Graterol Incident Would Have Broken Minnesota, Researcher Claims
Image courtesy of © Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY SportsBrusdar Graterol is no longer a Twin. In what looks like a trade that worked for both teams, the Los Angeles Dodgers acquired him in exchange for Kenta Maeda. The latter being part of the Cy Young conversation eases the sting of parting with a dazzling prospect like Graterol. But that might not be the only benefit of the trade.
“If Graterol celebrates like that in a Twins uniform, it very well may have torn the fanbase asunder, never to be joined again,” said Jeremy Hornbacher, a Hamline grad student specializing in Minnesota sports pathology.
Hornbacher is referencing the flame-throwing reliever throwing his glove and cap in the air to celebrate Clay Bellinger’s game-saving catch in the 7th inning of the Dodgers’ 6-5 defeat of the Padres on Wednesday. San Diego’s Manny Machado clearly took exception, mouthing “[Expletive] you” and “I’ll be waiting for you” to Graterol. The pitcher responded by blowing him a kiss.
“Minnesota has two very strong fan cultures that meet in certain spots and diverge in others,” said Hornbacher. “One is unreasonably defensive of the hometown team’s players, and one is pathologically obsessed with playing the game the ‘right’ way, whatever that means.
“Graterol doing that in a Twins uniform, much less in a playoff game? The result would have been mass chaos, Anderson-on-Anderson violence across the state.”
Hornbacher says years of analysis led him to this conclusion.
“Going all the way back to 1961, I’ve not found one instance of a Minnesota fan acknowledging that the opposition had a valid concern regarding the behavior of a Minneapolis or St. Paul-based athlete,” said the Roseville native. “This runs headlong into the more recent phenomenon of people with mortgages and kids calling KFAN to deride players as knuckleheads or prima donnas for showing the barest hint of emotion.”
When asked to speculate on the toll this would take, Hornbacher shuddered.
“I think we’d lose Willmar,” said Hornbacher. “Entire towns just…gone. That trade not only solidified the rotation, it saved lives.”