The Twins Winter Caravan has been a staple of the Upper Midwest for over 60 years. This annual event sends current and former Twins players, along with broadcasters, to cities throughout Twins Territory. Unfortunately, the pandemic forced the cancellation of the last two Winter Caravans, but the Twins are back on the road this season with a much more limited schedule.
Local Twins radio affiliate KFGO sponsored the festivities in downtown Fargo at the Sanctuary Events Center. Fans were treated to highlight videos, a ballpark meal, a question-and-answer session, and autographs from the Twins contingent. Among the attendees were current Twins players Jose Miranda and Nick Gordon and third base coach Tommy Watkins. New Twins Hall of Fame outfielder and radio voice Dan Gladden was supposed to be there, but he stayed back to attend the funeral of Jake Mauer, the father of Jake, Billy, and Joe Mauer.
Miranda obviously has the added pressure of his sophomore season and the team handing him the starting third base job. However, Carlos Correa's return is going to help him to continue to improve. Miranda stressed the importance of the Puerto Rico connection between the two players and that he was a teenager when the Astros drafted Correa with the first overall pick. Miranda mentioned, "He gives me a lot of advice on how to get better, especially on how to make it through 162 games."
During the 2022 season, Miranda started the year at Triple-A, and the coaches had a clear message for him. "They told me to go have fun and play like you are seven years old."
He focused on working hard so he could finally get the call to the big-league level. It worked, and he ended up leading the Twins in RBI last season and provided one of the team's most dramatic moments.
Gordon also faced some challenges during the 2022 season. He played multiple new defensive positions but had some help along the way. "It's challenging playing all the positions, but Tommy and Buck (Byron Buxton) helped me transition to the outfield."
It was a tough transition, but he stressed the importance of continuing to work through struggles.
Family is clearly important to both players. Gordon talked about growing up in a baseball family, with his father and brother being big-league players. He said everything was a competition, from eating dinner to getting ready in the morning. Miranda discussed his father serving as his batting coach throughout his life. "I can go 3-for-4, and he will tell me about the one I missed." Both players have reached this point in their careers because of their strong connection to their families.
Miranda couldn't escape answering a question about his famous cousin, Lin Manuel Miranda. He said his favorite production from his famous cousin is the movie Encanto because his two-year-old daughter loves the film. "I have to watch it 100 times per day."
That number will likely need to decrease with the Twins' season starting in the coming months.
Anyone following the Twins last season is aware of how injuries plagued the team. When asked about their goals for the season, both players stressed that staying healthy was the number one goal. Both players want to be able to help the team win every day. They tied staying healthy to the team winning, a clear focus of the players in 2023. Miranda went on to say that they want the team to make the playoffs for the next five to ten years. It's a lofty goal, but this core has a chance to do some damage in the AL Central during the next decade.
What are you looking forward to from Miranda and Gordon in 2023? What other stories did you hear at the other Winter Caravan stops? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
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