Twins Talk, August 26 26 Aug 16

TWINS TALK

Story and Photos by Gordy Jones

A Grand Slam Evening!

 

The Twins Celebrity Waiter Dinner, started by Michael Cuddyer 10 years ago, was a smashing success again this year — but it is now known as the Grand Slam Dinner. And the new hosts were great! Brian and Renee Dozier were stunning. They addressed the crowd nicely, and had personal, meaningful conversations with the fans as they mingled through the crowd. They carried themselves like leaders.

The funds raised this year continue to benefit the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Twin Cities. And once again, many Twins players participated in the event, along with Fox Sports North personalities. Radio play-by-play man Cory Provus took the role of the evening’s MC.

The Capital Grille staff did a fine job of assisting the players as they delivered the four-course dinner to the guests. Every year, when the food first comes out of the kitchen, the players are focused on serving it. But soon they get sidetracked as they get involved with the fans — signing autographs, posing for photos, enjoying a glass of wine, and just sharing pleasant conversations with the guests. At this event, the players really seem to relax and enjoy their time with the fans. Many fans attend annually and have developed relationships with the players.

Trevor Plouffe and Robbie Grossman were natural while bartending at the Grand Slam. It looked as though they had done it before. Each had his own group of customers, fans who got a kick out of ordering drinks from a Minnesota Twin. Each had his own bartending “coach.” A couple of Capital Grille professional bartenders were stationed at the bar to help them with the specialty drink recipes, and to find requested liquors among hundreds of bottles.    

Cory Provus did a great job of keeping the evening interesting with his wit, and later kept the live auction moving forward as he enhanced the work of the professional auctioneer. But his best line of the night came early, as he was about to introduce the team. Earlier that day, the team suffered a bad loss while making four errors. Before he introduced the guys, he asked the crowd who had watched the game that day. Nearly every hand went up. Then he said: “And you’re going to trust these guys to serve your food? They had four errors today. How many steaks do you think they’ll drop tonight?” Everyone laughed, including the Twins who had committed the errors.  

Charity work is nothing new for the Doziers. While in college, Renee played soccer and was in a sorority, and both groups focused on visiting hospitals, holding youth camps, and learning to live a life of philanthropy. I asked Renee what other projects she’s been working on. Two years ago, she and Brian went to a Nicaragua with a missionary group to help build schools. “Last year, I went to Haiti with Ginsey Boyer (married to former Twin Blaine Boyer) and Liz Gibson (wife of Twins pitcher Kyle Gibson). It was a girls’ trip. I got to experience another country. Brian and I definitely want to travel to different countries. We love our Nicaragua family. But a lot of the missionaries we were with in Nicaragua have moved on. We’ve been thinking about going to another country where the people are in need, and joining a new organization. It’s something we are very passionate about. We love the Latin countries.” Both the Gibsons and the Doziers are dedicated to helping communities develop spiritually, economically, and educationally.

 I asked Renee what prompted her and Brian to host this event. She said, “Because of the Twins, Brian’s always been involved with events surrounding the Boys and Girls Club of the Twin Cities. Then we visited the club, and it was a great experience. I see them (Boys and Girls Clubs) all over the country, and have seen the lives that they’ve changed — it affects so many people! Brian and I have been to this event for the past four years, and we love it. We see how excited people are to be part of this, we see how generous they are, so we are very honored and excited to host it this year.”  

It was a successful and fun night, filled with laughter, positivity, good will, and generosity.  And the delicious steak and lobster dinner prepared by the Capital Grille staff, and served by the Minnesota Twins, made the evening complete.