With the Minnesota Twins 2021 season on the precipice of disaster, the team’s front office made it clear that they are willing to think outside the box in their efforts to salvage it.
Bob Baffert, the scandal-ridden trainer of champion racehorses, has been brought on as a consultant and assistant nutritionist for the remainder of the 2021 campaign.
“His track record speaks for itself,” said Twins GM Thad Levine. “We’re not at all ready to give up on this year, we know we have playoff-caliber talent. Bob’s here to make sure we get the most out of it.”
Baffert’s horses have won 16 Triple Crown races, but those victories have come with no small amount of controversy. Baffert-trained horses have failed multiple drug tests over his four decades in the sport, including four in 2020 and his most recent Kentucky Derby winner, Medina Spirit.
“We’re aware of the incident but we can’t comment on an ongoing investigation,” said Levine. “Bob said it won’t be a distraction and the culture Rocco (Baldelli) has built in our clubhouse ensures that it won’t.”
Through a spokesperson, Baffert said he’s unconcerned with the transition from horse racing to baseball.
“Horses run around the track. Players run around the bases. Same skill set, same concept. To suggest otherwise is a perfect example of cancel culture, frankly.”
Twins players can best be described as intrigued but skeptical.
“I guess I don’t mind the front office trying to shake things up,” said Twins third baseman Josh Donaldson. “But it’s weird. (Baffert) doesn’t call us by our actual names and has given us all horse names. I’m Midnight Son. (Jorge) Polanco is Timberline. And he keeps rubbing our haunches and asking if we’d like some more hay.”
A clubhouse source said the 5-gallon buckets labeled “DINGER JUICE” and “STRIKEOUT BUTTER” observed by multiple reporters are “just standard training room fare.” The source also characterized inquiries about the contents of mason jars with “COSMONAUT URINE” emblazoned on the lids as “you sound like a cop, and you have to tell me if you’re a cop, I know my rights Obama.”
Baffert’s only previous baseball experience was as a bench coach for the 2005 Florida Marlins, which is perhaps best remembered for the day Josh Beckett threw a 117 mph fastball against the Colorado Rockies before injuring his shoulder and being destroyed on the mound during Take Your Child to a Ballgame Day.
(H/T to local man Jim Andrews for the inspiration.)