Twins Talk April 24 24 Apr 17

Twins Talk

Stories and Photos by Gordy Jones

A Man with Two Families

I’ve previously told you the story of Twins president Dave St. Peter, who joined the organization as an intern and rising all the way to the top.

Well, St. Peter’s not the only Twins brass who began as intern. Twins’ new executive vice president and chief baseball officer, Derek Falvey, started his career as an intern, too – but for the Cleveland Indians.

It must have been a strange feeling for him when the Indians came to town for their series with the Twins last week. Derek has told me the Indians are like family to him — but he also told me the Twins are his new family.

According to Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com, Indians manager Terry Francona, who worked with Derek in Cleveland on a day-to-day basis, said jokingly about Falvey, “Nobody liked him.”  But then said in a serious tone: “It’s hard to talk to him today because everybody wants to say hello to him, which I think speaks volumes.”

Derek is a very upbeat young guy, with a lot of baseball and management knowledge. He and Twins new GM, Thad Levine, appear to feed off each other. They are often seen walking together around the ballpark, deep in conversation. I always kid them and say: “There’s the dynamic duo.” I hope they can be superheroes and rebuild this team to championship status. At least the Twins are off to a better start this year. But as the skeptics say when they’re winning, “It’s early.” Or the optimists say as they’re losing, “It’s a long season.”

Voices of the Twins   

With Bert Blyleven’s Hall of Fame status and busy schedule, he’ll be broadcasting fewer Twins games each year. And since the Twins have Torii Hunter, LaTroy Hawkins, Michael Cuddyer, and Tom Kelly on the payroll, FSN has plenty of knowledgeable, locally popular baseball personalities to call on.

Torii worked his first game with announcer Dick Bremer on Friday, April 21st, when the Twins played the Tigers. I had anticipated a livelier performance from Torii, but it’s a long game. I guess it’s impossible to be excited through every foul ball. However, he did a fantastic job of explaining every play in depth, so that the average fan might have more understanding of why things happen as they do. He explained why a batter might change his stance, why the outfield might be shifting, and all in a soft-spoken, pleasant, easy to understand voice.  

Tom Kelly has a unique style of describing a ballgame. I love when he would refer to A.J. Pierzynski as Anthony, and a ground ball hit up the middle as a diamond cutter. He sees things happening that other people don’t notice. I remember watching a spring training minor-league game a few years back that Jake Mauer was managing. TK was there to observe. There was an opposing runner on first. Suddenly TK walked behind the bench and whispered to Jake, and I was close enough to hear, “Pitch out and throw to second.” Sure enough, the very next pitch, the runner took off and was nailed at second. I don’t know what he saw that gave him this insight.

Unfortunately, Tom probably won’t be doing too many games this season. Ever since suffering a stroke a few years back, he has to watch his activity level and get plenty of rest. The Twins have been sheltering him, and not putting many demands on their managerial treasure.

I am looking forward to LaTroy Hawkins’ debut as a Twins TV broadcaster. After knowing him many years, I know that he is well-spoken, and he can explain the game well. Everyone knew Torii would be great, just by the way he handled himself in post-game interviews. He typically showed more charisma and personality than the interviewer. LaTroy wasn’t in the limelight like Torii, but he has a great voice and speaks perfect English. I think the fans will be impressed.

Sir Purpleness

If you haven’t had your fill of Prince memorials, dance parties, and purple-illuminated buildings (have had more than enough), the Twins will extend the paisley memories into June. On June 17, the first 10,000 fans at Target Field to see the Twins play the Indians will receive a “Purple Rain” umbrella. At the 7th inning stretch, all fans with an umbrella will stand and open them, and remain standing for a special remembrance.  Twins players and staff will wear Prince-themed T-shirts during batting practice, and Prince-themed fireworks will be displayed after the game. The t-shirts will be later auctioned off to benefit Achieve Minneapolis music grants in Minneapolis Public Schools.