Look for these Twins celebrations, inspired by Lewis

September 17th, 2023

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 and his record-breaking penchant for clutch grand slams might have been the X-factor in the offense’s vastly improved production in the second half -- but even when he’s not at the plate, his personality and desire to celebrate with and for all of his teammates have shone just as brightly in bringing the Twins together down the stretch.

Next time Lewis hits a homer, watch him round the bases for a carefully choreographed series of celebrations and secret handshakes with his teammates. Or after a clutch hit by him or one of his teammates, watch them stand on the base and turn to the dugout to celebrate.

Chances are, Lewis has a lot to do with it.

“The young guys are bringing a lot of energy to us, and that just makes us do a lot more things out there,” Jorge Polanco said.

Here’s what to look out for:

The shimmy

The main players who have celebrated with the shimmy this year are Christian Vázquez and Donovan Solano. I asked Solano in July where that came from, and he said it all started with Lewis, even though the third baseman had been on the injured list for weeks at that point.

They’ll turn to the dugout with a big smile, hold both arms forward in front of them and shimmy their hips at the dugout, where their teammates will burst out laughing.

“I said I was going to do something stupid on the bases, just to make people laugh, get them going,” Lewis said. “And I came up with the shimmy. Then, I went on the IL, but these guys kept doing it. It made me laugh. Just to have fun.”

The ‘call to the bullpen’

After Lewis hits a homer, he’ll make a phone gesture toward the bullpen as he rounds second base -- and that’s his secret handshake with bullpen catcher Anderson de la Rosa, which he refers to as the “call to the bullpen.”

That originated because de la Rosa and closer Jhoan Duranlike to call Lewis’ shots from their perches in the bullpen due to Lewis’ tendency to play hero. When Lewis heard about that, he used the “call” from a “called shot” into a play on words and turned it into the signal akin to a phone call.

“He said, 'Well, OK! Next time I hit it, I know you call them, so every home run, I'll go toward the bullpen and go like this, like I'm calling you,’” de la Rosa said.

The ‘ice in the veins’

Then, when Lewis rounds third base and makes eye contact with third-base coach Tommy Watkins, he’ll extend his right arm down toward the ground and use his left hand to point to his elbow, which is his signal for “ice in the veins.”

“Tommy and I, we were just talking about it in the clubhouse in Houston,” Lewis said. “I was like, ‘Man, we need to do something fun!’ He's like, ‘Yeah!’ So we added it to our handshake, our personal handshake. And then he's like, ‘We've got to do it on the field.’ And so we did it.”

The griddy

Last Friday, Lewis went meta with his celebration, giving a nod to the Minnesota Vikings across town by doing the griddy at second base following his first-inning RBI double off Mets starter Kodai Senga.

After the game, Lewis said he, Vázquez and Nick Gordon had been thinking ahead about what they could use as a more unique celebration into the postseason -- and he previewed it a bit early.

“Vázquez was giving me a joke about, ‘Hey, man, maybe you should griddy instead of the shimmy, because the Dodgers are shimmying. We need a playoff celebration,’” Lewis said. “I said, ‘OK. What should I do?’ He's like, ‘Gimme a griddy.’ Him and Nick and I were having fun in the cages today.”

That begs the question: Had Lewis already taught himself how to do the dance even before that suggestion arose?

“I watch a lot of [Vikings wide receiver] Justin Jefferson,” Lewis said. “That's all I can tell you.”