For the first time in what feels like forever, the Minnesota Twins are playing like they belong in the postseason.
So much was made about breaking the miserable 18-game losing streak, but everything about this Twins run feels like the start of something new rather than the relief of something ending. The streak hung over everyone's head for so long that it should have been the thing that defined this postseason for Minnesota, but instead, it felt like a hors d'oeuvre rather than the main course.
That's how incredibly well the Twins are playing, and it's absolutely glorious.
On Sunday night Minnesota made its most defiant statement yet, handing the Houston Astros their second-worst home ALDS loss ever. Pablo Lopez looked like a true ace, pitching seven scoreless innings while Carlos Correa torched his old team by batting in three of the Twins six runs.
It was an ass kicking, full stop.
Minnesota has historically been on the other side of those types of games, but Sunday was a statement that this isn't the team everyone is used to seeing. It's the dawn of a new era for Twins baseball and that's something the team is leaning into for its ceremonial first pitches ahead of the next two games.
Twins are bringing back legends for ALDS ceremonial first pitches
On Monday the Twins revealed that Johan Santana and Joe Mauer would be on hand for the ceremonial first pitch ahead of Game 3. Not only that, but postseason heroes Garry Gaetti and Dan Gladden will throw and catch the first pitch ahead of Game 4 on Wednesday.
Talk about busting out the good luck charms.
Johan being on hand to throw out the first pitch of Game 3 is even more special thanks to everything that's happening wtih Pablo Lopez. The Twins ace has made it no secret that he idolizes Santana and has channeled him during his incredible postseason run so far.
Pablo isn't the only person in Twins Territory who has strong feelings about Johan, as he remains a fan favorite to this day for all he did during his run with the team. To have him back for the type of home playoff atmosphere that will exist on Tuesday is absolutely incredible.
Gaetti and Gladden represent lucky charms from the Twins two World Series runs on 1987 and 1991. Gladden scored the winning run of the '91 World Series after hitting a clutch leadoff double and then scoring on a Gene Larkin base hit in the bottom of the 10th inning.
As for Gaetti, his name has already been invoked a few times thanks to the historic postseason for Royce Lewis. Gaetti won ALCS MVP back in 1987 after hitting home runs in his first two plate appearances and helping power the Twins to the World Series. He made an impact against St. Louis, but he'll forever be remembered for sparking the run in the ALCS with his iconic performance.
Having all of those guys on hand, plus the magic of Joe Mauer, is truly powerful stuff. This postseason run for the Twins has been about exorcising demons and there's no better way to celebrate the birth of a new era than having legends of the past help usher it in.