Not many people are aware of what transpired on September 9, 2000 but the fate of two franchises were turned on that date. That what the day the Minnesota Twins acquired Lew Ford.
Before the Ford trade the Royals more than held their own against the Twins. From 1969-2000 KC went 232-222 against Minnesota, but since, have gone just 81-138. Even though Ford wouldn't make his debut until 2003 the trade paid immediate dividends. After going 5-7 against the Royals in 2000 the Twins won 13 of the 19 times they met in 2001.
On June 16, 2003 Ford faced the Royals for the first time. He replaced Torii Hunter in the 7th inning and, of course, doubled in his first at bat. He would hit a 3 run home run in the 8th inning and add a walk in the 9th. The Royals were up 8-0 when Ford entered the game but wound up needing to win the game in walk off fashion. He hit .417/.533/.750 in the four game set and was well on his way to becoming my least favorite player.
For his career, which is somehow still going (screw you Baltimore!), Ford has put up a .295/.377/.481 line against the Royals. I wasn't shocked to learn that he has more home runs against the Royals than any other team (ditto runs and RBIs). That sounded about right.
The Twins are happily chugging along in last place this year but the unholy Ford taint that remains has allowed them to go 10-5 against the Royals. If you want to blame organizational philosophy, fundamentals, players, coaches or whatever else floats your boat for Kansas City's weak play against the Twinkies, then fine, do that. I blame Lew Ford.
He is my Newman.