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.
How else to explain four wipeouts in the ALDS since 2003, two in three games and two in four, generally following seasons where both teams won fairly similar numbers of regular-season games? 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.”
Another leader agrees:
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.
False. I wouldn’t discount the notion that those Yankee teams were in the Twins’ heads, but to say it was never about talent is silly. Those Yankee teams were far and away more talented than those Twins teams.
In the entirety of the time period between 2002 and 2010, there was one playoff series that, going into it, one could reasonably say the Twins were favorites. That was 2006 against the Oakland A’s (the one where a certain center fielder misplayed a single into an inside-the-park homerun – was he intimidated by the A’s?). You can say that, mathematically speaking, the Twins should have won at least a few more games in those series, but they were always (save 2006) beaten by the more talented team.
Hunter’s recollection is also factually flawed, but even more irritating is the fact that he’s still bad-mouthing his former team more than five years after he left.