CHICAGO (AP) — The Minnesota Twins are no stranger to unique home-run celebrations. Last season, the team introduced a fishing vest and toy fishing pole to the dugout, a nod to the state’s 10,000 lakes.

This year, it’s none other than a midwestern delicacy — the summer sausage — fueling the Twins’ eight-game winning streak.

In Thursday’s matchup against the White Sox, the Twins faced a 2-0 deficit in the bottom of the sixth inning. Then, hitting coach David Popkins brought a Cloverdale Foods tangy summer sausage into the dugout and beckoned his players to tap it before they hit.

The presence of the sausage ignited a flurry of hits, including back-to-back homers from Edouard Julien and Ryan Jeffers in the same inning. After Carlos Santana homered in the eighth, Jeffers tossed the sausage to the first baseman on his return to the dugout and the home-run celebration was born.

“It was a bad toss, I needed to get it a little higher,” Jeffers said. “So, we’ll work on our alley-oop skills.”

Since then, the sausage has been by the Twins’ side, and they have plenty of success to show for it. After sweeping the White Sox, Minnesota went to Los Angeles where they totaled 32 runs and 45 hits to win three straight against the Angels. They beat Chicago 3-2 on Monday when Max Kepler had a tiebreaking single in the ninth inning.

The sausage has been traveling with the team in a Ziploc bag shoved into a shoe. When it comes to their upcoming games in Toronto, it’s unclear whether the sausage will make it through customs — though Jeffers is confident they can find a way.

In contrast to other MLB dugout celebrations, the Twins choice is unfortunately perishable. Jeffers said they’re working on locating a fresh sausage for every series.

“It’s bringing us a lot of hits and runs, so I’m all for it,” said Twins manager Rocco Baldelli. “I’m slightly concerned that the package is going to open up. The thing hasn’t been refrigerated in many days, and there’s no doubt that when that thing opens up whoever’s touching it is in deep trouble.”

Jeffers echoed Baldelli: “He doesn’t want another epidemic. We don’t want the Minnesota Twins’ sausage to start a world-wide crisis.”

So far, it’s hard to tell whether the sausage will supersede the vest in its good luck capabilities. Jeffers said the team hasn’t learned enough about the sausage yet, and they need to get more in touch with it to see what it’s going to provide them.

“It’s the idea of the sausage. It’s the meaning behind the sausage,” he said. “We’re going to learn more about the sausage as the games go by.”

When asked if he thinks the sausage lore would distract his players from improving upon where they were a week ago, Baldelli didn’t seem concerned. He emphasized how the sausage has fueled a “winning mindset,” which is benefiting the Twins now.

“The season’s too grueling and baseball’s too hard of a sport to not have fun once in a while, right?” Jeffers said.


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