TEMPE, Ariz. – All these years later, we finally have an admission from a Twins player that the Twins are psyched out when they play the Yankees in the playoffs. Actually, two Twins players. Ex-Twins star Torii Hunter said some Twins players were beaten before they started, which finally confirms what has long been suspected: that the Twins are intimidated by the Yankees. Many of the postseason games were close, but the Twins were beaten from the start, according to Hunter. And another ex-Twins star, Michael Cuddyer, now with the Rockies, agreed. “Some guys were nervous, all nervous,” Hunter, now an Angels player, said of his former Twins teammates. “There were a lot of guys mentally down — like, ooh, we drew the Yankees.’ Just play the game,” Hunter said. “Once it gets in your head, you’re done.” Hunter recalled one 2004 ALDS game the Twins lost where they had a runner on third with one out down a run against the great Yankees closer Mariano Rivera, and Twins manager called on a young righty-hitting Lew Ford to bat against Rivera, and Torre recalled Ford turning down the pinch-hit assignment. “You need a righty hitter against Rivera with his cutter,” Hunter recalled. But according to Hunter, Ford shook his head no. So Gardenhire turned to another kid, Jason Kubel, a lefthanded hitter, who Hunter recalled getting jammed. “Kubel wasn’t afraid, but he’s a lefty hitter,” Hunter said. Cuddyer enthusiastically agreed with Hunter’s general claim that the Twins were psyched out. “It was never about talent in those series,” Cuddyer said. “We played with them all (14) of those games. I think that’s pretty accurate” what Hunter said.
Talk about a recurring fucking nightmare. The Twins had to go up against the Yankees in the ALDS in 2003, 2004, 2009, and 2010 and they won exactly two games. I always thought that the Yanks were simply superior but now we know it was because the Twinks turned into little girls against the Bombers.
Of course they were scared shitless. The ’03-’04 Yanks were relentless like Freddy Kruger. Clemens and A-Rod were at the height of their, um, strengths. Captain Jeter was still a functional shortstop and crushing all the pussy in sight. The Giambino had the power of the gold thong. If David Wells’s back holds up in the World Series and Jorge actually had the ability to throw out a base stealer, they go back-to-back. Fast forward to ’09-’10. CC killed it with Subways instead of steroids, the Core Four was getting older but knew what it took to win, and Joba’s son was too young to play on trampolines. Oh, those were the good old days. If I was Lew Ford, I wouldn’t want to get in the batter’s box either. You know it’s bad when you’d rather be a bitch in front of all of your teammates than face the Hammer of God.
Has a team ever been inside another team’s head like the Yankees were with the Twins? Even LeBron James has more poise in the fourth quarter of a Finals game. It reminds me of a hot chick I used to work with. One day, I was walking to the bathroom doing my best not to check her out as I passed her desk, and totally tripped in front of her. Just full-on spread eagle on the floor. Couldn’t talk to her again. Every time I did, I turned into Stuttering John. Sometimes, these things get into your head. You can’t help it. You just gotta go into the ALDS and get your ass whipped like the Twins did.
The Bombers need to get back to terrifying their opponents. I’m talking intimidation. Give Robbie a neck tattoo. Wheel David Robertson out to the mound like Hannibal Lecter. Make Hank Steinbrenner the new left fielder. Sun Tzu once wrote (probably not but roll with me on this), “You have to win the battle before the battle.” If the Yankees want to win the World Series in 2012, they need to make the entire MLB fear them. Or play the Twins everyday.