MINNEAPOLIS -- The threat of contraction in the offseason. A possible players' strike in August.
The odds against the Twins playing in 2002 appeared insurmountable. But contraction was delayed and a strike was averted.
The Twins went on to win 94 games and the Central Division title. They added a division series championship last weekend by defeating the Oakland Athletics in five games.
Commissioner Bud Selig was vilified by fans for even mentioning the possibility of contraction because of the game's uneven economic climate. Many think justice would be served if Selig has to present the Twins with the American League and World Series championship trophies later this month.
Selig attended Game 1 of the American League Championship Series games at the Metrodome Tuesday night without fanfare. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire got to meet Selig for the first time.
"He was very excited to be here," Gardenhire said. "He's very excited about baseball here in Minnesota, the way it's going right now. He's happy for our baseball team.
"As I said before, I believe he was doing something that he thought was the right thing, and that's talking about contraction. The biggest thing this year was they got a deal done, a labor agreement. That gives Minnesota a chance. I'm happy he was able to help in getting that done, so it was really, honestly, nice for me to see him and meet him for the first time."
Twins third baseman Corey Koskie said Selig's presence didn't add an element of satisfaction to Tuesday's victory.
"I think Mr. Selig is a big fan of the game of baseball," Koskie said. "I think he was excited to come to the Metrodome and see 54,000 people out here cheering for the Twins. I don't think it added anything."
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