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July 29, 2020 34 mins

Two years after the Padres & Rockies extra-inning Game #163 thriller, the Tigers and Twins went at it in a tie-breaking game to decide the American League Central title. A tight-battle became a 12-inning roller-coaster in the blink of an eye. When is a hit-by-pitch that could’ve won the game not a hit-by-pitch despite evidence to the contrary? Just what was one manager thinking leaving his closer in as long as he did? And how did a pinch-runner, who cost his team the win earlier in the game with an unthinkable gaffe, turn into the unlikely hero? Plus, we take a deep dive into players like Joe Nathan, Fernando Rodney, the meat of the Tigers lineup and how the Twins have become the model for small-market success.

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Episode Transcript

Available transcripts are automatically generated. Complete accuracy is not guaranteed.
Speaker 1 (00:00):
Welcome to Special Teams, a production of I Heart Radio.
Hello and Welcome inside Special Teams with Jason Smith and

(00:22):
Mike Harmon, our weekly podcast where we look back at
some special teams in the big games and big years
these teams had in sports. Last week, we took a
look back at a big game, number one sixty three
in Major League Baseball in two thousand and seven, and
as we hinted last week, we're gonna look at another
big game, number one sixty three in Major League Baseball

(00:44):
as today. It's the two thousand nine a l Central
tiebreaker between the Twins and the Tigers. And if you
thought we had insanity with Matt Holliday not touching the
plate and the Rockies beating the Padres last week, well
it ended the same type of sanity in Minnesota with
this one this year. In Mike Harmon, well, you know,
you can't have an easy end. If you've got to

(01:06):
play to one sixty three, you can't expect it to
end normally, can you. Man? You've already battled to a
tie through the trials and tribulations and really some weird
stretches of the season for both these squads to get
to this place. So, yeah, it couldn't be normal. You've
gotta have some extra drama mix there in. So how

(01:27):
did we get to the game number one, sixty three
tiebreaker between the Twins and the Tigers and all of
the madness that ensued. Well, these two teams battled all September.
They had a four game series in the next to
last series of the year that really got ugly. There
were a lot of hit by pitches, there were ejections.
Uh so these teams clearly had bad blood going into

(01:48):
the final weekend of the season. Now, going into the
last three games, the Tigers had a two game lead
with three to play, so you're thinking, okay, we're good,
and then Mike Harmon's White Sox get involved. Detroit loses
the next two to Chicago as Minnesota sweeps the Royals.
So both teams finish eighties six and seventy six. Now
these are not great records. So one team is gonna

(02:09):
go in to win the a L Central and the
other team is gonna go home. The game was in
Minnesota due to a change in the rules. Remember last
week we talked about Padres and Colorado Rockies and they
had a coin flip. Well, the coin flip, they didn't
do it, and they changed the rule to be whoever
had the better record in the head to head series
that year, that was where the game was gonna be played. Well,

(02:31):
Minnesota won the season series with the Detroit Tigers eleven seven,
so the games in Minnesota, so no coin flip. Home
fields determined by head to head, So the game is
in Minnesota as the Tigers go in reeling looking like
they were going to be the team that won the
a L Central just win a game. Nope, the White
Sox get involved and your White Sox, Mike Carmen, do

(02:52):
something really really good for the first time since they
won the World Series a few years before, and one
of the few times that they've done it ever. Pens.
I mean, it's it's been a bunch of false starts
and a lot of selling change and hope on the
South side of Chicago in terms of the lineups. But yes,
getting involved in the mix to force a playoff battle here.

(03:16):
I mean it's again, I love the a We changed
the rules so it's the better of the regular season
series just just seems odd. But that tie breakers as
good as any other. I figured it would have been
total points or something like a fantasy league would have
been how many rounds you score? We used to do

(03:41):
in one fantasy league I had where it was the
what bench player scored the most points? Yes, or what
did your bench score more points? That was always the tiebreaker. Well,
then you should have lost by that logic because you
left them on the bench. Yeah, that is kind of
a backwards way to do it. But you still drafted
the guy though, So okay, out there was on your team.
But that's true. I do. I do constantly use the

(04:03):
argument that I'd rather have him Rod on my bench
than being an active lineup to beat me. So I
understand that. So the journey for the Detroit Tigers, Miguel
Cabrera was in the middle of what is going to
be an easy Hall of Fame run. Nobody hit like
him over the prime of his career. The rest of
the Tigers lineup was okay. They had pretty good power numbers,
Brandon Inge, who was always underrated, Curtis Granderson, this is

(04:26):
when he was starting to become a really big star
in the major leagues. You know, he winds up going
to the Yankees after this and really becoming a big star,
goes to the Mets later on plays in the World Series.
It was a pretty solid lineup up and down, and
they're starting pitching. Had a big three that was good
enough with Justin Verlander who was a superstar, Rick Porcello,
Edwin Jackson. They both won games. And look, does this

(04:49):
look like an eight six win team? This absolutely looks
like an eight six win team. Well, you got forty
six wins between those three starters, uh, nineteen and ninet
nine and fourteen and nine between them. You mentioned the grandyman,
you know, his usual to fifty with thirty bombs, so
you get that Magalo Ardonias didn't hit for power, but

(05:11):
still a three ten hitter there. Uh. And you know,
because you've gotta have those white Sox connections for me
and make it sure interesting out a whole lot. I
specifically didn't mention Maglio Ordonias because I knew you'd want
to bring up Mag's of course, you know. And and
really you can thank the Cleveland Indians for allowing this
game or anything to happen, because the Tigers dominated them

(05:33):
in the season series fourteen to four. So yeah, but
this is back when everybody dominated the Indians, so I
think you can but they took care of business on
a large level to get to the to the dance.
But you know, obviously, when you're talking about getting to
a record of eighties six and seventy six, not a
lot of domination going on here. It's how do we

(05:55):
eke out and squeeze out a win. One of the
many years we would talk about closer Fernando Rodney. More
on him later on Fernando. Of course I felt so
bad for the guy. I really did after this game.
I felt so bad Fernando Rodney. But it's not not
often you can go through and you we we talked
about the starting pitching for the Tigers, Jason, but you

(06:16):
also had three relievers win at least six games to
show how utilized and effective they were. Uh Shay, Lion
and Minor. Between them, they record another nineteen wins. Forget
about rolling into the rotation, Nope, lung relief is really

(06:36):
where we're gonna find our wins here. So if this
Tigers team looked like an eight six win team, if anything,
this two thousand nine Twins team underachieved because they absolutely
crushed the baseball. Joe Mauer, this was the best of
all his great years from two thousand six through two
thousand and thirteen, he was the a L m v P.

(06:58):
This was the last of Justin More those great years.
He had a phenomenal four year run from two thousand
six to two thousand and ten. Jason Kuble, Michael kadi
Or they were underrated. They had four guys in their
starting lineup with at least home runs and ninety four
r bis. You should win more than eighty six games
when you have this kind of even though you're starting pitching,

(07:18):
wasn't that good? Your bullpen was phenomenal. Joe Nathan at
the back of that bullpen. He was so nasty. I mean,
Joe Nathan was. He was He was so much fun
because he came in he had stuff on a string.
Nathan was so nasty and I loved watching and pitched.
And you see this way this team is put together,
the way they hit, in the way they they have
their bullpen set up. If a team is set up

(07:39):
like this now in the majors, they win a hundred games.
We had a great line up in a great bullpen.
We went a hundred games. But here back in two
thousand nine, the six you know, only three starters finished
with more than ten wins. One of those Kevin Slowey,
who was the definition of all right, get me through
my minimum and move on. Sixteen games started Jason, he
pitched andy and two thirds innings for the years. So

(08:03):
operational efficiency at its finest even had a Carl Pavano
reference here along the way, and r A Dickey whenever
you can add him to it. But yeah, from an
offensive perspective, you know, we talked last week about the
Rockies and just the congo line they had going around
the bases. This is more or less the same, right,

(08:24):
I mean, the only thing you were missing was a
speed element. You got a little of that from Dennard's
span off the bench, but otherwise, I mean, you were
just batting around all day long. Couple of guys who
were big swings without a big batting average, but you
had that production, that power throughout the lineup to try
to just generate big run production. You know, just real

(08:47):
quick on Joe Nathan, because before we really get into
the meat of the game, is that this is a
guy who retired I think in the top ten of
saves overall, and he had he had that good a
career and he went to Stony Brook to play a
college baseball. He was a short stop and teams wanted
to make him a picture. He didn't want to do it,
so he left the games and I'm done. I'm gonna

(09:07):
leave the game. And he went back to school. He
went like he got a business degree and then finally realized,
let me give it one more shot. I'll pitch. Okay,
I'll pitch, and here he is. He turns into one
of the best closes in the game. His run from
two thousand four to two thousand nine was awesome. This
is a guy that was like, we were like to
be a picture. Now I'm not gonna do it. After year,
all right, I'll try it. Oh hey, I was pretty

(09:28):
good at this pitching thing. Work out. Okay, what are
we what are we looking at? We're looking at three
hundred seventy seven career saves. So with a two eight
seven e R a sixty four and thirty four career record,
should we get get some knocks on the door for
the hall for for old Joe Nathan here. It's tough.
Closers are tough, man, unless you're at the very very top,

(09:50):
it's really difficult because you have to overcome the stigma
of how much did you play? Did you play all
that much? It's it's difficult. It's difficult. Now if you
get if you get a run al where in the
next five or seven years, you see closer numbers come
way down as teams don't rely on one guy, Edwin Ds,
you know if you see that happening and teams are

(10:11):
rely on one guy for whatever reason and save numbers
go down. Could I see in the future, like the
Veterans Committee going, oh boy, you know, Joe Blant tell
you what everybody else is, Joe Nathan's in the top ten,
no one's getting called. I could then I could see it,
but only if if the position of closer changes uh
in Major League Baseball? Which is that really gonna happen
across the sport? I don't think it will, but you
never know. You never know, Edwin Ds. You never know

(10:33):
when a team when seems decide, hey we can't rely
on one guy and let's bring a few people into
close and all it takes is one team to make
it to the World Series using three closers, and suddenly
everybody's gonna do it closer by committee bringing d h
is on board full time on in both leagues, and
some of these changes could spur a look for that

(10:53):
soul patch wearing Joe Nathan to find his way into
the Hall of Fame. So that's how both teams wind
up in game number one, sixty three and two thousand
and nine. What happened next, Well, let me just say
the first nine innings were okay, extra innings, that's when
things got nuts. That's coming up next, right of your
special teams. It was Rick Porcello and Scott Baker facing

(11:34):
off in Game number one six two determined the a
L Central champion in two thousand and nine. Now, despite
neither of these guys being an ace, both pitched surprisingly well.
Orlando Cabrera had a big two run homer to give
Minnesota a four three lead, and Maglie Ordonia has tied
it with a homer in the eighth inning. Closers come
in Joe Nathan for Minnesota, Fernando Rodney for Detroit. Nobody

(11:58):
scores in the ninth inning, and that gets us to
extra innings. And as I said before, this is where
things get crazy. Just so you know, Nathan Fernando Rodney
both closers in the game of the ninth inning, in
the tenth, Brandon ninj doubles to give Detroit to five
four lead. Okay, this is gonna be it. And and
here's Detroit. They're gonna wind up winning this game. Bottom

(12:20):
of the tenth, Michael cady Are triples for the Twins
after Ryan Rayburn completely misplays a fly ball that should
have been an out. I mean, it should have been
one out, and here we go. We're moving on. Matt
Tilbert singles and Cadre that ties the game at five.
Minnesota winds up loading the bases with one out. Fernando
Rodney is still in the game for the Detroit Tigers.

(12:40):
This is not the first time I'm going to say
Fernando Rodney is still in the game for the Detroit Tigers.
Right Nick Punto comes up flyball to right field that
should have ended the game, deep enough gonna score the
winning run. But Alexei Cassilla, who was pinched running, came
off the bag too early, had to go back to
tag third ace and got thrown out at the plate

(13:02):
to end the inning. So we're tied at five five
after ten innings. Had he not taken that step off
and had to go back, he's safe. Had he just
gone anyway, he's probably safe. All right, are you gonna appeal?
I mean you might just because all right, it's the
end of the season. But I know that anybody would
have caught that. It's just Holiday. Hey, Holiday didn't touch

(13:24):
the plate. No, I don't go back there. Yeah, but
Casia came off third base. Oh, don't give me that crap.
I'm not falling for that one. No, but you see,
he comes off the bag and has to go back,
and I don't know how you make that mistake. I
get that you're jump you want to get home and
score the winning run, but you see where the ball
is hit, and you're gonna get home. You're gonna have
to bust your ass to get home. But it's not like, oh,
this is a big chance. I have to hope the

(13:44):
guy throws wide to the plate. No, you're gonna score.
But because you gotta go back and touch third pace
and come back, you get thrown out at the plate.
And this is where Cassia should have been wearing the
goat horns for the rest of the off season, because
this was the game winning run, and they let the
Tigers off the hook, and you let him off the hook.
You get a hold Jennis Green. You got all the
way to Denny Green. Only appropriate as we have the

(14:06):
former Vikings coach, former Northwestern coach next there, and I
love it. So here's your first big thing, all right.
So now we go on. We go to the twelfth inning.
Detroit is batting that the base is loaded with one out.
Bobby Kepple is pitching, and he hits Brandon Inje with
his first pitch. Brandon inches going to first base. The
go ahead run is coming in for the Tigers, except

(14:28):
home played umpire Randy Marr said, no, Innge wasn't hit
and his at bat has to continue. Innge winds up,
grounding out into a force play. Detroit doesn't score in
the inning. Jim Leland said after the game, the ball
hit him. I can't believe it. Replay showed the ball
did hit him, but it didn't hit his body. It
hit his uniform, which is a little baggy and not

(14:48):
quite tight to his body. But you see the ball come.
You see it hit his uniform and it, you know,
puts a little dent in the uniform. And you see
the ball with the spin change a little bit. So
that's a hit by pitch. I mean, it hits him,
but because it didn't hit his body, there was no
call by Randy Marsh who thought the ball just whipped
by and hit him. So that should have been a
hit by pitch, but instead no call. Inch grounds out

(15:09):
thinking the force out of the plate and the Twins
wind up getting out of the inning, can't fall. It's
a good strategy. Baggy clothes, Oh that was That was
Ron Hunt's big thing when he played with the Mets.
I think he led the league like so many years
row with getting hit by pitch. He would always wear
baggy clothes. See which'all I got hit? I get it.
I think I got hit like like forty or fifty
times in a year once. I mean, you know, I
got That's a good strategy. I got hit. But all

(15:32):
in you gotta do. I'm gonna lean into this ball now,
just like just like Buttermaker told Rudy stein Stein, I
want you to lean into it. I don't want to
get hit, Mr butter Maker. You want to win, don't
you lean into its? Stein get in? But again, this
is where you know nowadays you would look back and say, oh,
that's a hit by pitch. But just because it hits
his uniform. He didn't get the call, and the Tigers

(15:52):
wind up with no runs. Oh yeah, you gotta sell
that one. Well, he went down. He tried to go
down to first base. Randy Marsh Nope, nope, nope, nope,
stop I made it back in. No, no, no, that's
you gotta pretend like it's a Gray's anatomy gunshot. Oh
my arm, it's broken. Oh yes, it could be a
fractured Alma. You want you to go down? Yeah. The

(16:14):
attempted cell by just kind of going, hey, look at
my I think it's broken. Like the flapping his uniform
at him. It was like Rodney dangerfield. So we go
to the bottom of the twelfth inning, still tied. Fernando
Rodney is still in the game for the Detroit Tigers.
He came in in the ninth inning. He's their closer.

(16:37):
It's the twelfth inning. He is still pitching right now.
It down man which I remember watching this game going
what the hell is Jim Leland doing? Manage the time?
What the hell is he doing? I mean, is he
just gonna leave Fernando Rodney out here until the game ends?
I mean, I think that's what's gonna happen. He's but

(16:58):
I mean, how many pitches you can let throw? I
get you have guys you don't trust, You want to say,
but you gotta go to somebody else. And I'm just
gonna leave Fernando Rodney out. I'm just gonna leave him
out there when the game ends. The game end. What
if it's the eighteenth thinning, then Fernando Rodney is still
pitching in the eighteenth thinning. I think the game ended,
and Fernando Rodney was still on the mound waiting for
Jim Leland to go out and get him. And I

(17:19):
can't leave the mount yet. Why Leland comes out and
gets me. He's not coming out to get you. The
games over, turning the lights off. Yeah, but Leland's gotta
come out to get me. Still left him in all
the way through the Ready Purcelo ninety two pitches and
his five and two thirds, okay, gives way to Minor,
who comes in twenty three pitches, fifteen strikes. He goes

(17:40):
two thirds of an inning, Knee comes in four pitches.
End of the inning. Brandon Lyon one in two thirds,
twenty six pitches. Fernando Rodney, Uh, I mean, how many pitches.
You're gonna let a closer throw. I mean, seriously, at
some point you go to somebody else, you bring in

(18:01):
Verlander or Jackson or something. I know, you all, we
gotta save a guy. But it doesn't matter if you
lose the game, right, there's no tomorrow. It doesn't matter.
So I'm gonna leave Fernando Rodney on the mount. Now
here's where Alexei Kasia comes up, and he makes up
for being the goat a couple innings before by not
you know, not being able to tag up and score. Uh.

(18:21):
He singles through the right side to drive in Carlos
Gomez with the game winning run, and this is it,
and the and the Twins win the game. And for
Ranna Rodney, I think is still on the mount waiting
for him to come out and get him. And it
was just one of those one of those games where
you had so many times where one team let the
other team off the hook and extra innings, it was

(18:42):
gonna be something like this, and and clearly it was
the Tigers not being able to score and not going
to a new pitcher when clearly Rodney is is kind
of losing it. Uh, this was it again, not the
last time. I'm gonna say, Fernando Rodney still on the mountain.
That's the theme of this podcast. Cassilla comes up with
the game winning were on at second base, he singles

(19:06):
through the right side to drive in Carlos Gomez. The
Twins win big celebration. Cassia makes up for the fact
that he has a bone head play by not being
able to tag up right off a third base cup
wannings before the Twins win the game, they win the
Al Central, they eliminate the Detroit Tigers, and that entire
night on my radio show on ESPN, I think I

(19:26):
spent the most of the night talking about how Fernando Rodney.
I can't believe he was on there. And I really
thought Jim Leland was gonna retire. I I really did.
I thought after the game, Leland's gonna say I'm done,
that something happened with him and he just was done
and he was gonna retire, leaving Rodney out there stopping
managing for the last three and a half innings. I'm like,
what are you doing. I really thought Leland was gonna retire.

(19:48):
It that we're gonna get that the next day. Leland's
done he's walking away. I remember talking about it on
ESPN Radio with a couple of our baseball analysts and
they were like, yeah, I wouldn't be surprised if that happened.
This might be it for Jim Leland, and that became
big speculation. Now we didn't and I really still to
this day and understand why he never made a pitching change.
I don't know. It seems like you had plenty of
capable arms to try to give you a third or

(20:10):
two thirds or I mean, by the new rules you
gotta go three batters. But back then, hey, all hands
on deck. It's winner, go home. As as cliche is
that is, this was legitimately win or go home. And
there's Fernando Rodney still going after it. We'll get into
him as any where are they now as a little

(20:33):
bit later. But yeah, with Jim Leland, did you resign
yourself that that was it? Well? There's also so many
times when when you see how many great managers and
you go, boy, that was a great move, the pinch
hitting here, the pinch running here, this here, and then
you say to yourself, what the hell are you doing
with the bullpen? What the hell is that? I don't.
I don't understand, and that happened for a lot of managers.

(20:53):
For a lot of managers, the rest of the game
they get, but they can't figure out the bullpen. It's
like the the NFL head coach that does everything great
but can't figure out how to manage a clock near
the end of the game and and doesn't know what
to do. What when we can kneel on the football,
when we can do X, Y and Z. It baffles
you because it's part of the game. But you see
a lot of manager just don't do it because either

(21:14):
they they manage with a combination of a field versus
saber metrics, and it just doesn't work. You know, I
gotta I got a gut for this guy coming in here. Well,
all right, maybe that might not work, but by the book,
the book says I should do this here. Well, maybe
you should have left this guy in because he was pitching.
Really well, it's it's really hard. The bullpen is really
you think it would be something where Okay, I'm gonna

(21:35):
bring in the better picture and go here and I'm
gonna go lefty, lefty, lefty, righty, righty. But plenty of
managers don't know how to do it, but I don't
care what kind of manager you are. At some point
you had to bring somebody else in beside Fernando Rodney,
and the twelfth inning was a perfect time to do it.
But they didn't do it. What if they finished that
handing off? What do you come back? Of course he
would have. They can still be playing the game now

(21:55):
seven years later and it would be Rodney still on
the mound and is four forty fifth inning of relief.
He has thrown seventeen thousand pitches. Uh, there's a fastball
at about eight miles over the plate for strike one.
That's what happened. Um. They actually replayed this game earlier
during the COVID nineteen pandemic, earlier in the spring. I

(22:16):
just want to read a couple of tweets for you
from Cesspenius Family Barbecue, which is always fun entertaining Twitter.
Semis Family Barbecue was watching the game and said, Ah,
look at thirty two year old Fernando Rodney coming in
during this Tigers Twins game. I'm like, oh, he looks
so young and cute, right because he won thirty two.
He was old, but he was young, and you know,
because he's still pitching, and then uh tweet a few

(22:37):
minutes later was Leland living Rodney in for three full
innings is so funny to me. Ride you're dying with
your dude is cool. But Rodney was gas. It's even
years later people can see it. They didn't understand it.
I didn't understand. In fact, one of our best friends,
Pamina's best friends, he's die hard Tigers from you know,
Pamas from Detroit. He's a die hard Tigers fan. And

(22:58):
every time he's telling me about a Tiger's game, we'll
talk on the phone once in a while. Oh you
see you see the Tigers game tonight? I go, yes.
Leland left Fernando Rodney and way too long and he said, blank,
you stop bringing up that bleeping game. Gets so mad
at me when you want to tell me a story
about you know, Nick Castianos, there's something else. Yeah, I'm
just like, oh is hell? Yeah, because Fernando Rodney is

(23:19):
still on the map. You get so mad at me
when I say that you should make him a nice
greeting card for the holidays, and then when he opens
it happens to pop up Fernando Rodney. Hey here it
is congratulations. So That's how the game ended for the
Twins and the Tigers. The Twins move on, the Tigers
go home. What was next for both of these teams
find out next. As for one of these squads, it

(23:40):
was a chance and near immortality a year later, and
the debut of a player who is still getting it
done as one of the best in his position in
the majors. All that more coming up next right here
on special Teams. So what happens next for the Tigers

(24:10):
and the Twins as they move on following this crazy
ass two thousand nine game number one sixty three a
l Central Division title play in winner. That's a long title,
this is why. But you know football games have a
shorter titles, Like you know, a big game, we title
it by somebody else. You know, it's a fourth and
twenty six game, which we have. You know we have
the you know you have the fake Spike game. We

(24:31):
have all there's one play that defines it or or
a surname. Baseball doesn't have that. It's the two thousand
nine AL Central playing tiebreaker game between the Twins and
the Tigers. It doesn't just say why was Fernando Rodney
still on the mound? Yeah, you know, we could call
it the Fernando Rodney game. Oh, that's the Fernando Rodney game.
I think we could call it that if you wanted to.
I don't think about that Fernando Rodney game. That'll be

(24:54):
the title, alright. Uh So for the Tigers, they become
the first team in baseball history to have a three
game lead with four games left because game number one,
sixty three is a regular season game, and lose the division.
So suddenly not feeling so bad. The Mets blew a
seven game lead with seventeen to go. A couple of
years before that, you blow a three game lead with
four left, that's a bigger deal. Now that's still the Mets, alright, alright,

(25:22):
I tried, though, I tried, I know, I know. Good effort.
The next season, Detroit fell back to five hundred, But
the good news for them was they had the debut
of a guy who has become one of the top
three pitchers in baseball over the past decade and Max Scherzer.
June of that year, Armando Gallaragas near perfect game. We
just celebrated the ten year anniversary of it not too

(25:43):
long ago. Still one of the most talked about games
in baseball history. But after that bad year in two
thousand and ten, Detroit went back to the playoffs the
next four years after that and to try to put
the Tigers of the early teams into respective. They were
almost like the Buffalo Bills of the early nineties that

(26:04):
went to four straight Super Bowls and lost because the
Tigers had so much talent, but they couldn't win. With
Miguel Cabrera, Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander, you would think
at some point one year they would put it all
together and win. They got close a couple of times,
but you would think with that kind of talent, that
kind of over the top great talent, they would find
a way to win. And they couldn't do it. You know,

(26:25):
in the end, you still got a field full line
of a couple of all stars and doffing the caps
at the Midsummer Classic. Uh, isn't enough to get you
all the way through? Right? The rest of that lineup
was never really that powerhouse that we've seen, you know,
or we even experienced in the year that we chronicled
here that you know, you were going off those two

(26:46):
arms almost like Arizona did when you had Randy Johnson
and Kurt Schilling, and then you'd have one or two
stars in the batting order, thinking you were gonna get over. Unfortunately,
this was enough to get you into the day. You
couldn't finish it, and you were left on the floor. Sullen,
that's pretty well, sull I mean you really, you really
just kind of just took me right down right, I

(27:08):
just took you right left on the floor, Sullen, Like,
That's not how I thought you would end that. I mean, look,
I love Victor Martinez like everybody else, and j D.
Martinez before he became j D Martinez. But yeah, I
mean it was Miguel Cabrera and a bunch of guys.
I thought you're gonna kind of end it like the
end of Return of the Jedi where the death Star

(27:29):
gets blown up. We're singing yubnub together. Oh we could.
I mean, I think that's at the end. I mean,
because we'll find positivity and what guys are doing now,
but yeah, yub nub. Now for the Minnesota Twins their season,
and it stopped me. If you heard this before, they
lose to the Yankees in the playoffs. They gets swept
and it's the last year of the Metrodome, which when

(27:51):
it debuted, I remember that was the first ballpark I
remember that came in brand new. That was so different,
the big trash bag in the outfield. Mennesota. When I
was a kid, they played outdoors and it was you know,
they were just okay, and it was cold in the
spring and it was cold in the fall. But they
move indoors and suddenly this is a team that reinvents
itself and they just spray the ball all over the field,

(28:12):
right and with the with the baggy up against the
wall in the outfield. It was so interesting, and you know,
it was the end of the era, the end of
an era with the Metrodome, because that was so much
fun in Minnesota really built their team surrounding it. They
move into Target Field in doesn't matter. They win the
Al Central again. Then they hit the skids for five years.
But this is a team that really has figured out
how to be the every other year mid size market threat. Right,

(28:36):
they know who they are. The Twins are never gonna
be a team that builds a dynasty. They're gonna be
a team that stays in contention every couple of years.
We win or we make it to the playoffs and
maybe one year we can get hot, make it all
the way. But they know their identity. I really look,
the last eighteen years have been in the playoffs eight times.
I take that. You're almost in the playoffs every other year.

(28:56):
To figure out who you are is a really big deal.
And not every worry about, well, how do we rebuild?
Do we spend a lot of money? Do we not
spend a lot of money? Do we wait for the
kids to come up? Do we trade the kids for
established players? You wind up doing that. You wind up
like the San Diego Padres. You're in that hellish you know,
hamster wheel of rebuilding with a different strategy every couple
of years. The Twins have figured out how to do

(29:18):
it right. And and look, there's worse things in the
world than being a Twins fan, y'all. The Twins can
never win it all? And yeah, but you know what,
is winning it all something you can expect from one
of your teams, or is contending every other year being
good enough to get to the playoffs and give you
something to play for. I think every fan would sign
up for something like that. Like I said, you like
to be in contention, and have games be meaningful in

(29:39):
September and the second wild card has certainly brought us
that the first year in a decade that the Twins
and won the Al Central. Let's just put some numbers
on it. Uh. Six of their last seven playoff exits
have been at the hands of the Yankees. Always happens.
They play the by the way, the trash bag place.

(30:02):
That sucked. Oh, come on, it was different though, That's
why it was different. Did you ever go there though? No,
But it was fun to watch the horrible Come on.
They had the hockey plexiglass up against the wall in
the outfitow. I know it was. It was terrible though.
I went to a couple of games there before they
defeated it, and I was like, why am I here?
Why did I come back? Oh? And book a Boom

(30:23):
rides Mike Madonno into the boards. Oh my goodness, that
was a book a Boom reference. So that's how it
ended that year for the Twins and the Tigers. Again,
Fernando Rodney is still on the mount. How about somewhere
are they now? You have a power of positivity? Where
are they now? For us? Right? Oh, there's no question
you got Kevin Mulvey, who was a Villanova baseball coach.

(30:44):
Craig Breslow, who was called the smartest guy in baseball.
He's the director of Strategic Initiatives, Uh for Baseball OPS.
How you like that? You got Dusty Ryan. His first
major League at bad was a home run. That's cool.
He's a he equipment manager for the Irrigation District of Merced, California.

(31:05):
Joseph Mabel is coaching. Literally, Oh that's cool. Blue gotch.
He is an area sales manager for aug Metics. He
was a middle infielder, so now selling surgical systems. These
are guys that all really said baseball was like a
stop for them. On then what happened, And then I

(31:26):
really got into doing some really cool book because you
gotta you gotta take a little deeper. See what I
did there for there? Uh? And I also want to
have you know, as of right now as you and
I speak, Fernando Rodney does not yet have a job
for I'm still holding out hope. He's still on the Mountain, Minnesota.

(31:49):
He's still like first major league appearance took place in
two thousand two. Yeah, I want to get him to
twenty Come on, didn't he have a run of being
in the playoffs like every year for like six straight years.
I think that you had a big run. I want
to say that that that he did that. Fernando Rott. Yeah.
You look at the number of teams at this point.

(32:09):
You go Detroit, l A, Tampa, Seattle, Cubs, San Diego, Miami, Arizona, Minnesota, Oakland,
and Washington. Yeah, he's he's been everywhere. I'm not saying
averywhere many, he has been everywhere. His postseason pitching, uh stats,

(32:30):
I'll tell you this. He pitched in the postseason in
two thousand fifteen with the Cubs, two thousand seventeen with
Arizona at the age of forty, two thousand eighteen with Oakland,
and then two thousand nineteen winning the World Series with
the Washington Nationally got that ring. Maybe, so he was
he was pitching the postseason two thousand thirteen, two thousand fifteen,

(32:50):
two thousand seventeen, two thousand eighteen, two thousand nineteen. So
he's the guy you want. He's if you're gonna do anything,
he's the guy you want. And in the World Series
he had a nice round d r A of nine
in three games. Two innings, pitched, two hits, two runs,
both of those who earned a home run in six walks.
You know you're gonna mop up a couple of these games. Okay,

(33:11):
got it. I'm good, coach, I got my ring. Leave
me alone. Just come get me right in the thirteen thinning.
I'm really tired. I've thrown nearly fifty pitches. Come get me,
Jim Leland, just promise you're getting me to the thirteen.
Let me get another dragon. I smooth twitter at how
about a Fresco Mike? Is that swollen dome? Its Special
Teams with Jason Smith and Mike car But if you

(33:33):
have a future idea for an episode of Special Teams,
hey drop us a note on Twitter. Let us know
what you think. Make sure you raid us after you
listen to this. It allows us to bring you great
content like this. If I do say so myself, give
us five stars. Will love you forever if you hate it,
if you're Fernando Rodney, if you're a Tigers fan, still
give us five stars. I won't tell anybody. We'll talk
to you next week. Got a couple more big NFL games,

(33:56):
Big time NFL playoff games with names and everything. Come
in your way next couple of weeks on Special Teams.
Before you go, rate and review the show, whether you're
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(34:17):
whatever it is, give us a rate, tell us you
like it. We will love you forever and ever and ever.
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(34:38):
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