World Series Region
After a Hall of Fame career and multiple heroic World Series moments, Kirby Puckett was named the tournament’s number one overall seed. Kent Hrbek was the number two seed in the region and these two seemed destined for an Elite Eight match-up. Both would advance before Puckett took out Hrbek to make the Final Four.
Jack Morris might have been the one surprise in this region as he was able to defeat Tom Brunansky in the first round. Morris was the higher seed, but he only played one season in Minnesota. Still, his one season was a magical one and he pitched one of the greatest games in baseball history. It also helps that he has continued to have a media presence in the Twin Cities since retiring.
Current Twins Region
The Tournament Committee might have underestimated some of the players in the Current Twins Region. The biggest upset of the tournament happened in this region and it was the only region where a non-number one seed was able to make the Final Four. Nelson Cruz was given the number one seed in the region after being named the team’s MVP.
Cruz made it all the way to the region final, but he was upset by Max Kepler, the region’s three seed. Kepler took out Miguel Sano and Byron Buxton along the way. The bracket’s biggest first round upset might have been Jose Berrios, the region’s number two seed, being taken out by Byron Buxton, a seven seed. Buxton’s Cinderella story ended in the next round, but he was able to handily beat the team’s two-time All-Star and scheduled Opening Day starter.
Of all the regions, this one might have included some of the biggest tournament snubs. Jacque Jones, Nick Punto, Doug Mientkiewicz and others were left out of the tournament with names like Lew Ford and Francisco Liriano beating them out. Joe Mauer was the easy selection as the number one and he had enough to beat out Justin Morneau and Torii Hunter to make the Final Four.
The closest match-up in the entire tournament was between Johan Santana, the three seed, and Torii Hunter, the two seed. Heading into the final hour of voting it was deadlocked at 50-50. Hunter used a last-minute run to overtake Santana and head to the Elite Eight before eventually losing to Mauer.
Early Twins Region
Many fans on social media are far removed from the early Twins and their impact on this franchise. Harmon Killebrew earned the number one seed in the region and the number two overall seed and he seemed like the front-runner for the championship. He fell short of this goal, but it might have been connected to recency bias instead of his overall greatness.
Minnesota has seven retired players eligible for this bracket and four of them made it through the first round. Realistically, the Mount Rushmore of Twins players includes multiple players from this region that wouldn’t be represented in the Final Four. Bert Blyleven and Tony Oliva weren’t able to upset the higher seeds and it set up a Killebrew vs. Carew final for the ages.
Both semifinal matchups turned out to be no contests as the most recent legend in Twins history, Joe Mauer, beat out an all-time legend in Harmon Killebrew. Max Kepler, out of the Current Twins region, hasn’t made any big catches or hit any big home runs in the World Series, so it made sense for him to be demolished by Kirby Puckett.
Puckett versus Mauer would be the final and it looked close at the beginning of the voting. After about eight hours of voting, both players were nearly tied for the top spot. Some on Twitter thought it would be atrocious for Mauer to beat-out Puckett, the World Series hero. Stronger heads prevailed and the top seed in the tournament, Puckett, cut down the nets.
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