Beermakers vs. Same-Aged Siblings would make quite the event
I invite you to imagine the unimaginable. The unthinkable. The heretofore incomprehensible. What sporting milestone do I refer to? The Minnesota Vikings winning the Super Bowl? No, even as a Viking die-hard, that’s too far-fetched for me. The Milwaukee Bucks attaining more than five fans in western Wisconsin? I don’t think they’re relevant enough that anyone has even tried to imagine that happening. Instead, I refer to a suddenly realistic possibility for the Fall Classic: Brewers-Twins in the World Series.
See? You’re not laughing at the thought anymore, are you? Sure, there are ebbs and flows to a regular season, but by the peak of this summer, one could make a convincing case that both Minnesota and Milwaukee would be present near the end of the baseball season. A case that could rarely have been legitimately made.
The Brewers and Twins each have all-time win-loss records with more losses than wins. You may remember that the Twins were originally the first edition of the Washington Senators, playing D.C. baseball from 1901 to 1960. A common saying of the time, referring to the city of Washington, was “First in war, first in peace, last in the American League.” Needless to say, this was a hapless club that moved to the Twin Cities in 1961, though they immediately played better baseball, with a solid mid-late ’60s run of one pennant and a couple more division titles. However, just in time for the 1970 arrival in Milwaukee of the Brewers, the Twins took a downward tilt that would mostly not recover until the late ’80s.
At the time, the Brewers were an American League team, until their leap to the National League in 1998. Obviously, the Twins and Brewers could not meet in the World Series when both were in the AL, but an American League Championship Series meeting was not out of the question, and would surely be thrilling for those of us intertwined in the Border Battle. The problem was, the two almost never threatened to make such a match-up.
Most of the ’70s were spent building the Brewers from an expansion team, though they finally peaked around the turn of the decade and, in particular, in 1982, during their only World Series appearance. However, it was then tag-team time, as the Brewers fell into decline while the Twins eventually rose to their two World Series wins in 1987 and ’91. This led to the one season where an ALCS meeting could be fathomed: 1992, when the Twins were dominating their division through July, while the Brewers were competitive throughout the season. Sadly, competitive was as far as either team went, and upper Midwest baseball went into the doldrums until the Twins’ resurgence in 2001.
While the Twins have quietly been one of the consistently better teams in baseball this decade, the promises of similar growth from the Brew Crew were not realized until last year, and even then the Brewers barely achieved their first winning season since that ’92 squad. However, 2008 has been the year the promise has been largely realized. Both the Twins and Brewers are teetering on the edge of first place in their divisions, or at least are in position for a Wild Card playoff slot.
So, even with the usual suspects – the Yankees, Red Sox, Mets, and company – likely standing in the way, why do I have optimism? Wildcard teams have made the World Series for six straight seasons. I’m also not frightened by whom each would face in potential playoff match-ups; I see legitimate paths for both teams to their respective pennants.
You think the ever-intensifying Brewers-Cubs rivalry is hot? Wait until a Brewers-Twins World Series. You’ve seen the passion at Brewers-Twins games. Add in a dash of increased hostility in the wake of the summer Favre-Vikings saga. Combine this with two scrappy, young teams, hungry for winning of any kind, and we might have one of the all-time great World Series. It’s OK to dream of the Twins and Brewers in the World Series. That dream might be real before you know it.