If not for those pesky Major League Baseball playoffs that start today, the Minnesota Twins might still be circling the old, dumpy Metrodome, high-fiving their fans amid whirling Homer Hankies and awash in down-home Midwestern love. The Twins not only took over their hometown, they charmed the heck out of everyone not a die-hard Tigers fan.
Remember how big Brett Favre was in Minneapolis on Monday? Neither does anyone else. He is so two days ago.
The Twins turned their 163rd game of the season into a splendid finale, writes Gene Wojciechowski on ESPN.com, and even the Tigers were saying it was the greatest game they have been a part of, writes Michael Rosenberg in the Detroit Free Press. The Twins have become an easy team to love, writes Jay Mariotti of Fanhouse.com, with lunch-pail players and a sardonic manager.
Even with a strong strain of sympathy for economically ravaged Detroit, the Tigers became less Cinderella-y after the drunken escapades of first baseman Miguel Cabrera over the weekend, for which he apologized before the game. But they certainly played their part in turning the game epic. You can relive the top 10 plays of the game on this Yahoo Big League Stew blog post, complete with links to MLB.com video highlights of each play, or just marvel at a Twins team that now believes it can beat anyone, writes Dan Wetzel on Yahoo.com.
Sure, there are a few killjoys who quickly stepped in to mention that the Twins have to play the Yankees next, like ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark who believes the title will return to the Bronx after nine long years. Sure, the Twins should be completely exhausted, writes Ben Reiter on SI.com, and the Yankees are one of the powerhouse teams packing the playoffs, but Steve Aschburner of SI.com writes that the Metrodome just does not want to die.
The Yankees, though, will quickly become a focal point of the playoff drama, with Lisa Olson of Fanhouse.com writing that they are risking team chemistry by taking Jorge Posada from behind the plate when A.J. Burnett pitches. The key questions in the playoffs outlined by Scott Miller on CBSSports.com include the playoff fates of Yankees pitcher C.C. Sabathia and third baseman Alex Rodriguez. Tom Verducci of SI.com takes a bigger step back to consider more story lines from the playoff teams. Joe Posnanski writes on SI.com that the playoffs always throw surprises at us and Bill Shaikin writes in the Los Angeles Times that there is at least one person rooting for a Freeway Series between the Angels and Dodgers (him) despite its environmentally unfriendly connotations. It would, writes Mark Yost on WSJ.com, give us more time to enjoy Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully before he retires.
The N.F.L. counters all this hype with the news that the Favre-o-rama on Monday Night Football was the highest-rated show in cable history, and throws in a few choice pieces of news for the non-baseball set, including Cleveland shipping the increasingly unpopular receiver Braylon Edwards to the Jets — which Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer writes is a deal that should have happened before the N.F.L. draft — and first-round draft pick Michael Crabtree reportedly ending his holdout with the 49ers.