MINNEAPOLIS -- Why so serious? Just ask guys like Ronald Acuña Jr. or Francisco Lindor. Baseball unites people across countries and all manner of dispositions, but at its core, it's a game meant simply to be enjoyed by players and fans alike.
Every team around Major League Baseball has had its share of fun, lighthearted or comical moments, both on and off the field. The Twins did have some extra help in this sense, playing their home games at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome from 1982-2009, where the white fabric roof and springy turf contributed to more than their fair share of on-field mishaps and goofs.
With that in mind, let's take a journey through the history books and reminisce about five comical moments from Twins history.
1. "Chubby people also run."
Sept. 12, 2018
This list couldn't possibly be complete without a proper Willians Astudillo sighting. So let's go back to that night at Target Field when the legend of La Tortuga took the nation by storm.
Jake Odorizzi actually carried a no-hitter into the eighth inning against the Yankees on Sept. 12, 2018, but before the Bronx Bombers broke up his bid for history, the Twins gave him a pair of insurance runs in the most entertaining way possible. A 1-0 lead became 2-0 when Astudillo hit an RBI single to score Jake Cave. When Max Kepler stroked a double to left-center that eluded Aaron Hicks' diving attempt, La Tortuga hit the gas.
We owe this moment to the glorious work of an unknown camera operator on the first-base side of Target Field, who kept the shot trained on Astudillo as he shrugged off his helmet between second and third, exposing a mass of springy hair that trailed the squat catcher's frame in the breeze as he rounded third. The camera operator then zoomed in on Astudillo's face as he breathed hard with unbridled determination in his wide-open eyes before he slid feet-first into home plate at full speed.
"I just wanted to show that chubby people also run," Astudillo said.
The Twins beat the Yankees, 3-1.
2. Take cover!
July 8, 2012
Playing under the Metrodome roof would definitely have prevented this next moment, an exercise in the occupational hazards of outdoor baseball. Granted, the Twins and Rangers should probably have seen this coming when they got underway on a muggy, 96-degree Sunday night in Arlington with thunderstorms brewing north of the ballpark.
Minnesota catcher Ryan Doumit was at the plate against Roy Oswalt in the top of the fourth inning, and though it wasn't raining, he had barely put the bat on his shoulder when a massive thunderclap rocked the stadium. There was no waiting. Doumit and Rangers catcher Mike Napoli immediately sprinted in opposite directions toward their respective dugouts, prompting a hurried mass exodus of players and umpires off the field -- aside from the Rangers' infielders, who gathered on the infield dirt to have a hearty laugh at the expense of their panicked teammates.
That prompted a 46-minute rain delay in the middle of a game that lasted four hours and 32 minutes before the Rangers finally won, 4-3, on a walk-off single by Ian Kinsler in the bottom of the 13th inning.
3. Bonds takes Hunter for a joyride
July 10, 2002 (All-Star Game)
Torii Hunter's coming-out party in 2001 extended into a strong '02 campaign during which the fan-favorite center fielder notched the first All-Star Game appearance -- and start -- of his career in Milwaukee. He went 0-for-2, but he still left his mark on the game with one of the most decorated catches in the history of the Midsummer Classic.
Barry Bonds did what he did best in the first inning against American League starter Derek Lowe, lifting a towering fly ball to right-center that drew Hunter and right fielder Ichiro Suzuki to the warning track. The 26-year-old Hunter waited, waited and timed his leap perfectly as he extended his glove far above the wall to come down with the ball, adding a special home run robbery to what became a long list of sensational catches in his career.
Far from being upset, Bonds grinned from ear to ear as he ran the bases in the aftermath of the catch. He also created some levity in the moment as he playfully celebrated the robbery by lifting Hunter onto his shoulder and carrying him around the outfield grass for a bit before the pair finally separated, all smiles.
4. Lawton takes it off his head -- twice
May 27 and July 15, 1997
Even when the Metrodome's roof wasn't swallowing baseballs altogether, it still had the capacity to affect just about any ball hit in the air, as the white fabric of the roof made fly balls notoriously hard to track for unlucky fielders waiting underneath. Mistakes are understandable under such conditions. That didn't make things any less inglorious -- or painful -- for Twins outfielder Matt Lawton, who took not one, but two line drives off his head when he manned the outfield during the 1997 season.
The first came on May 27 with the Mariners in town. The Twins were already down, 6-2, in the fourth when Edgar Martinez shot a sharp line drive to right field. Lawton lost the ball, took the hot shot off his cap, and the ball glanced over to center fielder Rich Becker for what was eventually scored an RBI single. Fortunately for Lawton and the Twins, that event was overshadowed by a six-run rally in the ninth inning capped by a walk-off, bases-loaded walk by Chuck Knoblauch that clinched an 11-10 victory.
But improbably, it happened again on July 15, when Ray Durham of the White Sox hit a shot to left in the sixth. Lawton came in one step too far, threw up his glove, whiffed, and again saw the ball bounce off his noggin, this time to the left-field warning track for a two-base error that brought home two runs. Thankfully for Lawton, the Twins also won this game, 8-4.
5. Metrodome roof eats Kingman's fly ball
May 4, 1984
It wasn't quite Tropicana Field with its concentric rings of catwalks, but the Metrodome impacted more than a few plays in its heyday, with high fly balls and popups sometimes hitting the speakers that hung from the roof and caroming every which way. It's one thing for, say, a ball that could have been a homer to instead end up somewhere else. That was the case in 1992 for Chili Davis, who saw a potential homer hit off a speaker and caught for an out.
But it's a completely different animal when a baseball disappears altogether -- and it didn't take too long for that to happen following the Twins' move to the Homer Dome in 1982.
The Twins hosted the A's on May 4, 1984. With Frank Viola on the mound, Oakland designated hitter Dave Kingman hit a towering pop fly that ... never came down after it disappeared into a hole in the ceiling that was part of a drainage system. The Minneapolis Star Tribune wrote that bewildered Twins first baseman Mickey Hatcher joked about spending the remainder of the game looking at the roof, hoping the ball wouldn't come down and hit him in the head. It was eventually ruled a ground-rule double, and the Twins won, 3-1.
Do-Hyoung Park covers the Twins for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @dohyoungpark and on Instagram at dohyoung.park.