Twins Talk March 31 31 Mar 17

Twins Talk

Photos and Stories by Gordy Jones

Morse is the Source

A couple of years ago, I had the opportunity to write about a key figure in the Twins’ front office who is invisible to most fans – though he goes about his business in such a positive way that it’s a shame all of the fans can’t meet him.

His name is Dustin Morse. He is the Minnesota Twins’ Director of Baseball Communications and Player Relations — a big title, for a big job. It’s a stressful position that has many deadlines and long hours. You might think Dustin would be tense or edgy – but that’s not the case. Dustin Morse is pretty cool as he coordinates interviews, writes press releases, accommodates broadcasters and beat writers with news and notes, introduces speakers at nationally televised press conferences, and many other things that arise during a season and the offseason. Almost anything you hear, read, or watch about the Twins might have originated in the office of Dustin and his crack staff. Dustin also oversees photography, the Twins’ publications, endorsement deals, interview requests, statistical information, and more.

He began his career at the National Baseball Hall of Fame, and he likes to say he began his career where most people in baseball would like to finish. He has also worked for the Rangers and the Padres, and has been with the Twins since 2006.

Dustin now has a new title to include in his already extensive resume. “I was the media liaison for Team Netherlands,” he said proudly. I asked him how this came about, and he said: “The World Baseball Classic (WBC) has always been kind of a bucket-list thing for me. I was with the San Diego Padres in 2006, and they hosted the first-ever WBC. My boss at the time did the PR work for Team Mexico. He told me about all of his experiences, and I said, ‘Someday, I would like to do that.’ All the stars kind of aligned. I’ve built some good relationships within Major League Baseball, and I have established myself here with the Twins. I asked them if they would allow me to pursue this opportunity, and they saw nothing but good coming from it. I got to expand my knowledge and understanding of the game: international play, build some relationships networking, and just working closely with Major League Baseball. As we got closer to go-time for the 2017 games, Major League Baseball did indeed ask me. We lined up the teams with what made the most sense, and the Netherlands were a team with which I aligned well. I wanted to go to Asia and see games over there, Bert Blyleven was the pitching coach, there were a few ex-Twins players on the team, and English was the common language. So it all worked out for me, and I got to experience baseball in Seoul, Korea; Tokyo, Japan; a pit stop in Arizona, where I got to see Ron Gardenhire, and we finished the championship round in Los Angeles — and we made it to the final four! That’s all I could ask for! It was a three-week journey where I got see a lot of things…I’m still trying to digest all of the take-aways.”

Dustin is a Lakeville native. He and his wife, Meghann, have a 9-year-old daughter, Madison, and a 4-year-old son, Griffin.

A couple of years ago, Dustin told me the toughest part of his job: “Pleasing everybody. I like to figure out a way to help everybody. But you’re trying to please your players, the front office, the fans, the media, and yourself. Sometimes, somebody is going to be at the wrong end of that decision.”

What is the best part of his job? “It is how important Minnesota Twins baseball is to the community, to the state, and to Twins’ Territory, and to know that you’re a part of that. You can create magic moments for people, and lasting memories — just by the shake of a hand. Our star players are looked up to in so many ways. Joe Mauer can just shake a hand, and put a smile on a young kid’s face for years. And to know you can control those situations or bring those situations to the attention of our guys — it’s pretty rewarding to see the smiles on all of the kids’ faces, and on all of the fans’!”   

I asked Dustin what it will take to make 2017 a successful year for the Twins, and he said, “It all starts with pitching. We need everybody to step up a little bit, and we believe that’s possible. We have a good defense: The younger guys, Byron Buxton, Max Kepler, and Eddie Rosario, make a good outfield that can track down some baseballs. Brian Dozier is solid up the middle, and we’re going to see what Miguel Sano can do at third base. If we get the starting pitching, we’re going to be competitive — we’ll take a step in the right direction, and I think we’re all confident that’s going to happen. It’ll be a year of experience for all of the young players. It’s a time when Ryan Pressly can emerge out of the bullpen, Brandon Kintzler’s in the backend of that bullpen — I think we’re going to go in the right direction. Winning is a lot more fun than losing, and I hope that’s the case.”

Team Netherlands had a unique travel situation. They flew out of Tokyo Friday morning, but, because of crossing the International Date Line, arrived in Arizona Thursday night. That’s another example of Dustin’s aim to please people. With the team’s hectic travel schedule and a need for rest, only he could arrange for the team to leave today and arrive yesterday.