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Tonight Marks Bert Blyleven's Final Game as Twins Broadcaster


Seth Stohs
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While many may not have seen it, Bert Blyleven announced on Twitter that tonight will be his final game as a broadcaster with the Twins.Blyleven posted a two-part note to Twins fans saying that tonight will be his final game.

Part 1 - For 25 years I have had the privilege to be part of the Twins broadcast team. Tonight sad to say will be my last Twins broadcast. But I will continue to serve my role as a Special Assistant for future years.
Part 2 - I want to thank the Twins organization, Dave St.Peter and ESPECIALLY THE FANS for your support over the years. You are ALL “Hereby Circled”.

 

 

 

 

The 69-year old Dutchman was the Twins 3rd round draft pick in 1969 out of his California High School. The next spring, he was a 19-year-old big leaguer. He spent parts of 11 seasons in a Twins uniform and became the best pitcher in the organization's history.

 

He returned to the Twins late in the 1985 season and was a key member of the 1987 Twins World Series championship team.

 

He is a member of the Minnesota Twins Hall of Fame and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2011.

 

After spending 23 years in the big leagues, he joined the Twins broadcast team in 1996 and became one of the more popular color analysts to work alongside Dick Bremer.

 

Twins fans today seem to either really enjoy his analysis or not, but I think as Twins fans, we all wish Bert the best as he and his wife Gayle live in Florida. It's good to read that he will now "transition from the broadcast booth into a Special Assistant position within the organization."

 

According to the team's press reliever, Blyleven’s duties will "include engaging with fans and partners by making special appearances on behalf of the organization throughout the year. In addition, Blyleven will continue to serve as an on-field instructor for the Twins during Spring Training."

 

Twins President Dave St. Peter said the following in the team's press release.

“It is not often you can bring a Hall of Famer and a World Series champion into your broadcast booth, much less one who possesses that enviable combination of knowledge and charisma to keep fans hooked for more than two decades; the Twins did just that with Bert Blyleven,” said club President & CEO Dave St. Peter. “While his on-field contributions for the club are well-documented, we are truly grateful for Bert’s 25 years of introducing new Twins fans to the game through his stories, insight and analysis on our television broadcasts. He is a great ambassador for baseball, and we look forward to his continued role with the Minnesota Twins. Bert, you are hereby circled!”

 

In case you missed it, here are some highlights from Bert's final Twins broadcast:

 

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For however many years he was part of the Twins for me on TV. I think it was also my generation that was the most involves and vocal in getting him into the Hall of Fame. But it was grossly past his time to retire. I wish him nothing but luck.

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Being an out-of-towner,  I didn't hear his broadcasts.  But being an old-timer, I never tire of delighting in his return to the organization.  Anyone who was around in June of 1976 would never have believed this could happen.  

 

Write your memoirs, Bert.  Think of all you have seen and participated in!

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Let’s remember some Bert-isms.

 

Dick: “Today is national left handed day. And in honor of that, I’ve done everything today with my left hand.”

 

Bert: “...everything?”

 

 

Dick: “So did you ever run out of gas while on the mound?”

 

Bert: “Oh I always had gas. My problem is that I never ran out.”

 

 

Dick: “One of your nicknames was Dr. Hook. Was that because of your curveball!”

 

Bert: “Probably...unless they saw me in the shower.”

 

Dick: “Never have I wanted a Twins player to hit into an inning ending double play more than I do now.”

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I enjoyed Bert more as a pitcher than broadcaster, but as they've trotted out these potential successors I've grown to appreciate him more.

 

I find Morris to be genuinely unlikeable (and he tells stories that simply didn't happen).

 

I know some people really like Smalley, but I'm not one of those people. Not much personality and I rarely find him bringing much to the broadcast.

 

I like Morneau and he's got some really good insights, but he is the human equivalent of celery most of the time. Just a little more personality would be nice.

 

 

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Let’s remember some Bert-isms.

Dick: “Today is national left handed day. And in honor of that, I’ve done everything today with my left hand.”

Bert: “...everything?”


Dick: “So did you ever run out of gas while on the mound?”

Bert: “Oh I always had gas. My problem is that I never ran out.”


Dick: “One of your nicknames was Dr. Hook. Was that because of your curveball!”

Bert: “Probably...unless they saw me in the shower.”

Dick: “Never have I wanted a Twins player to hit into an inning ending double play more than I do now.”

"Oh, we're live?!?"

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Congrats to Bert. I think it's probably time? He's seemed less and less interested in doing the games in recent years, which was a shame.

 

Because when Bert was into it, he was flat-out outstanding, especially when talking about the art & science of pitching. I recall games where he would predict every pitch in a sequence and tell you why they were throwing it. he could spot flaws in a pitcher's mechanics and tell you what it meant and why. He really knows the game and it was fun to listen to him talk about it.

 

At the same time, he knew how to have fun in the booth, which was really important with some of the truly awful teams. Sure, some of the bits got a little old/hokey (California math, pitchers being the best athletes on the team, etc) at times, but the dude did a lot of games and there were a lot of them in front of bad teams.

 

I spent a lot of time with Dick 'n' Bert over the years, and I will miss having the man with the curveball that woke hitters up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat calling games. Happy retirement, to Bert "Be Home" Blyleven!

 

And fortunately for the Twins, they have some fine in-house options to swing in after: Morneau (who could use a little more animation, but it otherwise excellent) or Hawkins (who reaches a little too hard at times for the comedy, but does a nice job dissecting the game, and has a very good voice. I know he works hard, but he sounds relaxed and comfortable. that's a skill.) are my top choices. Smalley is ok. Morris is a crank. 

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You know what. I can't say Blyleven was great at his job, but he was fine. Sure part of me is biased because it's something that you're used to it. Every broadcast booth has weaknesses. The Twins have been awesome shuffling in Morneau, Hunter, et al. (Would love to get Nathan in there). I hate the White Sox, but Steve Stone and Jason Benneti are great.

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I've been a Bert fan. I like cranky commentators who take no guff from the newbies. That's why Jack Morris is so much fun. They know the game inside and out and they're old school, which means some of what they say could be presented with more finesse, but they're generous to players even as they call it the way they see it. We've been lucky to have him in the booth. The others don't hold a candle to him, but color commenting is a learning curve, so they'll get there if they take advice and put in time on their craft the way they did on the field. Best good wishes, Bert. 

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I always loved Bert's commentary, but he has sounded a bit "tired" lately, and I think his "shtick" has been getting a bit worn, sort of like Chris Berman's did after a long while.  

 

Moreover, it must be very stressful for any broadcaster these days, but especially a free-spirit and vocal-butterfly like Bert is, to constantly thread the needle of perfection to avoid offending somebody, triggering the pc police, or worse case become the target of cancellation for any such "violation".  

 

Great job Bert, and keep on TOOT'N !!!

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