Late summer, 1987: I had lost my job, broken up with my girlfriend, and I was depressed and miserable. There was nothing good in my life; and I wasn't good for much of anything. But then there were The Twins...
The Twins had last made the playoffs when I was 7- before I followed baseball. So, to my memory, the Twins had never won anything. I was a die hard Twins fan, but I was so negative at the time that I was sure they would not win the AL West. You know, that defeatist attitude that can develop when things are going bad. Not living in Minnesota anymore, I had to make sure I caught the sports on the 11pm news. But often they didn't even show all the results from the day, and I had to wait to look quickly at the neighbors paper in the morning to see if the Twins had won. Yeah, things were a lot different in 1987- no internet.
As the season wound down, much to my surprise, the Twins hung in there. It energized me. I was excited. My mood changed. So much so that after having not looked for a job for a while, i replied to an ad and had an interview. I still remember the interview- we talked more about Kirby Puckett and Homer Hankey's (mom had just had a friend in Minneapolis send me some in the mail. Thanks, mom) than the job. He was an A's fan but was a Puckett fan. Frankly, anyone who was a baseball fan HAD to be be a Puckett fan. Kirby epitomized everything there was to love about the game. I got the job. Well, more accurately, Kirby Puckett got me the job. Really.
The Twins crushed the heavily favored Tigers to win teh AL Pennant. The Twins in the World Series: unbelievable. By this time I was virtually unrecognizable vs who I was a month earlier. I was a nervous wreck after the Twins went down 3 games to 2 after game 5. Yes, "nervous wreck" sounds overly dramatic- well, unless you're a real baseball fan. In which case, you understand completely. The Twins trailed in both game 6 and 7- adding to the drama. When Reardon go the final out in the 9th, it was one of the happiest moments of my life. Pure joy sprinkled with bouts of disbelief that my Twins had actually done it. It was real, WE were the champs. Pure joy.
I literally rode the high from the World Series all the way to the next Twins World Series victory in 1991. The job Kirby got me in 1987 wasn't a great job; but it was the much needed step in the right direction. I soon found a better job- an actual career. By 1991, I was making more money than I ever dreamed, had a career I was proud of, and had a wonderful life. The reality is that the 1987 Twins changed my life. As silly as that sound, it's an undeniable fact.
That is the power of baseball.