Saturday marks 20 years since the events of September 11, 2001. Due to what happened, Major League Baseball decided to suspend games for several days as we grieved and remembered those who lost their lives on that terrible day. Baseball, the Twins, and sports in general indeed took a back seat to what was much more important.
When play was set to resume, the Minnesota Twins were at home taking on the Detroit Tigers on September 18. The 2001 season was providing a lot of reason for Twins fans to be optimistic, in manager Tom Kelly’s final season, as they were winning again after eight straight losing seasons.
The team got off to a hot start, playing to an 18-6 record in April, and while they cooled off a bit after that, they were in first place as late as August 11. After winning their third straight in Detroit on September 10, they still had a fighting chance to win the AL Central. And then, all of that suddenly became much less important.
Minnesota Twins: Tragedy struck, and baseball became secondary.
The Twins retook the field at the Metrodome on September 18 on an emotional night against the Tigers. A small gathering of 10,878 watched as the teams stood along the foul lines while a local high school choir sang “God Bless America.” A woman also stood at home plate holding a bald eagle. Similar scenes took place all around the big leagues when play resumed, but each game and each ceremony held its own emotions. That was no different in Minnesota.
Though, again, the game was of secondary importance, the hometown team gave their fans something to cheer about. Starting pitcher Brad Radke was perfect through six innings and took a no-hitter into the eighth inning, when the Tigers’ Shane Halter homered to break it up. Corey Koskie and Cristian Guzman homered as the Twins beat the Tigers, 8-3.
Though far away from where the events of September 11, 2001 took place, fans in Minnesota certainly felt the impact of what happened. Though baseball is secondary to what took place, on that evening, baseball helped fans to heal at the Metrodome. Hopefully, the game helped fans slowly try to return to some sense of normal.