As Fox Sports North digs deeper into its vault of Twins rebroadcasts, they bring up more and more memories of seasons that didn’t stink – or end up with the sub-optimal postseasons that have marked the team's 21st Century.
Today and Wednesday, FSN has been replaying Game 5 of the American League Championship Series, when the Twins knocked out Detroit despite being a heavy underdog. (You could hear that theme over and over during the Game 1 replay from earlier this week.) There's a showing scheduled for 11 a.m. today.
The game, which was played in Detroit, was sweet for Twins fans.
What was sweeter for most people, however, was the welcome home at the Metrodome when the team returned home late that evening.
A little context here: "This is the greatest day since I was born!" said a 22-year-old woman from Plymouth named Julie Weiss.
A little more context, from a former Twins official named Jamie Lowe, who coordinated the team’s postseason planning: "We thought that it would be 4,000 to 6,000 people. We were really nervous that we'd get no one, that it might not work. I think there's so much excitement because these people finally have a way to let out their joy after all these years of frustration. You couldn't plan on an event like this. It's awesome."
The high end of the estimate was off by about 44,0000, as more than 50,000 people came downtown to welcome the team. The lines were long enough outside the Metrodome that the gates were opened a half-hour ahead of the original plan.
Kathy Viola, who grew up in the Twin Cities and the wife of 1987 Twins pitcher Frank Viola, recalled the night in an email: "We were all flying high, both literally and figuratively, as we approached Minneapolis/St. Paul airport. Suddenly, the captain of the flight came over the intercom and told us our approach would take us over the Metrodome. We all peered out the windows and could see people in the streets around the dome.
"We were then told once we landed a bus would take us to the dome as a few fans had gathered in excitement for a pending World Series. Once we arrived at the dome they took us down through the tunnel so none of us had an inclination how many fans had showed up or what was about to unfold. We lined up in front of the garage door near right field. The door slowly opened and all I recall is a thunderous roar and a sea of fans waving hankies. The Twins organization had somehow even gotten our families there without us knowing.
We could tell you more. But in this case, the video is worth 50,000 words. So here it is. Take a break, turn up the volume and relive.
Or watch it for the first time and know that anyone who has told you about that night wasn't exaggerating. As Kathy Viola put it, "What an absolutely amazing reception that still brings both goosebumps and tears."
Three things to watch for: Juan Berenguer's briefcase, the you-can't-see-the-tears shades worn by Dan Gladden and several others, and Roy Smalley's hair.