In the middle of February 2020, as MLB teams were reporting to spring training, Carlos Correa came clean.
Yes, Correa said, he had been a participant in the Houston Astros cheating scandal that had exploded in late 2019, whereby players had banged on trash cans to tip off teammates to certain pitches — cheating all the way to a World Series title.
"Yes I used the trash can," Correa said. "And I'm here like a man to tell you I used it. Because my credibility right here; this is what I live for. Every time I speak I want you guys to believe me, and when I tell you, yes, I did. A lot of players used it and that's why we're going through this right now, because of what happened in 2017."
A few weeks later, COVID shut down sports. When they resumed play for a shortened 60-game regular season, there weren't any fans in the stands to remind the Astros of their cheating. And the season ended for the Twins in familiar fashion: A playoff sweep at the hands of the Astros, led by Correa.
All of that serves as a bit of back story to the weekend's biggest and most stunning local news: The Twins signed Correa to a big money deal. Even if it only ends up being for one season and $35.1 million, it was a jolt that I talked about on Monday's Daily Delivery podcast with Patrick Reusse.
I asked Reusse how he feels about having a cheater on the team, and he brushed it off quickly as "the 23rd thing" he thought about in the context of the signing.
I'm not full of outrage, but it does bother me — as it does, at least a little, for roughly half the people who voted in a Twitter poll I posted.
Correa's answer was a good one. But for some fans, he still has some work to do to escape the past.
The same goes for the Twins. The sweep at the hands of the Astros marked the 17th and 18th consecutive playoff losses for the team, a dubious North American sports record.
The (often true) perception that the Twins don't spend enough money on payroll comes in a close second to those postseason losses when it comes to raising the ire of local fans.
And now? With the money on the table and the garbage cans put away, the Twins and Correa will try to emerge from that past together and maybe win some playoff games.