February 17, 2020

Under new playoff proposal, would the Twins ever pick the Yankees and would the Yanks always pick the Twins?

Major League Baseball has pitched a new playoff proposal for the 2022 season and beyond, a plan that was unveiled this month and landed with an overwhelming thud. Many, I think, are supportive of expanding playoff opportunities to more teams, but a nationally televised seeding process where teams would pick who they play? That would appear to be the most controversial element of the new proposal.

Here’s how it would work, according to ESPN.com.

“The team with the best record in each league would get a first-round bye, and then the other two division winners and the wild-card club with the best record could end up picking their opponents in a televised seeding showdown.”

Under their tutelage, Falvey & Co. have guided the Twins down a path that will make them competitive for years to come; and, of course, we can always expect the New York Yankees to spend outrageous sums of money to be in the hunt.

So, given that scenario — and if the playoff proposal is approved — I guess there’s a likely chance that the Twins and Yankees would be in a position where they would have to pick which team to play.

I’ll take a stab at how this might work: Twins manager, Rocco Baldelli, and Yankees manager, Aaron Boone, would gather in New York (I guess) and announce their pick of team for the playoffs. Would the Twins pick the Yankees? Probably not, and to the analytically-minded it would make total sense: go with the team that presents the best matchup. Meanwhile, Boone, based on how the Yankees have dominated the Twins over the years, likely would jump out of his socks to play the Twins. And how would Twins fans feel about that?

Sam Miller of ESPN.com sees the flaws in this approach.

“I don’t think playoff teams actually want to pick their opponents. They would like to face the worst opponents, to be sure. But actually picking them inevitably ends up looking like an act of hubris. You pick a team, fire them up, give them all the bulletin board material they could ever hope for, and then if they actually beat you (which — it’s baseball, so of course they will), you get taunted for your arrogance? Awful.”

Here’s what worries me: would the Twins actually beat the Yankees? Ugh.

Extra innings…

-Although the Yankees have had no trouble with the Twins for the past two decades, Strib columnist, Patrick Reusse, recently reminded us of a time when the Twins had their way with the Yankees. The Yankees dominated baseball in the early 1960s, then things changed in 1965.

“On July 11, 1965, at Met Stadium, the Yankees’ dynasty was officially left in ruins. Harmon Killebrew hit a two-out, two-run home run on a 3-2 pitch in the bottom of the ninth off Yankees reliever Pete Mikkelsen to give the Twins a 6-5 victory.


“The aging Yankees were done for the season after Harmon’s clutch home run and, basically, done for a decade.They were 70-89 in 1966 and finished last — the only Yankees team that can claim to ever had finished 10th.”

Tony Fernandez, a longtime shortstop for the Toronto Blue Jays, died Saturday of multiple health complications, including a stroke. He was 57. Fernandez played 17 seasons, 12 of them for the Blue Jays. He banged out more than 2,200 hits, including 92 triples, and hit .288 for his career. Late in his career, he played one season for the Seibu Lions in Japan and made it look easy, hitting .327 with an on-base percentage of .418.

In case you need to see former Twins manager, Tom Kelly, smoking a cigar, well, here it is…

Sources: ESPN.com, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Baseball-Reference.com.


Hi, I’m Rolf Boone, Twins fan.

I became a fan of the Minnesota Twins after a friendly wager in the early 1980s. I survived Ron Davis, the meltdown in Cleveland, Phil Bradley at the Kingdome and then marveled at a rising generation of stars and two World Series wins in 1987 and 1991. Brad Radke made the 1990s bearable, while Kirby Puckett’s eye injury, exit from the game and eventual death made it almost too much to bear. The new century ushered in more talent — Joe Mauer, Johan Santana, Joe Nathan, Torii Hunter, Justin Morneau — and consecutive seasons of playoff baseball, followed by consecutive seasons of losing baseball. A winning season returned in 2015. So here we are. Go Twins.