April 14, 2023

The monkey is dead! (maybe)

The hairy old chimp wearing a New York Yankees uniform that has been standing on the shoulders of the Twins organization for the past 20 years probably isn’t dead, but he was thrown to the ground and possibly is dazed and confused after the Twins walloped their arch-rival 11-2 Thursday night at Yankee Stadium.

And how sweet it was because the Twins jumped all over the Bombers in the form of a nine-run first inning, then tacked on two more runs and never looked back. They scored 11 runs on 13 hits, including back to back to back home runs from Michael Taylor, Quebecois Eddie Julien and Carlos Correa.

The pitching line for Yankees starter Jhony Brito looked like this: Seven runs on six hits, including a home run, and he never got out of the first inning.

On the mound for the Twins, Joe Ryan, who cruised through the Yankees’ lineup, striking out 10 over seven innings. He’s now 3-0 with a 2.84 ERA.

Kenta Maeda was supposed to start Friday, but the Twins will now skip his start in the rotation to give him extra rest and call up Minnesota native Louie Varland, who made his major league debut last season at Yankee Stadium, according to MLB.com.

Extra innings …

-Who’s the hottest hitter on the Twins? Some might say “Donnie Barrels” Solano (and they wouldn’t be too far off the mark with his .342 batting average), but it’s actually catcher Christian Vazquez, who went 3-for-4 with two runs scored and an RBI Thursday night. He’s now hitting .379.

-TV play-by-play guy Dick Bremer was working awfully hard as a spin doctor during the game, trying his best to explain that the Twins’ futility against the Yankees wasn’t so bad in the early 2000s. It is true that the Twins won a postseason game or two against the Yankees in those years, but they also were ultimately eliminated by the Yankees in the playoffs.

My sense of the conversation is that broadcast partner and ex-Twins reliever LaTroy Hawkins wasn’t buying whatever Bremer was selling. On that note, what will it finally take to kill the monkey? A playoff win over the Yanks.

-The New York Post went apeshit over the loss:

“Somewhere on Thursday night, Joe Mauer, Brian Dozier and Justin Morneau had to be raising a toast, their Minnesota heirs doing what they failed to do so often:

“Beating the heck out of the Yankees.

“The Twins crushed three straight home runs, knocked Jhony Brito out of the game in the first inning and threw haymaker after haymaker against a club that never got off the mat in an 11-2 Yankees loss in front of 39,024 unhappy customers in The Bronx.

“The fans were stunned and with good reason: The Yankees (8-5), who have won their first four series of the season, entered play 98-38 against Minnesota since 2002, which was the best record of any team against an intra-league opponent in the span.

“The Yankees have won 14 of their past 16 series against the Twins dating to July 2014, when Mauer and Dozier had grown accustomed to serving as the Washington Generals against Yankees clubs that played like the Harlem Globetrotters.”


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.