Chelsea Football Club had a disastrous 2015-16 season in the English Premier League. After entering the year as favorites to finish top of the league table, as they'd done the year before, Chelsea fell off the pace, finishing 10th, middle-of-the-pack.
That is, by local standards, these Londoners don't have any idea of a really bad year. On Sunday, a handful of megastars from Chelsea got an up-close view of what losing really looks like, when they checked in on our local semiprofessional Major League Baseball team, the Minnesota Twins.
Chelsea's in town this week to christen U.S. Bank Stadium with its first event of any kind: Tomorrow night, they face-off with A.C. Milan in an International Champions Cup exhibition game, a tune-up for both teams' real competition in their respective domestic leagues.
Here in this domestic league, the Twins were once the absolute bottom-dwellers, but, thanks to a recent resurgence, are now just the second-worst team in baseball. Onward to fifth-worst by September!
At least five Chelsea players attended the Twins' Sunday afternoon game with the Chicago White Sox. All of them are really, really famous, when they're not in Minneapolis. In this picture, from left, we have: Goalkeeper Thibaut Coutois, left back Cesar Azpilicueta, right wing Pedro, central midfielder Cesc Fabregas, and backup goalkeeper Asmir Begovic.
For those of you who read the previous sentence as a series of sneeze-related sound effects, rest assured Twin Cities soccer fans are kicking themselves for not sitting off the third-base line at Sunday's Twins game.
Anyway, the damndest thing happened: The Twins won, topping the White Sox 6-4 off a couple homers from Brian Dozier. That win won't do much for their regional visibility — Cleveland, Detroit, the Chicago Cubs, and St. Louis Cardinals are the Midwest's best — but has to do something good for the sale of Twins gear over in Londontown, Britain. As far as they know, the Twins are great!
Bonus footage: Thibaut Coutois, the big (6-foot-6) Belgian goalie, posted Tuesday morning that he was "visiting" the Minnesota Timberwolves. Maybe so, though there aren't any NBA players visible in this video. (Background guy in the red pants doesn't look like he's on the team.) But, Coutois did dunk, thus rounding out a thoroughly American sportsball experience for our visiting European stars.
Y'all come back real soon, y'here?