MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The Minnesota Twins and their fans are going wild.
The Twins clinched the second Wild Card spot in the American League playoffs Wednesday night after the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim lost to the Chicago White Sox. It was quite the champagne-saturated celebration in Cleveland.
The Twins are the first team to lose 100 or more games and make it to the postseason the next year.
To say fans may not have seen it coming is an understatement. The Twins are moving on to the playoffs after winning only 59 games last year.
Fans are wasting no time buying their playoff tickets early. The video of the celebration in Cleveland’s clubhouse Wednesday night speaks for itself.
“Just to be able to come out here with these guys and be out there every day, it’s incredible. This moment is very special,” center fielder Byron Buxton said.
The Twins clinched the playoffs for the first time in seven years. It was their first season at Target Field back then. They still have to play either at Yankee Stadium or Fenway Park in the Wild Card game next week.
But preparations are already underway at home.
These kids were on a tour of Target Field, where the Clubhouse Store already unveiled a new postseason shirt and three new ball caps. Fans were calling about the swag hours before the store opened.
“It’s very exciting, especially after last season. Not expecting them to be in the playoffs, so very excited to see if they can win this game in New York,” Twins fan Mark Van Wie said.
Postseason tickets to potential Games 3 and 4 of the American League Division Series went on sale to the general public at 10 a.m. Thursday.
“The phones are ringing off the hook. Ticket sales are very busy right now,” Twins President Dave St. Peter said.
Just hours later, Twins President Dave St Peter said they had already sold more than 34,000 tickets.
“I will definitely be coming here if they get there,” Van Wie said.
But before the Twins can play a potential postseason game at home, they need to win. Right now, fans are simply soaking up their chance.
“I’m hoping this is the year we break the curse,” Van Wie said.
Twins Return Home
Returning home from Cleveland may have felt like the end of a 159 game journey. But they’re hoping it’s just the beginning of something special.
“It’s been a special season, we’ve overcome a lot and we have a chance to advance into next week which is tremendously exciting,” said Manager Paul Molitor.
“There’s nothing you can count us out of. We always compete, always battle, and always pick each other up. That’s what it takes to be a good baseball team,” said Byron Buxton.
And like a good baseball team they already have their sights set on Tuesday’s playoff game — and a likely return to Yankee stadium. A place where postseason teams of the past didn’t fare so well. Joe Mauer was one of only a couple current players on those teams, and he’s hoping this year is different.
“It’s a little more lights and a little more you guys running around. Just try to tell the guys and keep approaching the game like we have all year, all season long,” he said.
Celebrating any October playoff victory is incentive enough for players and fans.
“Last night was pretty wild, pretty wild,” said Buxton about Wednesday night’s locker room celebrations.
You can only buy playoff tickets online, but the Twins do have regular season tickets on sale at the box office for this weekend.
St. Peter said said he is expecting sellouts of more than 39,000 people at the playoff games. Keep in mind that is if they even have a game here. We don’t know yet because they still have to win the Wild Card game.
But fans seem pretty confident, based on those numbers.