It's been over a decade in the making, but the best things are oftentimes worth the wait.
On Friday night, the Minnesota Twins clinched the AL Central for the ninth time in franchise history. It was the first time since 2010 that it happened at home in front of fans at Target Field.
Those fans savored every second of the moment.
Minnesota clinched an AL Central title at home back in 2020, but we all know what hapepned that year and why fans weren't there to watch the festivities. This time around, fans packed into Target Field and made the entire night one sustained celebration.
It's been an inevitability that the Twins would win the division, as Cleveland was launched into another dimension at the beginning of the month and never bounced back. Minnesota's magic number has slowly dwindling, but there was a gorwing chance that the division could be clinched on the road or on an off day.
That didn't end up happening, and things lined up perfectly for the crowning achievement of the season to happen at home.
Watch Twins fans lose their minds after AL Central is clinched
Twins fans know better than most not to celebrate too early, but it was hard not to feel the energy of inevitability in the air on Friday night. All Minnesota needed to do was win to ourtight clinch the division, and all that stood in their way was a pretty bad Angels team.
Los Angeles jettisoned almost all of its trade deadline pickups at the beginning of the month to allow those players to be postseason eligible, something that caused some anxiety among Twins fans. Cleveland claimed three players fans were hoping would get to Minnesota on the waiver wire, and used it as a shot across the bow at the division leaders.
It ended up being nothing more than a death rattle, as Minnesota destroyed Cleveland in a series at the start of September to deliever a knockout blow. After that series, the Guardians had almost no chance of catching the Twins and it was a choke out that was completed on Friday.
That same Angels team was in Minneapolis on Friday, in an almost fitting fashion, as the only thing standing in the Twins way of clinching.
Fans knew this was coming all month, and Friday's game was simply the cathartic crescendo. The entire season was building to tonight, and to the moment Minnesota finally punched its playoff ticket as division champions.
The Twins will host an AL Wild Card series starting on October 4th, although it's unclear who their opponent will be. There was some small hope that the Twins would be able to sneak into the No. 2 seed, but that dream is over.
Instead, Target Field will host at least two playoff games and the Twins will attempt to end a curse that has hung over the franchise since 2004. That's the last time the team won a playoff game -- not a series, merely a single game -- but this year feels like the one where the dark clouds finally part.
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