Since the 2015 season the Cleveland Indians have accumulated a 214-182 regular season record including Sunday’s contest. Over the same stretch, the Minnesota Twins went 181-216. Cleveland enjoyed terrific success during this run including last season’s American League pennant. Minnesota has by and large struggled, losing 103 games in 2016. Yet somehow the Tribe has amassed only a mediocre 25-26 record against the Twinkies and even more surprisingly are only 10-16 against Minnesota at Progressive Field. How have the Minnesotans done so well against the Indians on the road? What is the key to their success, and how can Cleveland stop them? Some conspiracy theories:
Little Big League
In 1994 Castle Rock Entertainment released the baseball classic “Little Big League.” In it, the 12-year-old grandson of the Minnesota Twins’ owner takes control of the club and subsequently names himself manager because even in fiction there is no such thing as a good owner. The movie’s “putting it all together” montage features the Twins teeing off on the visiting Cleveland Indians. Sandy Alomar Jr. and Carlos Baerga are hopeless at the plate. Bill Wertz cannot make contact. Moreover, the Twins are just roasting Indians pitching, seemingly unable to record an out. Perhaps the real life Twins are watching this film on repeat when flying to Ohio and using the magic of Hollywood to fuel their North Coast prowess.
A Very Specific Faustian Bargain
According to German legend, Faust was a scholar who traded his soul to the devil in exchange for unlimited knowledge. His bargain has become synonymous with a person surrendering their integrity to receive for power or success. It’s conceivable that sometime in 2014 a devil offered the Twins baseball success in exchange for their eternal souls. However, in a “Bedazzled” like twist their power extends only to playing the Indians in Cleveland. Do not dance with the devil in the pale moonlight.
The Ghost of Paul Bunyan
According to legend, Paul Bunyan was a massive lumberjack born in Minnesota (or Maine or Michigan or Wisconsin depending whom you ask). He and his blue ox helped settlers tame the American frontier through the might of his axe and sweat. If, as legend suggests, he is in fact from Minnesota it is logical to think that he would be a fan of the Twins. Could this loyalty extend to beyond the grave? Perhaps his spirit travels with the team and rests in the center field trees of Progressive Field. The woods are his natural habitat and he could easily station there and confer stolen signs to Minny hitters. That would give them a definite leg up in Cleveland.
We have no way to determine which of these theories explains Minnesota’s bizarre success in Cleveland the past few years. Perhaps it’s luck. Perhaps Minnesota sees these trips as a challenge. Perhaps Cleveland plays down to the level of its competition and often expects their opponents to roll over and die while they do nothing to assert themselves as the dominant force of the 2017 American League Central Division and such inconsistency will come back to haunt them in October…
Nah, my money is on Bunyan.