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In the early 2000s, five baseball-lovers met in Saturday detention (sort of) and discovered that they have more in common than they thought. Driven by their love of the sport, these aficionados wanted to create a non-traditional space for the average fan. This led to the inception of Twins Daily in 2012. Over the past decade, this humble space evolved from a small group of writers and readers to a media empire. This is the origin story of how John Bonnes, Parker Hageman, Nick Nelson, Seth Stohs, and Brock Beauchamp turned their simple love of the game into Twins Daily.

Starting from the basics, all five of the founders were born and raised around Minnesota. Their childhoods played an influential role in their love of the Twins. 

 

Seth: My dad played baseball and softball, and we watched games on TV together sometimes too. Kirby Puckett debuted when I was eight and I was hooked on the Twins for life. 

Brock: I was ten years old when the Twins made a surprise run at the postseason in 1987. It suddenly became fashionable to like the Twins and I HAD to have one of the new “M” hats the team wore that year (in retrospect, I hate that M design).

Nick: My parents definitely instilled a love of the game in me. We used to frequently catch the bus on Bloomington Ave to go catch Twins games at the Metrodome. Baseball has also always been my favorite sport to play — from tee-ball through high school. 

John: Starting at about seven years old, I started listening to every Twins game on the radio, often while throwing a tennis ball against a garage door to pretend I was fielding it. 

Parker: My parents would tell me that I had some MLB sticker book as a toddler and they would trot me out as a party favor in front of their friends, and they’d quiz me on team names. Supposedly I had them down pat.

 

Each founder also dabbled in content creation and entrepreneurship throughout their teenage years. Seth wanted to own a sports card shop (although he preferred buying them to selling them), Nick created his own newspaper called “The Daily Mouse”, which he sold door to door, and Brock was always working on a new project, mostly artistic endeavors. Most commonly, each spent innumerable hours consuming Twins coverage, which was limited to mostly newspaper and radio in the 1990s. However, baseball coverage was often a footnote to football and basketball. This lack of content availability led Nick, Seth, Parker, and John to start writing and blogging in the early 2000s. 

As some of the only independent Twins’ writers, meeting one another was fate waiting to happen. 

 

Seth: John and I exchanged some e-mails when I started blogging in May 2003, I believe the first time we met in person at the state fair in maybe 2005 or 2006. We had done some two-minute Twins spots with Rita Maloney on WCCO, and we were invited to their booth at the state fair. Or was it when John let me write for the Gameday magazine and help sell them outside the Metrodome? There were a lot of Twins bloggers and we often linked to each others' sites.

Nick: I don’t remember exactly how I met these guys, other than that it happened kind of organically because we were all writing about the team. When John recruited me to write for the Gameday program, sold outside of the Metrodome, that was definitely an inflection point. It made me realize there was a more serious business concept behind this hobby. 

Parker: I think I started writing about the Twins in 2006 after my first kid was born. I had a lot of time at home and not a lot of money. I’d watch a game and chart stuff like swinging strikes and other things. At some point, I got connected with Seth and Aaron Gleeman. John’s TwinsGeek site linked to other Twins blogs, so I remember reaching out to him to have him post mine. Bonnes asked me to write an article for a GameDay program (my Mom took a copy of that article and had it framed, it felt like such a huge deal then). I know there were bloggers getting together in various capacities, but I remember pushing for us to get together to drink beer and watch games. 

John: I started writing about the Twins in 2002 and at the time, nobody else was really doing that locally. I remember the rest of us getting together kind of organically. Someone would start a Twins blog and we would reach out and keep in touch online. The outing that we decided to really work together was arranged by Parker in 2007. 

Brock: In 2005 or so, I launched the Battle Your Tail Off forum. From that forum, I met Nick Nelson and was later introduced to John, Seth, and Parker when we started talking about merging my forum into Twins Daily, which had just launched a month or two prior.

 

Although the spark was instantaneous, it took another five years and more beers to put their brands together into one. Throughout the 2000s, each individual grew their own name and following in the Twins’ sphere. During this, the idea of a collaborative effort started to float around. 

 

Parker: We had a couple of group projects including an Offseason Primer ebook and the Star Tribune’s TwinsCentric blog that we had worked together on, but we also kept our separate blogs. It was like a trial run to see if we could all function together. 

John: Seth and Nick talked about how we came together to produce some content, but that wasn’t when we decided to do the website. Between 2007 and 2011, we did produce a lot together: pdfs that we sold directly, some hard copy annual programs that we produced for Maple Street Press, and also we often copied and pasted stories from our individual blogs to a blog we had at StarTribune.com. But the site wasn’t a thought until 2011. 

Nick: We went to the Swarzak game, and wandered over to nearby Dan Kelly’s Pub for postgame drinks, where we started hashing out ideas for a collective plan to move forward. The rest, as they say, is history.

Parker: If you want to make it clean, sure, it was the Swarzak debut game at the Metrodome. We had a small group of bloggers and we went out afterward and did a blood oath to put together a daily Twins website. 

John: Fox Sports had asked us to combine our sites, but it was subscription-based site, and that made us a little uncomfortable. So I researched options. Rob Litt, who runs GopherHole.com, tutored me in running a site based purely on ad revenue. I found a software package that could do a lot of what we wanted so for about $1,300. So we sold a pdf, used all the money to buy the software, and I programmed the modifications. We tested it, set up a writing schedule for the four of us, and launched it when pitchers and catchers reported.

 

And like the Big Bang Theory, Twins Daily was born. While the first name iteration suggested was TwinsCentric, Nick (or Seth, up for debate) ultimately came up with the catchy moniker used today. 

Right away, the website took off like wildfire. Just in the first week, Twins Daily built an impressive following. In the first five weeks, there were 1,100 registered users, with nearly 500 regularly contributing through discussion threads and posts, and over half a million page views. For a small-market team with hobby writers, this was an unprecedented feat. 

Over the first year, organic growth continued, and the site was redesigned for better user experiences. 

 

Brock: A funny story… the four of them were *very* proud of the website. I hated it, heh. In fact, I was so aggravated just looking at it that I redesigned their logo without asking (I didn’t even know John, Parker, or Seth at this point), sent it to Nick, and basically said “get that da**ed ugly thing off the site and replace it with this”. Right off the bat, my first large project was redesigning the site and adding new features. 

 

As the community grew, a fan-favorite event emerged. 

 

John: The first Winter Meltdown was unofficial, where we just bought a keg at Hubert’s. That was Parker’s idea, and I think it was kind of a shared event with DiamondCentric, which was his (and Brock’s) company that made t-shirts. We were shocked 100+ people showed up, including a lot of media.

So the next year, we had it more formally, called it the first annual, and included Gleeman & The Geek. It was at Mason’s Barre, which is now The Gold Room. The first speaker was Scott Erickson, which ended up being a legendary night because he stayed and hung out with everyone for several hours. I think we had about 200 people, which packed the place. 

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Although the Winter Meltdowns and the website grew in popularity, there were ebbs and flows along the way. Not surprisingly, they often coincided with the success of the Twins. One of the highest points in viewership and engagement was after the 2019 Bomba Squad season. However, a small global pandemic put a wrench into things, and the drop was precipitous. Fans had much more important things to worry about. Ad revenue, traffic, and morale came to a screeching halt. For any business, this is detrimental. The once-flourishing community was lifeless.

However, the Twins Daily writers and founders rallied. The writers continued to produce daily content, and Seth, Nick, John, and Brock continue to find innovative ways to rally the community. From virtual interviews to TikToks, these entrepreneurs had to pivot to navigate the unknown. Regardless of how dire the situation got, they never stopped paying their writers for their contributions. Although monetization is a key challenge, providing a springboard for writers is at the forefront of the founders’ goals. 

Although the current state of baseball is dire, the Fab Five have a lot to be proud of with what they’ve built in the past ten years. When asked whether Twins Daily is what they envisioned ten years ago, it was a resounding no across the board. None of them predicted that Twins Daily would become not only a large, passionate community but also a legitimate business instead of a modest side hustle. 

To close, for any fans of the podcast How I Built This by Guy Raz, each founder was asked how much of their success can be attributed to luck and skill. They all agreed that while luck played a factor, a lot of hustle and follow through contributed to the creation of the Twins Daily that we all love so much.

Thank you for reading, and thank you John, Nick, Parker, Brock, and Seth for all that you’ve done. 

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Excellent story!  I always wondered how it all came together.  Thankfully it did because I have really enjoyed the content on this site.  I never used to follow baseball all year round until I found this site.  I also appreciate what the moderators do.  I sometimes get a little out of line myself and need a reminder to tone down.  It is nice to have a safe place to post your opinion even when many do not agree with it.  It is a very professional site and one I do read on a daily basis. Thanks so much for sharing your love of baseball with all of us!

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Man, Kelly's Pub. I haven't been there in a loooong time.

The funny thing: my first job out of college I worked in downtown Minneapolis as a consultant and spent a bit of time around some of the various technology user group / networking types of things.  At some point working around the area I met (and chatted with briefly) John Bonnes.  It wasn't until years later I listened to my first episodes of Gleeman and the Geek and thought "why do I know that laugh...?."

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Great article Rena. I cant believe its been 10 years. I remember living in Kansas City at the time, and stumbling upon Twins Daily (I dont remember how that happened), and being super excited about the fact that there was such a great online community of Twins fans, even though I was 400-some miles away. Heres to another great 10 years. 

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Twins Daily is a great community and I’m thankful to be a part of it for several years now. I kept hearing about it from John Bonnes on the Power Trip morning show. And it helped me stay connected to my home state team after I moved to Austin, TX. Now that I’m back in Minnesota, I hope to finally meet some of you at an in-person event! 

I may be frustrated by the current state of the Twins and baseball as a whole, but I couldn’t imagine leaving behind this wonderful place… All I ask is for @Brock Beauchampto wear the same jeans he’s pictured in at the next event 😁

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Let me put it like this: the Twins have disappointed over the years, many times. TwinsDaily never has. You all have done a brilliant job with this site. I feel like a smarter fan of this goofy team every time I check in and read an article or two. Bravo. Here's to many, many more great years ahead for TD. And maybe even for the Twins, too.

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Well, I can't go any further without once again speaking about how awesome this site is and what it means to a life long Twins fan. (It's also a big deal for my "silent" father for topic discussion together). Just a tremendous site guys!! And it's the first thing I look at each morning. Thank you all!

My initial "introduction" to you all was GEEK and SPEAKS, etc, and various other blog sites that I came across looking for content, especially of the milb and off-season variety. (Non-affiliated, I recall reading a lot of great content concerning the minors from a blogger who's name, I believe, was Josh.) So I "knew" everyone before TD was founded. And I enjoyed every moment of reading and information gathering I could take in! So it was a natural and welcome progression to simply follow the news and links to Twins Daily when it was founded. I think I went about a month or so of regular reading before I asked myself why I was reading and not contributing? So I created my account and joined in the discussion!

And nobody's been able to shut me up yet!  LOL

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2 hours ago, Vanimal46 said:

All I ask is for @Brock Beauchampto wear the same jeans he’s pictured in at the next event 😁

Shortly after this photo was taken, Minneapolis city council banning me from wearing those jeans within city limits due to "it not being fair to everyone else".

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1 minute ago, eric grundmeier said:

Thank you for 10 years of great content.  This is my first post after nearly 10 years as a lurker.  When I "semi-retire" in a few months, I look forward to contributing on a little bit more frequent basis.

Welcome to Twins Daily and keep the comments coming!

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Great article and great guys.  I have been on the journey with them has a lifelong Twins fan since the beginning 1961.  Only got one big dream left one more World Series Championship run.  1987 and 1991 was long time ago now, I want my grandchildren to have that experience.  Target Field deserves a World Series.  The guys deserve it too, their passion shines through their work.  All the best!

 

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Great story about the formation of TD. For me, and many others, Twins Daily has become a community of friends.  Even though I live in North Carolina, I have immediate access to all things Twins through this site. I was originally a Washington Senators fan due to my grandparents living in DC and the Charlotte minor league team (40 miles from my home)  was a Senators' farm team. We got the Charlotte Observer when I was a kid. When the Senators moved to Minnesota, I transferred my loyalty to the Twins. I am big on civility, and because of TD moderators and careful planning, TD has achieved amazing civility. So I say "Thank you" to the founders. Congratulations on an amazing first 10 years.  

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TD has been my most visited and most read site since I found it.  Love the content and especially the comments.  Love the opinions on the major league club.  Love the opinions on the minor leagues and the superb info on Twins prospects.  I am from Seths'  hometown and know his family.  Any other Perham natives following the site?  Also, do you know of any other mlb teams that have super fan sites like TD?  Well, keep up the great work.  And I'll keep reading.

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Twins Daily Contributor

Something being a little undersold here is all the extra, I won't say work, but willingness by all of these guys to help other aspiring bloggers, and that is a core tenant of what Twins Daily is and was created to be. I'm amazed by all the amazing voices that have been unearthed and grown here!

Fresh out of college in a major recession with little hope on the horizon of finding a job directly related to my degree, I had a lot of time on my hands and a passion for baseball and the Minnesota Twins. I started filling my time by starting my own blog, inspired by much of the work these guys were doing. I don't think I ever necessarily reached out to them myself, but It didn't take long for some of them to notice and start sharing some of my articles. Then Seth started asking to contribute to some of the things he had been doing for years, like ranking prospects and and seeing if I'd like to do anything for his Prospect Handbooks. They were always willing to help, promote, hang out, and just have fun and talk Twins. I can't thank them enough for that!

I don't blog nearly as much as I used to in those early days now, as the dynamic of having a "real job" has changed drastically for me compared to then, but I'm grateful to still be given the opportunity to write some of the Minor League Reports for you all. At least that will still be a thing to start the 2022 season!

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Love the story and history. I came to TD via Seth Speaks, it's been nothing but highest quality since. Attributable to the vision, hard work, and good beer that makes TD the best sports site anywhere. I hope all of you know what a great community you have built and sustained through pandemic and now lockout. Thank you to everyone who makes TD a special place to hang out.

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