October 3, 2020

Despite the Twins’ monumental postseason failures, the future is bright. Really.

Amid the slow-moving train wreck that was the Twins’ Game 2 loss to the Houston Astros was this: Alex Kirilloff, a highly ranked prospect in the Twins organization, made his major league debut in that game and wasted no time in getting his first hit, a sharply lined single to right field. A right fielder himself, he also made a nice defensive play.

Kirilloff reportedly hit the ball well during the season at the Twins’ alternative training site in St. Paul. He also, I thought, showed a lot a poise at the plate and appeared unfazed by the moment. We need that kind of player, someone who can rise to the occasion and put the ball in play when the Twins need it most.

Extra innings…

-There was a poignant moment after the Twins loss when pitcher Jake Odorizzi, possibly for the last time as a member of the Twins, took the mound for a moment of reflection.

-Nelson Cruz apparently has interest in playing for the Twins next season, and the Twins are interested, too, according to MLB.com. Cruz has simply been incredible. Even during this shortened season he hit .303 with 16 home runs and scored 33 runs, leading the club in all three categories.

-The Twins have lost an incredible 18 postseason games. The Miami Marlins, meanwhile, are still undefeated in the playoffs at 7-0. Go figure.

-The AL Central did not have a good showing in the playoffs. The Twins were swept, the Tribe were swept and the Chicago White Sox were forced out in three games. There’s always next year, as they say.

-Rest in peace, Bob Gibson. The Hall of Fame pitcher, perhaps best known for his single-season 1.12 ERA in 1968, died Friday after a year-long battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 84.

This is one of my favorite anecdotes about Gibson, as told to sportswriter, Roger Angell, for his book, “Game Time.”

Gibson detested being told what to throw by his catchers. During the 1965 All-Star game in Minnesota, Joe Torre, who was behind the plate, comes out to the mound to talk about pitching to Tony Oliva.

There was the one in Minnesota, when I was catching him and we were ahead 6-5, I think, in the ninth. I’m catching, and Tony Oliva, a great hitter, is leading off, and Gibby goes strike one, strike two. Now, I want a fastball up and in. … So I got out and tell him, and Gibby just gives me that look of his. Doesn’t say a word. I go back and squat down and give him the signal — fastball up and in — and he throws it down and in and Oliva hits it for a double to left center. To this day, I think Gibby did it on purpose. He didn’t want to be told anything.

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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.