Eugene Bauer, 67, considers himself a realist. He keeps up on the news, he’s online a little too much, and enthusiastically consumes podcasts. He knows the continued rise of coronavirus cases and hospitalizations in parts of the country will make it difficult for baseball to come back, much less continue for a “full” 60-game season.
But from 6:45-6:50 pm on Thursday night, he stepped away from those intrusive thoughts and gave himself five full minutes of baseball-derived pleasure.
“I share season tickets with some old work friends,” said the Maplewood retiree. “I thought about the team letting a handful of people into Target Field to watch a game and being able to see Josh Donaldson destroy a hanging curve in person. I have a Kramarczuk’s sausage in my hand. The ball lands on the plaza. I smile a smile bigger than when my daughter divorced her second husband.
“He was a professional DJ who went by the name Nasty J, but his real name was Joshua, and he went to Moorhead State for 8 years,” he added. “I hated him.”
In those 300 blissful seconds, Bauer’s imagination ran wild.
“I’m up late. My wife (Marianne) is asleep. There are multiple west coast games on TV. Can you even imagine? Giants are playing the Rockies, Mariners are playing the A’s, and there’s a rain-delayed Cubs-Braves game in the 4th inning. I get a beer out of the fridge and open it. I’m going to fall asleep in the chair tonight.”
Before he snapped out of it to solve the final puzzle on Wheel of Fortune, Bauer allowed himself a moment of true glee.
“The day of the World Series parade is the last nice afternoon before it gets super cold. I’m wearing a light jacket and a mask that are the same powder blue as the ‘70s Twins uniforms. Everyone is keeping their distance and cheering. TC Bear throws me an autographed baseball. He removes his head and it’s A.J. Pierzynski. He swears at me, smiles, and keeps walking.
“I know it’s unlikely. But it sure would be something.”
Image license here.
- Jun 25 2020 06:49 PM
- by RandBalls Stu
Twins Daily has learned that the Minnesota Twins plan to replace the human who portrayed beloved fake bear TC with a real, live bear.
“It’s no secret that baseball’s fan base is aging, and we need to appeal to a younger crowd if we want to grow the sport,” said Twins GM Thad Levine. “The market research is clear. Millennials and Gen Y crave authenticity and a lack of artifice. Parading a grown man in a bear costume about Target Field just doesn’t land with them. We’re going to give them something real.”
Sources tell Twins Daily that the team is already auditioning bears in the Ely area to replace Greg Wilfahrt, the man who portrayed TC the last two decades.
“There was some pushback within the organization,” said a front office source with knowledge of the process. “Lots of ‘What if it eats a baby or Max Kepler’ scenarios. They’re fair points, but at the end of the day, how hard could it be? They’re just big dogs. We’ll put up a few extra nets and give them some peanut butter.”
Levine says the Twins hope that the new TC will continue to perform their predecessor’s duties.
“The home run contests in the outfield are probably just a matter of coaching the new TC up,” said the GM. “James (Rowson, Twins hitting coach) isn’t afraid of a challenge. And while there’s definitely been some static about having an enormous bear guided only by an urge to feed and mate visiting hospitals, we’ve seen how patients’ eyes light up when TC enters their room. Those service elevators are pretty big, gotta figure we can squeeze a bear and, say, Sergio Romo in there.”
This is not the first time the Twins have attempted to use an actual bear as its mascot. With Wilfahrt battling the flu, the 2009 team brought a brown bear named Patches on its offseason Twins Caravan. It later mauled 23 at a Fergus Falls steakhouse before being subdued by Kent Hrbek.
Image license here.
- Oct 18 2019 06:59 AM
- by RandBalls Stu
Depending on your perspective, they’ve done just that.
Multiple sources have confirmed to Twins Daily that the team has extended their contract with Koopmeinens Amusements & Golf Cart Repair to rent the TC Bear costume through 2023. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed, but it is expected to cover theft, fur replacement, and the climate-controlled Tuff Shed where the head is stored.
“We’re thrilled to continue partnering with the Koopmeinens team,” said Twins GM Thad Levine. The Royalton-based business, located in a haunted industrial park off Highway 10, has provided costume rental for the franchise ever since they provided the low bid for mascot services in 2004.
“My dad (Harlan Koopmeinens, the company’s founder) and I stopped at a consignment store in Wisconsin back in the ‘80s, and there was this giant bear costume,” said COO Horace Koopmeinens. “It turned out a local community college had gone belly up when the FBI discovered that all the tuition money was going to the Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, and all their old sports equipment wound up there. Pops bought the bear costume for $20, put it in our pole barn, and waited for the right opportunity. When we saw the (team’s) Craigslist ad, we asked for $25. The rest is history.”
Levine said the quality of the suit has never been in doubt.
“The barn cats used the head to birth their litters,” said Levine. “The clubbies really had to get in there with some soapy water, but it was still in surprisingly good shape. Those Rajneeshees built a sturdy mascot.”
TC Bear is now the longest-running mascot in team history, although that mark does come with an asterisk after the ill-fated “Replace TC Bear with a Real Bear” promotion on June 30, 2013, when a Kodiak brown bear in a powder blue Tom Brunansky jersey interrupted TC’s consecutive game streak and ate Clete Thomas.
- Feb 14 2019 11:16 PM
- by RandBalls Stu