Monday, January 30, 2006
Like a Kid in a Candy Store
Twins Fest 2006
Good morning everyone!
See Seth's autographs here
For some Twins Thoughts, be sure to head over to Aaron Gleeman's site today. He has some thoughts as well as the links to recent Twins articles, some regarding Twins Fest.
Also, thanks to all of you who wrote me on Friday and over the weekend regarding my AL Central Hitter Projections from Friday. I am obviously a little behind after all of the travel. I will try to get to my e-mails shortly. Thanks also to Black Sox Blog for linking to it and posting his thoughts on my comments on the White Sox players.
Be sure to read John Sickels' Prospect Retro on Carlos Silva from the weekend.
JD Arney, aka The Reds Reporter, has a great Q&A with former Twins mlb.com beat writer Mark Sheldon, who is now with the Reds.
Also, be sure to stop by Stick & Ball Guy's site for his list of the Top 10 "Where were You?" moments.
Finally, I again need to thank Jonathan Mayo of mlb.com. Remember a couple of Friday's ago, he mentioned my website on his radio show? Well, he has now added my blog to his blog role on his site Around the Minors (with Mayo).
What a weekend! As I mentioned last week, I decided to take the long trek down to the Cities, to go to Twins Fest 2006. All the miles. All the hours in the car. All... Totally Worth It!! (be sure to stop back as I hope to add more pictures to this site as I get them scanned)
If you have never been to Twins Fest, I would certainly recommend making it an annual trip, if at all possible. What a wonderful event! I mean, I'm not surprised. I expected to have a great time. I mean, it's a weekend celebration of baseball and of the Twins and of their players. But as great as I figured it would be, actually being there was even better!
Today, I am going to write almost a journal of everything that I was able to do down there. So, I hope you enjoy it. If you have any questions or if you were also at the Dome for Twins Fest, please send me an e-mail or share some Comments down below.
Friday morning, I actually had to work. I had a meeting at 8:00 and had to work until 9:30. I left work and ran to the bank and did a few other errands. Went home and packed and just made sure everything was in order. So, it was actually about 10:30 before I left. I pulled into Ridgedale Mall at about 4:45. There I met my sister and we headed in to the Metrodome. We got there and parked by about 5:15. We walked to the Dome and noticed that the two gates that you could enter each had two lines that wrapped around the Dome. Needing to wait for the gates to open and for such long lines to finally get inside made me really wish I had worn more than a t-shirt and a light pull over Twins jersey. But it wasn't so bad. It is amazing to me that it was 45 degrees in late January in Minneapolis!
When we got in, we had to scope things out, find our bearings and generally just see if we could find where everything was. There were three autograph stations including the minor leaguer's near the Down by the Farm area. There was the Hall of Fame display which included Dave Winfield's Hall of Fame plaque. There were lots of baseball card and memorabilia vendors. There was the WCCO booth where their personalities spent the entire weekend interviewing Twins players, coaches and office personnel. There was just so much going on, and so many Twins fans running around.
I decided that the first thing I wanted to do was get the autographs of the Twins minor leaguers. These were free, but also, since I follow the Twins minor league affiliates so closely, these were the guys that I really wanted autographs from. See, I had brought down a number of Twins baseball cards, but left them in my car. So, I decided to walk around the vendors to find a baseball to ask them to sign. As I was walking through one of the aisles, I saw Bert Blyleven "Circle Me Bert" bobbleheads were $20. As I noticed that, I looked just a little further, and there was Mr. Blyleven, signing the bobbleheads. So, of course, I immediately turned over the $20, and got the bobblehead. But it was even more than that. I reached out and Blyleven shook my hand. He was very nice. There was just one other person in line at the time, so he spent a few minutes just chatting with me. I told him that I have contacted Rich Lederer from time to time and really enjoy all the work that Rich has done in an attempt to get Bert into the Hall. He said very complimentary things about Rich ("He is a good man.") and thanked me and others. His main point was that the numbers were going "in the right direction." So anyway, I was thrilled to get to spend even five minutes just talking to Bert Blyleven. They boxed up the bobblehead and I went back to find my sister. (it wasn't until later in the night, after leaving the Dome, that I actually read the signature. Very nice!)
When I found her near one of the Twins merchandise stores, she could see something was up. I got closer and was just going to show her the bobblehead, but I couldn't get it out of the box. She said, "OK, what's wrong? You're shaking!" So, I told her, and she went back and got a bobblehead for herself. The Blyleven bobbleheads were made a couple of years ago. All proceeds from the bobblehead go to research and care for Parkinson's Disease, Bert's father passed away because of the disease in 2004, so this is a cause that he is very active and supportive in.
OK, so, after the Blyleven excitement and retelling the tale, I remembered that I really wanted to buy a baseball to get some signatures on. So, I went and found one and bought it. We went back to the minor leaguer's autograph corner, and I got in line. Here was that group:
First in line was Boof Bonser. I shook his hand and congratulated him on another excellent season. He looked up, almost surprised that someone in line actually knew who he was. In my most recent Top 50 Prospects list, I had Bonser ranked at #17 (he had been #20 when I ranked them in June). Maybe I should have ranked him higher. Throughout the weekend, whenever I heard Ron Gardenhire or Terry Ryan in an interview asked about the 5th starter spot, they would mention Scott Baker and Francisco Liriano, but they all spoke quite highly of the 24 year old Bonser saying that he would be given a good look in Spring Training.
Next was Garrett Jones, the big, 24 year old, power-hitting 1B who spent 2005 at Rochester. He too was quite friendly, but the first thing you notice when you see him in person is just how big he really is. The man has massive forearms. After his huge 2004 season, I ranked him as the Twins 5th best prospect. In June, he ranked #14. In my list after the 2005 season, he fell down to #25. Then he was second in the Arizona Fall League with nine home runs after my list was made. Had I waited, he may have moved up some too. I think one more year at AAA and he will figure things out and be ready to contribute in the big leagues. If Justin Morneau is hurt at any time, Jones would likely be summoned to take his roster spot.
Third was Jason Pridie, the player that the Twins selected from the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in the Rule V draft in December. He is a 22 year old OF. His brother had been a player in the Twins system for quite some time.
The final person in that group was Joe Abellera. The 20 year old is a 3B from St. Louis Park, Minnesota, who has spent the past two years hitting under .180 for the GCL Twins. He was the Twins 21st round pick in 2004.
When I got to the end of the line, I saw that Twins Director of Scouting, Mike Radcliff was standing there. I went up to him and asked if I could have hit autograph too. He looked surprised, and when I handed him the baseball he said, "You do know that this will reduce the value of the ball, right?" I laughed and after he signed the ball, I asked if I could just ask him a few questions. He was hesitant, but it seemed that as I showed how much I knew about the Twins draft picks the past few years and the whole minor league system, he took more interest and was willing to share a lot of information with me. Here are just a few of the topics we covered over about ten minutes.
We started by talking about the Twins middle infielders. I mentioned that it was clear in the draft this year that they were going after middle infielders. We talked about guys like Paul Kelly ('quick bat, should develop power'), Drew Thompson ('his dad thinks that he will take after him. Now he is rail thin.')
I asked if it was likely that Kelly and Thompson would be the 2B and SS at Beloit next year, and he wisely would not give an answer. But he did comment at the 'shortstop at Elizabethton', and I cut him off and said, "Oh, Yancarlos Ortiz?" and that's when he really could tell that I was a follower of the Twins system. He said that Ortiz had a great year at E-Town with the bat, and they know he is good with the glove, so he will factor into that as well.
I asked specifically about Juan Portes, and he just smiled and said that he may be one of the better bats in the entire system, but that 1.) he's very young and 2.) they're not sure where he will be next year in terms of level or of position.
He is still very excited about Trevor Plouffe and says that he does work hard and will probably become a better fielder. He is excited about his power potential.
He talked about how power was something that was needed in the system. I brought up the name of Henry Sanchez, and he just smiled big. He looked at me and said that he is big, big, and he put out his arms (in a "soooo big") way and put them wider than me and said that he was very broad. They think that there is a chance that he could play in Beloit next year. I said that it appeared that he figured out the wood bat after just a week or two of playing in the Gulf Coast League. Radcliffe laughed and said that there is a reason for that. He played the first two weeks of pro ball without his contacts. Once they showed up, he started hitting. The team believes that he will not just hit for power, but should be a good all-around hitter. I said, "So, more Prince Fielder than Cecil Fielder?" and he thought that was a good analogy.
We talked about the incredible depth in pitching that they have acquired over the last two drafts. I first talked about Kevin Slowey and he just smiled again. He was like, "Yeah, that was a really good pick there." He compared him to Brad Radke in that he is not overpowering, but he mentioned the eight walks, the competitiveness, and the overall makeup. They think he will be very good.
I then asked about Matt Garza, and he really liked Garza. He said he really has got some good stuff, and again mentioned his competitiveness and drive.
What a fun chat! I felt like I could have just spent the whole evening talking to Mike Radcliff, but didn't want to monopolize his time. But it was very nice of him to take that time to talk to me.
My sister and I just walked around a little longer, walking up to the corridor to see the autograph lines up there. It was then time for second session of autographs. I took my baseball and went back to the minor league autograph area where there was another nice group of players signing. They were:
First in line was Jake Mauer. It was an injury-filled season for the eldest Mauer Brother in 2005 as he missed much of the season. The 27 year old was the Twins 23rd round pick in 2001 and should spend much of 2006 at New Britain with hope of moving up to Rochester.
Next was Brooklyn Center native Pat Neshek who writes and operates the best website if you're looking for a look at life in the minor leagues. He is coming off an excellent season as the closer of the New Britain Rockcats after which the Twins added him to their 40 man roster. He showed up as my #26 Twins Prospect in my postseason ranking. After getting the ball back from Mauer, I jokingly handed Neshek one of my SethSpeaks.net cards, and he said, "Hey Seth." And I said, "How did you know?" And he said, "I saw your cap." And I said, "Oh yeah, I forgot about that." Spent just a minute talking to him there as the line behind us was rather large. But it was very cool to just shake his hand and say hi in person. Plus, he has the coolest autograph! (Remember I was fortunate to have a Q&A with Pat Neshek both before the 2005 season and after he was added to the 40 man roster in November.)
Next in line was the Twins minor league player of the year David Winfree. He is still just 20 years old and had an excellent season with the bat for the Beloit Snappers where he hit .294 with 31 doubles, 16 homers and 101 RBI. He was the Twins 13th round pick in 2003 out of his high school in Virginia Beach, Virginia. After his great season, he entered my Top 50 Twins prospect list at #20.
Adam Harben was next in line. He is a very tall, very lanky righty. Like Winfree, Harben was rather quiet, but still polite. The 6-5, 22 year old was the Twins 15th round pick in 2002 out of Westark Community College. He made the transition to Ft. Myers real smoothly in 2005, posting an impressive 2.66 ERA in 135.1 innings. He struck out 119, but his lone problem to this point is control as he has walked just over four hitters per nine innings the last two years. That said, he should move up to New Britain in 2006 where he will join what should be a very impressive rotation. He was my #13 Twins prospect in June, but by the end of the year, he was my #10 Twins prospect.
Finally, Justin Arneson, the Fergus Falls native, was last in line. The 23 year old spent 2005 in Ft. Myers where he battled injuries and playing time to hit just .199 with eight extra base hits in 56 games. Arneson is just very little in comparison to the other minor leaguers. He signed as a free agent after a tryout camp in 2002.
And again after walking around some, the final autograph session began, the final session of Friday evening. Again, I got the autographs of the remaining Twins prospects. There were:
First up was Eli Tintor. You may remember that Eli participated in a Q&A for this site shortly after his Elizabethton Twins team won the championship of the Appalachian League. Still just 21 years old, the Hibbing native was the Twins 18th round pick in 2003. After two years with the GCL Twins, he moved up to Elizabethton and had a very good season in which he hit .284 with ten extra base hits in 40 games.
Next up was 22 year old Stillwater (MN) native, Glen Perkins. He looked bored, as if he didn't want to be there. The Twins second 1st round pick in 2004 out of the University of Minnesota, Perkins swiftly moved up the organization. But when he moved up to AA New Britain, he struggled for the first time. I ranked him as the Twins #14 prospect after the season. Had I waited until after the Arizona Fall League where he was arguably the best pitcher there, he would have ranked higher.
Errol Simonitsch was the third man in line. The 23 year old was the Twins 6th round pick in 2003 out of Gonzaga. He was added to the Twins 40 man roster following an excellent season. He started by going 8-3 with a 2.69 ERA in Ft. Myers. He and Perkins were both moved up to New Britain about halfway through the season. Like Perkins, Simonitsch struggled a little bit, but also showed that he was definitely up for the challenge. In June, when he was dominating the Florida State League, I had him ranked as the Twins #16 prospect. After the season, I ranked him #28, but that seems real low too for a guy who has a shot at making the Twins roster at some point in 2006.
Finally, Willie Eyre was the fourth guy at the table. I didn't rank Eyre on my Top 50 Prospects list. To be completely honest, he was probably #51. That seems so silly at this point after he went 10-3 with a 2.72 ERA for Rochester and followed that up by being the top pitcher in the Venezuelan Winter League with a 9-0 record with a sub-2.00 ERA. The 27 year old was the Twins 23rd round pick in 1999 out of the College of Eastern Utah.
As I was walking out of that section, I heard, "Hey, are you Seth?" I turned and the guy there introduced himself to me. It was Ryne Case. Now, Ryan has written several e-mails to me at different times with his thoughts on things going on with the Twins. Last week, I started up his own blog called Case in the Face. His most recent entry is about the Twins bullpen in 2006, so check it out.
Next, I went up to a tall gentleman wearing a Gonzaga sweatshirt. I just guessed, but I went up to him and said, "Any chance that you are Errol Simonitsch's dad?" Fortunately, his response was in the affirmative otherwise I don't know what I would have done next. Anyway, I spent maybe five minutes talking to him. He seemed to really be enjoying his trip and Minneapolis. Being from LA, he really liked the "small-town" feel of Minneapolis.
Anyway, at that point, the event was just about done for the night, so my sister (Heather) and I left and went to my brother's place for the evening.
Saturday morning, the start time was scheduled for 9:00. Well, I struggled to wake up, and when I finally did and got ready, we didn't get to the Dome until about 10:00, which in a way was nice because we did not have to wait at all outside. Of course, the building was just about packed that morning. People were all over the place. But that didn't stop it from being another wonderful day! The first session that we were able to get into was the 10:30 session. There was a group of guys at one of the $5 booths that I was interested in getting autographs from, so I found some of my cards and for those that I didn't have, I bought some cards or pictures of. I stood in line from about 11:10-12:15 but here were the people in the group:
First in line was Scott Baker. If you've checked out this site at all, you read his name almost every day with another strong performance. The team's 2nd round pick in 2003 made his big league debut early in the season and was called up two more times before being called up for good in late August. He was my #2 Twins prospect after the 2004 season, #2 in June, and he was my #2 prospect after the minor league season ended in September. He of course went over the 50 innings so he will no longer be a rookie. Baker was fairly quite, but again nice and said thank you. (I had him sign an 8x11 glossy picture) The 24 year old is probably the leading candidate to be the Twins 5th starter in 2006.
Dave Gassner was the second guy there. I asked how his arm was feeling and of course he said he was feeling good. He had a great 2004 season, but struggled much of the 2005 season which included a couple of injuries. The now 27 year old made his big league debut in April and recorded his first win with a great performance in Cleveland. After ranking #30 in my Twins prospect list in June, he did not make the Top 50 list after the season. He signed a 2005 Topps Update card for me.
Next up was Dan Gladden. I'm sure you remember reading about my impressions of him as a Twins ambassador from his appearance a year ago in a Twins Caravan. Gladden was again very nice to autograph seekers and talked to everyone. I had him sign a 1990 Donruss Diamond King card for me.
Then was Joe Vavra, the Twins new hitting coach. I didn't have anything of his to sign, so I borrowed Heather's A to Z book and he signed in the back of that.
And then, I had an 8x11 picture of JD Durbin. Before I even got to him, he saw the picture and said, "Wow! Isn't that a handsome man?" After realizing that he was talking about the picture of him, and not me, I relaxed. He looked at his picture for a while before signing it. He was fun! He was talkative. I asked him how his shoulder was and he said he was feeling great and looking forward to having a better year in 2006. He had the blonde, spiky hair and the ear rings, and he still signed it "JD Durbin, The Real Deal," which is good to see. Following the 2004 season, I ranked he and Baker both as the Twins #2 prospect (a and b). By June, I had dropped him to #12. And after the 2005 season, I ranked him as the #22 Twins Prospect. He is still just 23 years old. If he can get his control back, and stay healthy, I still think he can be very good!
At that time, I had mentioned to WCCO's Rita Maloney that I would be down for Twins Fest. I saw that she was scheduled to do her show live from the Dome from noon to three. So, I went over there and watched for awhile. The first group she interviewed was Rod Carew and Torii Hunter, quite the combination. I listened to her interview Joe Vavra and others. After she interviewed Ron Gardenhire there was a commercial. I went down and asked if I could say hi to Rita, and the lady there told me that she still reads my site daily and got Rita. I went up on stage and talked to her for a little bit. She walked me over and introduced me to Gardy. I reminded him that he met me ten days earlier in Warroad and he remembered. We talked about the small town and other things. Only for a couple minutes, but that was nice. Rita and I then went back to the other side of the stage and were talking when Trevor Born, aka The Twins Junkie, came on stage to say hi too. Anyway, the commercial was over and I went back up into the crowd and enjoyed her interviews with Michael Cuddyer and Justin Morneau too.
At that time, I went back over to the minor league station. I knew that Neshek was signing again and I decided to give him a SethSpeaks.net t-shirt for all his help with the Q&As and providing some great information via some e-mails and more. When I got there, his dad came up and the two of us talked for a good ten minutes. What a great guy! He introduced me to his wife and son. A few minutes later, he introduced me to Pat's girlfriend, Stephanie, who I actually recognized from her pictures on Pat's site, and Stephanie's father. They all claimed to read the site, so I better be nice! Anyway, it is clear to see that Pat has quite the backbone of support working with and pulling for him with his family.
Shortly thereafter, I went and bought a card each for Errol Simonitsch and Glen Perkins. I went back to the minor league area and got those two autographed along with an Adam Harben card that I had brought along with me.
Next, we were just going to walk around more. I knew there was only about ten minutes left before that session time was done, but when we walked by one of the $5 booths, I saw that there were just a dozen or so people waiting in line. One of the players there was Jason Kubel. I had two of his cards with me and wanted to go shake his hand. I had nothing for the other three to sign, so I asked Heather to run and find me a baseball. She quickly found me one at a nearby booth for $5, and gave that to me while I was still in line. Here is that group:
First up was Rob Bowen. The 24 year old catcher was the Twins 2nd round pick in 1999. He spent the entire 2005 season at Rochester and did well. He had a rocky 2004 season between New Britain and the Twins. The combination may have hurt his development.
Next was Chris Heintz. The 31 year old catcher was the White Sox 19th round pick in 1996. After 10 minor league seasons, the Twins decided to honor him for two solid years at Rochester with a September call up. He did well, and the Twins have kept him on their 40 man roster. It was nice to be able to shake his hand and congratulate him on the recall!
Jason Kubel was third in line. I shook his hand and asked if it was rude to ask him to sign two cards and the baseball, but he said absolutely no problem. He smiles and talked a little while doing it. When he finished, I shook his hand again and wished him well this season. All the talk is about him being ready to compete right away in spring training. He has a chance to be the Twins starting RF. Following his remarkable 2004 season, I named him as my Top Twins Prospect. Then came his knee injury in the AFL, and in June, I dropped him down to the Twins #5 prospect. After the minor league season despite not playing all season, I still rank him as the Twins #3 prospect.
Frank Quilici was the fourth person at the table. The former Twins player and manager was very nice. We talked for a bit, holding up the line a little. He had just returned from participating in a Twins Fantasy camp. He said he was really sore.
From there, we each had to use the restroom. While I was waiting, I saw David Winfree walking around. When Heather came back, we started walking and I saw Winfree by the Fox Sports North section where they had a big screen showing some Torii Hunter videos and more. I walked over and stood next to him. I finally said, "So, what do you figure... another year before you won't be able to walk around here without being mobbed?" He looked at me and smiled. We small talked and I asked him how he was able to drive in so many runs. He just kept reiterating that Deacon Burns just kept getting on, all the time. He said that if he were to guess, Burns would have accounted for probably 60 of his 101 RBI. He was very complimentary of Burns. He also talked about Landon Burt as an on-base guy. He talked positively about Jeremy Pickrell and Chris Brown and others who hit behind him too. I asked him where he was from, and that's when he said Virginia Beach. I said, "Oh, that's where Cuddyer is from." He said that they went to different high schools. I said, "Well, do you know the Upton brothers or David Wright?" He said, "Yeah, I see those guys a lot, and we have worked out together quite a bit." He said that they are all just great guys. Apparently Winfree went to that same school that the Uptons' went to, however, he transferred to a public school at some point so he ended up playing against them. It was another quick five or six minute chat. I certainly do not want to get in anyone's way, but it was fun to just say hi.
There was just one more session left in the day. It was already about four o'clock, and we were starting to get pretty tired. Eli Tintor and David Winfree were going to be signing in that last session. I had a Winfree card from a Beloit set that I bought. I really wanted to find a Tintor card. I went to a bunch of the vendors and asked and no one had them. I went to one more guy, and he had three of them. He was charging $7 a piece for them. He had to buy the whole team set for $10 plus shipping, so he wanted to make up for that by charging so much for the Tintor. I pretty much said No Thanks. But, he was willing to drop his asking price to $5, still too much, but I decided to get it. With it, I did go back to the minor league area and got each to sign both a card and the baseball. It was dying down there a little bit, so I talked to each a little bit more that time.
Terry Ryan was standing near that area, so I went up to him with the baseball and pen and got his autograph. As he signed I asked him if he was ready for Spring Training. He just said, "15 more days." He just said that it is the best time of the year; you spend the offseason trying to put together a team that you think can be successful, and in spring you start getting to see how it all falls together. I commented that I really liked the Rondell White signing, and he agreed. He said he did not understand why many people didn't like it. I said, "I assume it is because he isn't as big a name as Mike Piazza or Frank Thomas, but he can be just as good and he's younger." He said that I was probably right, but he just didn't understand any negatives with that signing. He talked about what a great guy Rondell is, and how he really had gotten to know that during this weekend. He will fit in well and be a good clubhouse guy, a leader and someone who will be a good teacher. Again, there were other people around, so I cut it short. But I did enjoy talking to Mr. Ryan for about five minutes.
Finally, I went over and just said thank you to Twins President Dave St. Peter. He has written me a couple of times with information on stadium issues or other things. I just talked to him for a few minutes, told him that I really enjoyed the Caravan visit to Warroad as well as everything about Twins Fest.
At that point, it was about 5:00, and we called it a day. We grabbed something to eat and crashed. Got up this morning with the intention of driving back home, to Warroad. I have to admit that as I was driving north on 494 and when I saw 394 East, I wanted to turn and head back in to the Dome for Day 3 of the Twins Fest. But, I would have been by myself. It would have cost me just $5 for parking. I had another complimentary ticket, so it would have just cost me what I spent inside. Really, the one thing that I really wanted was to shake Francisco Liriano's hand and have him sign a card for me. Instead, I just kept driving and went hom.
Overall, I just had a blast at Twins Fest. I think Heather did too. I read Twins Junkie's comments on Twins Fest and he doesn't like it. I understand his point, but at the same time, count me in the majority who think Twins Fest is great!
For me, the Twins Winter Caravan really got my baseball juices flowing. Going to Twins Fest took that to another level. I am ready for spring training. I am excited to discuss roster spots and Gardy's lineups and Batista and White and Liriano, Baker and Bonser, I can't wait for the regular season when it all counts and the Twins will try to unseat the World Champion White Sox.
Seeing so many current Twins was exciting. Spending a bunch of time near the minor leaguers and actually talking to a few of them was so much fun.
As for the autographs... I am not a huge fan of autographs either. For me, it is about the face-to-face interaction between myself and the player. To me, it is about having an opportunity to say "Great year last year. Thanks for coming out today to do this. Good luck in 2006." It is about shaking their hands and wishing them well. The autograph, to me, represents a story. When I see my Adam Harben autographs in three years when he is the Twins #4 starter, I will remember shaking his hand, and I will remember seeing just how tall and lanky he is. When Glen Perkins is pitching for the Twins, I'll picture him yawning at the table. When I see Jason Kubel become an All-Star, I'll remember him being willing to answer my questions as well as sign a couple of extra signatures for me. When JD Durbin gets his mechanics all figured out, I'll be cheering for him because of how fun the one minute around him was. When Eli Tintor gets called up to the Twins, I will remember talking to him and late seeing all the girls there clamoring to get their picture taken with him.
What annoys me are the people that are there for one purpose, to make a lot of money. I like that there are people there to sell baseball cards and pictures. I like it because not everyone buys cards or has every card. They provide options for the fans. However, it bothered me a lot to see the vendors with the big signs that said "BUYING." It annoys me that there were probably a lot of people there who went through and got just certain autographs on a bat or jersey or picture and went and sold it to someone who then added another 50% and charged a real fan. It is going to annoy me that today and tomorrow, we will probably see a whole bunch of signed Twins memorabilia on ebay. Me... I could never sell any of the cards or pictures I got autographed. I have a hard enough time just thinking about selling all of my old baseball cards.
No, to me, it's about the memory. The cards can remind you of a game, or a moment, or jus a name. The autograph on the card can remind you of a date and time, and an actual, personal interaction. To have that encounter, no matter how brief, is something that I, as a baseball fan, really, really enjoy and will remember.
And finally... as a blogger, sometimes I like to lump myself in as an expert, so to speak. No, I don't claim to know everything and am wrong frequently. However, I like to think that because of how much time I put into this site, I am somehow knowledgeable, and something beyond just a 'regular' Twins fan. But then there is an event like this. You see all of the Twins fans of different levels. You see the dad bringing in his kid. You see the seven year old with the wide eyes at the sight of his favorite player. You see a man in his fifties sharing stories with John Gordon or Frank Quilici. You see a man in his sixties with his five year old granddaughter. Tony Oliva walks nearby him, and the grandpa does a double take. Quickly, he tells his granddaughter, "That's Tony O!" And then, as Oliva starts walking toward him, the sixty year old man walks the opposite way, pretending not to be affected by this brief close encounter. See all of this reminds me that I am, above all else, a huge baseball fan, a huge Minnesota Twins fan. If anyone ever sees in my writing that I am acting like I am anything more than that, please e-mail me and kick my butt! I am a blogger, but I'm a fan first and foremost.
Twins Fest reminded me of that. I truly enjoyed every minute of it. Thanks to the Twins for putting on such a great event! And yes, if you ever get the chance to attend, do yourself a favor and just go.
And on that note, I wish you a great day and a wonderful week! If you were at Twins Fest, or ever have been, leave some Comments below. Otherwise, if you have any questions or comments on anything you have read above, please e-mail me.
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