Last night the Twins 2013 Winter Caravan made a stop in Fargo. Making the trip were pitchers Glen Perkins and Scott Diamond, former batting champion Tony Oliva, President Dave St. Peter, radio play-by-play guy Cory Provus, and of course TC Bear. It had been probably 10 years since I had been to the Winter Caravan, so a few of us decided to take it in. After all, it was 6 degrees outside, and they served us a hot dog, chips, and a Coke – all for $8. Who could pass that up?
I thought I would share just a few quick observations from the event and some of the topics that they covered.
- This event is obviously designed to create excitement for the fan base leading up to spring training. Coming off nearly 200 losses over the past two season, I was surprisingly already pretty excited about 2013; but the highlight video leading into the event started off with the crack of Justin Morneau‘s bat from a walk-off homer last season. I was immediately locked in just by the sights and sounds of Twins baseball.
- The first question from the audience came from a kid wondering if the Twins were going to make the playoffs this year. You can imagine Perkins’ and Diamond’s faces as he asked the question, and Perkins took the microphone. After beating around the bush about how tough the last two seasons were, he closed by saying “Twins fans will be pleasantly surprised with the 2013 team.” Now what was he supposed to say in that situation? Obviously expectations are low heading into spring training, but when he said that I was reminded that 1990 was a rough year for the last place Twins. I’ve always believed that anything can happen in baseball and previous performances aren’t always the best predictors of the future in this game. It was good to hear the confidence in Perk’s voice in his response.
- A good friend of mine asked Diamond at the end of the night to talk about the events leading up to his ejection back in August in Texas. Diamond laughed and asked, “Can I get my lawyer up here?” He went on to explain that most of the dugout was pretty upset about Mauer getting plunked on a 3-0 pitch and that he needed to protect his “pinnacle franchise teammate”. He then described his control to be “a little wild” that night anyway, and that he wanted the pitch to Hamilton inside, but it actually did get away from him. Afterward, I found out that Diamond grew up just an hour away from where my father-in-law grew up in Ontario, so we’re pretty much brothers.
- There were two kids in front of us last night around the ages of 8-10 that literally knew more than I will ever know about the Twins. They knew statistics, hometowns, the players’ favorite meals, and what shoe size guys wear. I remember that age being a similar kid as those boys, and it put a smile on my face to know there are still kids out there who just love baseball more than TV, video games, and homework.
- I saw one of the coolest pieces of sports memorabilia getting signed by the great Tony Oliva last night. That same friend of mine – we’ll call him Steve – brought in a game-day program from the 1965 World Series for Oliva to sign. My wife asked if someone offered him $1000 for it he would sell it. He just laughed and said “Are you kidding me?!” Good stuff Steve.
My final thought from the Twins Caravan 2013 is this: Isn’t it funny how adults dress up in Twins caps, jackets, jerseys, and other attire, to eat a hot dog and listen to baseball players answer silly questions and talk about playing a kids game? I’m not mocking anyone, as I was one of those adults last night. It’s just interesting to me how men in their 20’s, 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, 60’s and beyond flock to the opportunity to have another 20-something year old man sign his name on a baseball. Don’t get me wrong, when the caravan comes to Fargo next year, I will probably spend the $8 to go again.
Follow Twins Rubes on Twitter @twinsrubes.