be painful to watch Liriano — who could be in line to start the one-game playoff in the new wild-card round — regardless of whether he succeeds or fails.

Contenders: The Tigers have just one ex-Twin on their roster, but it’s Torii Hunter and he’s an all-time fan favorite who keeps showing his longtime team love. Detroit also has a good chance to make a deep run with all its pitching, and rooting for a winner (for a change) might be nice.

The A’s have Grant Balfour and Pat Neshek — the latter of whom is not just an ex-Twin but grew up here and has overcome a lot of adversity in his professional and personal life.

It’s complicated: If the Rangers make it, they have three ex-Twins (Matt Garza, A.J. Pierzynski and Joe Nathan). But Garza and Pierzynski are not always near and dear in the hearts of Twins fans. Nick Punto will make the Dodgers’ postseason roster, and aside from Joe Mauer there is not a single more polarizing player in recent Twins history.

Oh yeah, them: David Ortiz of the Red Sox hasn’t played in Minnesota for more than a decade, so there shouldn’t be much sentimentality there. Jason Kubel and Matt Carson (who played briefly here last year) are on Cleveland now, but neither figures to be a postseason factor. Jesse Crain is on the Rays, but that’s not a viable reason to root for Tampa Bay.

Zero, zilch, nada: The Cardinals, Reds and Braves have no ex-Twins.

Best-case scenario: Pirates vs. Tigers or A’s in the World Series and good vibes here.

michael raND

  • related content

  • Three former Twins certain to be in the playoffs are, from left, Pirates pitcher Francisco Liriano, Tigers outfielder Torii Hunter and A’s pitcher Pat Neshek.

  • Oakland Athletics' Pat Neshek follows through on a delivery to the Seattle Mariners in the sixth inning of a baseball game Tuesday, April 2, 2013, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot) ORG XMIT: OAS116

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St. Louis - WP: L. Lynn 4 FINAL
Washington - LP: J. Zimmermann 3
Toronto - WP: M. Buehrle 5 FINAL
Cleveland - LP: C. Kluber 0
LA Angels - LP: C. Wilson 2 FINAL
Detroit - WP: M. Scherzer 5
Baltimore - LP: B. Norris 2 FINAL
Boston - WP: J. Tazawa 4
Minnesota - LP: K. Correia 4 FINAL
Kansas City - WP: B. Chen 5
Cincinnati - LP: T. Cingrani 4 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - WP: E. Jackson 8
Houston - LP: C. Qualls 3 FINAL
Oakland - WP: D. Otero 4
Milwaukee - WP: J. Henderson 8 FINAL
Pittsburgh - LP: J. Grilli 7
Atlanta - WP: E. Santana 7 FINAL
NY Mets - LP: B. Colon 5
NY Yankees - LP: I. Nova 1 FINAL
Tampa Bay - WP: C. Archer 16
Seattle - LP: R. Elias 0 FINAL
Miami - WP: H. Alvarez 7
Chicago WSox - LP: J. Quintana 3 FINAL
Texas - WP: C. Lewis 6
Philadelphia - LP: K. Kendrick 1 FINAL
Colorado - WP: J. Lyles 3
Arizona - LP: M. Bolsinger 6 FINAL
Los Angeles - WP: D. Haren 8
San Francisco - LP: T. Hudson 1 FINAL
San Diego - WP: E. Stults 3
Brooklyn 94 FINAL
Toronto 87
Golden State 109 FINAL
LA Clippers 105
Atlanta 101 FINAL
Indiana 93
Memphis 86 FINAL
Oklahoma City 100
Chicago 3 FINAL(OT)
St. Louis 4
Columbus 4 FINAL(OT)
Pittsburgh 3
Minnesota 2 FINAL
Colorado 4
Houston 0 FINAL
Philadelphia 0
New England 1 FINAL
Chicago 1
San Jose 0 FINAL
Colorado 0
Los Angeles 2 FINAL
Vancouver FC 2
Columbus 1
Toronto FC 1 FINAL
FC Dallas 2
Montreal 0 FINAL
Sporting Kansas City 4
Portland 0 FINAL
Real Salt Lake 1
Seattle 2 FINAL
Chivas USA 1
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