The Twins logo was drawn to unite baseball fans from opposite sides of the river.
Two cartoon ballplayers, Minnie and Paul, shaking hands and avoiding eye contact like the Minnesotans they are.
In summer 2020, as Minnesota burned and its people suffered and died in a pandemic, a Twin Cities doctor turned to Minnie and Paul again as a source of unity.
What if, said Dr. Charles Crutchfield III, the Twins logo looked a little bit more like its players and fans?
Crutchfield, the team's consulting dermatologist, darkened the skin tone of one of the ballplayers on the logo. Suddenly, instead of just Minnie and Paul, he saw Kirby Puckett and Kent Hrbek, grinning with their arms thrown around each other. Suddenly, he saw himself.
Minnie and Paul, glowing in neon 46 feet tall, watch over every home game from center field, ready to mark home runs with a firm handshake. Crutchfield showed his updated logo to a few of the players.
You get the paint, they told him with a laugh, we'll hold the ladder.
"I'll tell you why we came to Minnesota. It was when we found out you only had 15,000 Blacks here," racist former Twins owner Calvin Griffith once told a crowd. "Black people don't go to ballgames, but they'll fill up a rassling ring and put up such a chant it'll scare you to death. We came here because you've got good, hardworking white people here."
The Twins yanked Griffith's statue off its pedestal at Target Field on Juneteenth 2020.
Crutchfield's still here. And he has season tickets.
His family has been looking out for this state since long before we had our own baseball team. Crutchfield's grandmother was the first Black public school teacher in Minneapolis. His mother was the first Black woman to graduate from the University of Minnesota Medical School. His father was the state's first Black obstetrician-gynecologist, delivering 10,000 new residents of St. Paul.
"The time is now to create a respectful and subtle yet very significant update that honors and reflects the team's players and its fans from different backgrounds," Crutchfield explained. "It's an easy fix but it's an important one — and it's long overdue."
Enhancing the pigment on a cartoon logo may sound like a superficial thing. But if anyone knows how deep skin-deep can go, it's a dermatologist.
In July, he posted his logo update on social media to overwhelmingly positive reviews. But some white skin is mighty thin.
If you thought people freaked out over pro athletes taking a knee to protest violence against Black lives, you should see how they react to a 50% reduction in whiteness on a logo.
"You are SICK, to see race in everything you come across in your warped mind," a guy named Joe wrote in a series of racist, profanity-laced posts. "People like you, who are so evil inside that you need to tear everything down, deserve to suffer. And I hope your entire family get cancer and you live through it to wallow in your own misery, you disgusting piece of [expletive]."
Meanwhile, the Twins are reviewing their brand and aren't planning any sudden moves.
"The Minnesota Twins truly admire and appreciate Dr. Charles Crutchfield, who is a great fan of the team and a respected community leader," the team said in a statement. The review of the team's logo, uniforms and brand "is in its early stages, and will encompass voices inside and outside the organization; as such, the Twins do not expect to make any changes to our marks or uniforms through at least the 2021 season."
Baseball is a game, Crutchfield says. Games are supposed to be fun and they're supposed to be for everyone.
Anthony Scott, president of the Minnesota Black Community Project, loves the idea of a Minnie and Paul for all.
"I loved it when I saw it. Just two smiling guys with their arms around each other, playing a kids' game," said Scott, who works with the ballclub on diversity issues.
"As kids, my brother and I, that's all we did. Everywhere we went, we took our ball and our gloves with us," he added. "Two smiling people playing ball. Can we get back to that?"