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Remembering Leo Cardenas, The Superstitious One

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Euphoria Squared: The Great Metrodome Victory Celebration, Oct. 12, 1987 VIDEOS

The Twins 9-5 victory over the Detroit Tigers to win the 1987 ALCS was unprecedented not only for ending the team's 17 year absence from post-season play, but just as much for that game's aftermath. The outpouring of fan joy that greeted the team as it set foot on the springy Metrodome surface that evening was truly an occasion never before seen in Minnesota.

It was a hastily organized "Welcome Home" at the H.H.H. Metrodome for team players, coaches, trainers, and execs fresh off landing at Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport. It was a Monday night, a school night, and event organizers weren't expecting much better than a polite turnout - Minnesotans aren't like New Yorkers, news flash. They're famous for keeping the kiddies home, early to bed, feed the cats, put on the nightcap...you get the idea.

 For Minnesota fans so long accustomed to ignominious defeat in four Superbowls, and being the butt of flyover land jokes, or of ill-fated closers (let's not mention the name "Ron Davis,") the return of the AL Champs from Detroit was an excuse to let loose the emotional floodgates and "Party Like It's 1999."

I well remember waking up every morning after a Twins win late in the season, my head a-swirl with giddiness about what seemed to be happening, breathing it all in, and yet not wanting to let go of my disbelief...yes, giddiness, euphoria...it was like being at a month-long Grateful Dead or Pink Floyd concert.

With that as context, you can hold back on your urge to have Viking Alan Page materialize and blindside the whistle-blowing Twins players' wives, or muzzle over-eager television sports reporters. God knows I had to.

Can someone tell me where Juan Berenguer got the idea for this get-up?

Listen closely at the 4:00 minute mark of the second vid. John Rooney correctly reminds fans that Bert Blyleven predicted an '87 pennant. He's 100 percent spot-on; I heard him say it live at the Dome, after the '86 season-ending game; it was a fan appreciation ceremony, with player speeches. My brother Kevin and I turned to each other - and laughed out loud. Sure, Bert, whatever!


What this evocative group of videos helps me remember is the fun of a completely unexpected pennant race. It was seeing grizzled veterans* like Steve Carlton, Joe Niekro, Don BaylorBert Blyleven and Roy Smalley mesh seamlessly with the Class of '82 players like Kent Hrbek, Tom Brunansky, Gary Gaetti, Tim Laudner, Randy Bush (and later) Greg Gagne, Kirby Puckett, Frank Viola, Dan Gladden, Jeff Reardon, et. al., to create an improbable, crazy-quilt patchwork of a playoff contender. This was all 1-2 years ahead of the timetable, in the estimation of youthful Vice President Of Player Personnel, Andy McPhail. Blueprints? Who needs blueprints?

*Could have included Rod Carew, discussion in '86 The Sporting News article




If you actually made it to the second and third videos, consider yourselves "real" men and women, in the stout-hearted Norseman sense. By all means, you now should be able to weather AND enjoy this vintage '87 newspaper account about that great evening in downtown Minneapolis.

I enjoy how the giant baseball behind Kent Hrbek's head make's it look as if he's wearing a sombrero. Which only would have been fitting, as it WAS a huge fiesta for 55,000 people. That alone should make you want to go to the link...so, check out the Google docs version of this report, and click on "+" for a larger view.

Hope you enjoyed Herb Carneal in the above videos! May as well let him have the last word:

"So long, everybody!"

2 comments:

musicfan87 said...

Shirley you meant 'weather'? :P

By all means, you now should be able to whether AND enjoy this vintage '87 newspaper account about that great evening in downtown Minneapolis.

Michael B said...

Thanks for the catch, musicfan87. Can't understand how I 1. missed the typo, and 2. didn't get called on it before now by some other discriminating reader. Error fixed.