Yankees free fall benefits Twins

Posted on May 30th, 2007 – 10:00 AM
By Joe Christensen

There were some great responses to the “Your turn to play GM” post, and I’ll come back to that at a later time. I’ll be laying low in blogland for a while, working on a Sunday enterprise piece that Twins fans won’t want to miss. Last night, my wife and I were in Hopkins, with Tony Oliva and his wife, listening to their son, Ric Oliva, play blues guitar. The Twins game was on TV, and we got to talk baseball with Tony, as he watched the hitters he still counsels demolish White Sox pitching.

My uncle Steve will cringe about all this name-dropping, but in the course of reporting yesterday, I had phone conversations with Rod Carew, Jim Palmer and Kent Hrbek. So, let’s just say I’ve got my work cut out for me, trying to write words that do this story justice. In the meantime, stay tuned to La Velle’s blog for the quickest updates.

And as you get ready for Twins/White Sox today, here’s something that struck me this morning. The Yankees’ incredible struggles are a very good thing for the Twins. Not many thought the wild card could come out of the AL Central again this season, but that’s exactly what would happen if the season ended today. Twins are 5 1/2 back of Cleveland, but only 4 back of Detroit in the wild-card race. Buster Olney’s blog at ESPN.com (subscription required), included this interesting tidbit today:

• The Yankees … have reached the point where they will almost require a historic comeback to make the playoffs:

The Yankees’ deficit in the division race is 14.5 games. Only one team has won a division or league with a deficit of greater than 14 games — the 1914 Boston Braves.

The Yankees’ deficit in the wildcard is 8.5 games. Only four wildcard winners have overcome greater deficits than that — the ’95 Yankees (who were once nine games out), the 2001 Athletics (once 10.5 games out), the 2003 Marlins (11.5 games out), and the 2005 Astros (11.5 games out).

Only two other times have the Yankees had a larger deficit in May — 1984: In the year in which the Tigers started 35-5, the Yankees fell 17.5 games out in May. 1913: the Yankees were as much as 18.5 games out in May.

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