Friday, April 9, 2010

Only Three More Days

Until outdoor baseball returns to Minnesota.

Being 400 miles away, I'm not sure when I'll see the new stadium in person, but I'm glad to see the old logo -- which they never should have gotten rid of -- figures prominently therein:

For them that don't know, here's the backstory on the logo:

The name "Twins" was derived from the popular name of the region, the Twin Cities. The NBA's Minneapolis Lakers had re-located to Los Angeles in 1960 due to poor attendance which was believed to have been caused in part by the reluctance of fans in St. Paul to support the team. [Team owner Calvin] Griffith was determined not to alienate fans in either city by naming the team after one city or the other, so the team became known as the Minnesota Twins. However, the original "Twin Cities Twins" TC logo was kept, and the team logo showed two men, one in a Minneapolis Millers uniform and one in a St. Paul Saints uniform, shaking hands across the Mississippi River. This remained the team's primary logo until 1987, when the team felt it was established enough to put an "M" on its cap without having St. Paul fans think it stood for Minneapolis.

And here's the backstory's backstory on the bitter, longstanding Millers-Saints rivalry:

“EVEN DURING THE DEPRESSION we could always count on a good crowd when the Saints and Millers played each other," recalled Oscar Roettger, a pitcher and first baseman for St. Paul during the 1920s and 1930s. "Pay days - that's what those games were."

The diamond rivalry between Minneapolis and St. Paul was in its golden years during Roettger's playing days, but its roots were part of the post-Civil War baseball boom in America. Minnesota veterans returning home from Bull Run, Shiloh and Gettysburg began waging their own War Between the Cities, a battle fought with less lethal weapons - bats and balls - but one that lacked a cease-fire for nearly a hundred years.

From the town teams of the 1860s and 1870s, the professional nines of the latter 1800s and finally the great Saints and Millers clubs of the twentieth century, they fought - player vs. player, fan vs. fan, sometimes player vs. fan.

The newspapers even fired their artillery at enemy camps across the river. In the 1890s, when both cities were represented in the Western League, the Minneapolis Tribune leveled a charge of "dirty ball" against its neighbors to the east, then owned and managed by Charles Comiskey. "Manager Comiskey," reported the Tribune, "will be served with a formal notice that the Minneapolis club will not play today's game unless guaranteed that there will be no spiking of Minneapolis players, no interference on the part of the crowd, no throwing of rocks, no throwing of dust and dirt in the eyes of the Minneapolis players, and a few other tricks which the game yesterday was featurized by."

Read the whole thing.

No comments: