The boys were hanging in the cramped, smelly, ugly, moldy, sub-par visitors club house in US Cellular field after the game, with looks that were a mix of tired, angry, and sad on their faces. They'd just lost the chance to break out the brooms on those hated Bitch Sox and go to their home opener in their brand-spankin' new Target Field with a record of 6-1. J.J. Hardy stop up, somewhat investigatively, when Scotty Ullger walked near his spot on the bench.
"Scotty," he said, his eyes studying his quary for any clues. "Why did you wave me home when the relay throw was so close to the infield? We had a chance to win, but you sent me home and I got tagged out. I don't get it...it's a mystery."
"Yeah," chimed in Little Nicky Punto, all five-foot nothin' of spunk that he is. "I don't get it either, We would've had the tying run at third and the winning run at second with me - hard hittin', hard livin' Nicky they call me, at the plate. I'da smacked that ball, I'da clubbed it, I'da murdalized it, if only you'd let me at it."
"Stop trying to sound tough," Jim Thome, Brand New Twin but Crafty Old Veteran added, scruffing the top of Nicky's head. "Let me ask you guys something. What would have happened had we won the game?"
"We'd have swept are most hated of opponents," offered Joe Mauer.
"We'd have walked into our Brand Spankin' New ballpark with a six and one record," added Justin Morneau.
"We would have felt invincible," said Michael "DJ Cuddles" Cuddyer. "Our first series win in Anaheim since 2-double ought-2, a sweep of those south-side bad boys - we would have been on top of the world."
"Right," interjected the Former Prime Minister of Lower Saxony, Jason Kubel. "We'd have been building a dream together, standing strong forever..." he stopped and trailed off before anyone realized he was quoting Jefferson Starship. He couldn't help it, though - he'd just watched the movie Mannequin on TBS last night.
"OK then. We'd have been on top of the world, full of swagger, feeling invincible, and come to the first game at our new stadium-"
"Field," interrupted Manager Ron Gardenhire, before leaving to buy Kenny's Candy Licorice at his neighborhood True Value Hardware store. "It's a field."
"Right, field." Thome drew a breath and continued. "So we'd come to the first game at our new field, full of ourselves, thinking we have it made, and then we have to play the Boston Red Sox. Who, as you know, are a pretty damn good baseball team."
"Whaddarya gettin' at?" snarled Little Nicky Punto, still trying to sound tough, but sounding like Scrappy Doo.
"Scotty Ullger here knows that if we walk into that game thinking we're unbeatable, the Red Sox would clean our clock. Instead, we're gonna walk in their pissed off, with a sour taste in our mouth, ready to unload at whatever team crosses our path."
"So you're saying," J.J. Hardy deduced, "that he intentionally lost this game so we'd be pissed off at win our home opener?"
"Not just our home opener, our home opener at our brand spankin' new field."
"Field," interrupted Ron Gardenhire, before leaving to record a radio commercial with his wife. "It's a field."
"That's...that's brilliant!" exclaimed Joe Mauer.
"It's magical thinking!" replied Michael Cuddyer.
"It's not how we do it in Canada," said Justin Morneau. "Which is probably why the Expo's moved to Washington."
"Good thinking!" squeaked Scotty Baker.
"Well, that takes the sting out of this loss!" smiled a suddenly much happier Nick Blackburn.
"It's crazy!" shouted Ron Gardenhire, before leaving to film a commercial for the Official Concrete Finishing Company of The Twins Radio Network.
"So crazy...it just might work," he added, with a smirk.
"Actually," Scotty Ullger said, finally getting a word in edge wise, "It's because the shortstop wasn't in position to be the cut-off man, and I've never seen a third baseman take the position of relay man and make the throw home."
"That's a hell of an official story," said Ron Gardenhire, as he washed his face with the official antibacterial soap of The Minnesota Twins locker room. "That's exactly what I'm going to tell the press, too."
"You're really smart, Scotty," said J.J. Hardy, patting his shoulder. "Mystery solved!"