Ben Perlman had seen enough. Through 28 games the Twins were 11-17 and had suffered a string of close losses. They didn't look anything like the team that had won back-to-back AL Central titles and had hopes of not just reaching the postseason again but breaking through 18 consecutive defeats for a playoff run.
So on Wednesday, he and a friend bought tickets in the Champions Club behind home plate for the Twins vs. Rangers game at Target Field. They brought signs with varying messages on them, but one would gain prominence as the night went on.
It read, simply: "Fire Rocco."
That sort of outward display of frustration from fans is common on Twitter and other more anonymous forums, particularly as the Twins and manager Rocco Baldelli have struggled now to an 11-19 record.
But Perlman joined Friday's Daily Delivery podcast to more fully explain what motivated him to bring the sign and display it for all of Target Field and a Bally Sports North TV audience to see.
"We both passionately do not like the way that Rocco manages ballgames," Perlman said of he and his friend. "So we figured we would try to send a message to the organization as well as fans. I didn't expect this kind of a result, but I'm happy that people are kind of jumping on the bandwagon."
I spoke to Perlman over Zoom on Thursday, and he had the sign displayed in the background.
The other side of the "Fire Rocco" sign said, "Circle me, Justin" in reference to current Twins TV analyst Justin Morneau and a long-standing bit from former Twins TV analyst Bert Blyleven. To ensure they could get the "Fire Rocco" sign into the game, Perlman and his friend had that message hidden from view when they entered Target Field.
With the Twins trailing as the game went on, Perlman ran down several rows from where he and his friend were sitting and flashed the sign, which was visible on the BSN broadcast.
But he said the fact that an usher shooed him away from the area directly behind home plate — where Perlman ran on three separate occasions in the sixth, seventh and ninth innings — was because he was blocking other fans during game action and not because of the message on the sign.
"They let me keep my sign," Perlman said. "I definitely wasn't done spreading my message."
His gripes with Baldelli are familiar but measured: Perlman said he became a skeptic even in 2019 as Baldelli won AL Manager of the Year the Twins were winning 101 games. He recounted how pitcher Jake Odorizzi was passed over in the first two playoff games at Yankee Stadium.
This year, the deployment of the Twins' bullpen is high on his list of critiques of Baldelli. He's convinced that as long as Baldelli is the manager, the Twins have no chance of winning a World Series.
For now, though, the Twins might settle for winning a game. Maybe it's just as well that the Twins will be on the road for their next six games — at Detroit then the White Sox — lest the sign make another appearance at Target Field soon.