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Twins bring out the fanaticism in fans
By Tom Scheck
Minnesota Public Radio
October 9, 2002


Many fans, both inside and outside the Metrodome, are engaging in peculiar habits to ensure that the Twins will keep winning all the way through the World Series.

A Homer Hanky hospital was set up at the Metrodome. People could bring their hankies from 1991 for some rehab. See more images.
(MPR Photo/Tom Scheck)

The Metrodome has a familiar feeling during these playoffs. There are the homer hankies. There's the sound of crowd noise bouncing off the walls and the Teflon® roof. There's also a replica of the "Frankie 'Sweet Music' Viola sign" that hung in the Metrodome during the two World Series Championships in 1987 and '91. Viola was the World Series MVP in '87.

The concourse outside the Metrodome, which was nearly empty during the team's losing seasons, is now jam packed. Fans shuffle, prod and push their way through the crowd to buy beer, talk to other fans or walk through some thing called a homer hanky hospital. Many fans outside the Metrodome also believe that they have a subtle power to help the Twins win.

"I almost didn't wear my visor tonight but I thought I better because every time I've worn it they've won," says Tammy Jo Cook. She's superstitious about the Twins.

While some fans are comfortable buying a ticket and just watching the game, others believe that their direct actions will have an impact on how the team does on the field. Some wouldn't watch the final game in the Oakland series because they thought they brought the team bad luck. Mark Kleven takes it one step further.

"I have not washed this shirt all year and that's a problem. It's dirty," he proudly admits.

Kleven is wearing a Twins shirt and helmet. He says he only wears the helmet on special occasions. And every time he's worn it they've won. Almost. "This is the first playoff game that I've worn this to but I am undefeated when I've gone to Twins games except for that one game, but that was with a friend of mine who's gone with me and he's lost 12 games in a row. He's not invited."

The superstitions vary among fans. Some groups of fans have to sit in the same seats if the Twins win and shuffle their seats if they lose. Some fans bring homer hankies from the last two World Series.

Rich and Judy Rheault and their daughter Katie are carrying grocery bags of stuff into the game. Rich Rheault says they have signs, American flags, pins and a hat from the 1991 World Series that have been out of the state for the last decade.

"I gave this to my uncle in Chicago who recently died and my aunt gave it back, so we brought it along kind of as good luck. And I put my new one on and this team was supposed to be contracted but they weren't and now they're going to hang around. So we got this for luck and this for the future," says Rheault.

Other fans who would normally think nothing of stepping on a crack or crossing the path of a black cat say they're tripped up by the Twins' mojo.

Mary Stewart of Minneapolis and Kathy Grant of Minnetonka say they've bought new Twins gear since Friday's loss against Oakland. They said their old clothing didn't work. Stewart, whose birthday is on the 13th, also carries the head of a Corey Koskie bobblehead doll that broke off from its body . She says she rubs it for good luck every time the Twins third baseman is at bat. Grant is wearing a holy necklace from the Vatican.

"It's something about baseball. You hear all of the superstitions that they have like kicking the line when they go out on the field. All the things that they do," Stewart says.

"It just makes you superstitious. If they win and you have something on that they won with, it makes you want to wear it again," adds Grant.

Other fans, like Darren Ripley from Jordan, scoff at such superstitions. He says the positive vibes that fans think they're sending to Twins players are silly.

"The Minnesota Twins are not going to win or lose the game on what a fan wears to the game so we have to get over the superstitions," says Ripley.

Nevertheless, superstitious fans will continue their rituals at the game or in front of the television. They hope they can return to their normal lives -- or at least wash their shirts -- after the Twins win the World Series.