Minnesota Twins: My Scariest moment as a Twins fan, Matt Garza’s MLB debut

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - AUGUST 08: Manager Craig Counsell
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - AUGUST 08: Manager Craig Counsell /

With Halloween upon us, we wondered what have been some scary moments for Minnesota Twins fans. Here is a recollection of the nightmare that was Matt Garza’s debut.

The Minnesota Twins and all Minnesota sports have had their share of moments that terrify and frustrate their fan base. With the holiday of scare and trick or treating upon us, we at Puckett’s Pond wanted to recall some memorable scary moments for Twins fans.

Before I dive into the details of my scariest moment, here are some background reminders of what was happening around the Twins at this time. In the 2005 MLB Amateur Draft, the Twins used their 1st round pick (#25 overall) to select right-hander Matt Garza.

Garza quickly became a known name around the fanbase. Entering 2006 Baseball America ranked Garza as the Twins #7 prospect and he lived up to that hype in many ways. He was on a very “un-Twins like” accelerated path through the minors, starting in High-A Fort Myers and moving through AA New Britain and AAA Rochester, logging a combined stat line of 14-4, 1.99 ERA, and 154 strikeouts.

That brings us to the day of horrors for this Twins fan, August 11, 2006. It was announced that the Minnesota Twins, who were a very respectable 67-47 going into the day, would be giving Garza his call up and chance to debut in the majors against the visiting Toronto Bluejays. The Twins were not in dire need of another starting arm but were giving significant innings to Carlos Silva and Boof Bonser, and it would be nice for that team to find an upgrade in the rookie Garza for the rest of the season.

Enter me, I was a college student at home for the summer and had disposable income that often was spent on Twin games. I had heard all the hype surrounding Garza and that morning when he was confirmed as the starter I wanted to have my butt in the Metrodome. Just in case this was the start of some important Twins history. I hopped on MSN Messenger (because that’s what us Old Millennials did) and asked my buddy to come along with me. He agreed, I purchased tickets, and we were off to see Garza’s debut.

At the stadium, we took our seats in the Home-Run Porch. This became one of my favorite places to take in a game. Likely because of a combination of proximity to the field, but yet affordability it became my home for many Twins games that season. It was from those seats earlier that summer I expressed my frustrations with Andruw Jones for catching too many fly balls and also from those seats I would experience, well…history.

Garza toed the rubber ready for his first game in the big leagues and his first opposing batter, Reed Johnson. The rookie got Johnson to strike out swinging. My fan heart lept so incredibly high in that moment. It said, “This is it, baby!” as it seemed our stud pitcher of the future had arrived. The rest of the inning would go single, strikeout, walk and bring Lyle Overbay to the plate who would deflate that elated heart with a 2-RBI double.

Not the start I was hoping for, but with 2 strikeouts in the inning, there was also something to be optimistic about. At least that optimism could remain until Garza went to work the 2nd inning. After the Twins went 3 up and 3 down against A.J. Burnett in the first inning the Bluejays were then ready to go to work again.

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Garza would get ahead of the Bluejays early making two outs of the first two batters he faced. After a single by John McDonald, Johnson had the opportunity to enact revenge after his first inning strikeout. Johnson’s revenge was found in the form of a 2-run home run. That home run was then followed by three straight singles, the last by Troy Glaus which plated the third run of the inning. Garza finally got out of the inning with a Flyball out to Overbay to leave the 2nd inning down 5-0.

Michael Cuddyer doubled to lead off the Twins half of the inning and breathed some life into the game. That life was squashed like a Jack-o-lantern that met the pavement as Burnett retired the next three batters to bring the Bluejays back to the plate. It was McDonald who delivered the knockout blow on Garza’s first outing in the majors as he hit a 2-run home run to put his team up 7-0. After 2.2 innings, 8 hits, and 7 earned runs Garza was replaced by Willie Eyre and the Twins would go on to lose the game 7-1.

This was awful to sit through. It was the type of game that few actually want to see through to the end. Twins fans never saw Garza develop into that frontline starter we hoped for. Garza’s best years were spent with other teams as the Twins sent him to the Tampa Bay Rays in November 2007 for Delmon Young.

Next: Twins Fall/Winter League Roundup - Eades Role

As fans now know, Young brought a whole different type of haunting to the Twins organization. I don’t think any fan wants to remember the frustrating at-bats and awful fielding that Young brought with him. And that is my scariest Twins memory. Please comment and share your own scary memories with us! As Minnesota sports fans we have many!