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Final Leg of Twins Winter Caravan Makes Stop in Rochester
Theo Tollefson posted an article in TwinsROCHESTER – The premier Vikings Bar in the city of Rochester became a Twins Bar for the night as the Twins Winter Caravan’s final leg made a stop at Whistle Binkies on the Lake Monday night. Featured on this leg were Twins manager Rocco Baldelli, pitcher Louie Varland, hitting coach David Popkins, former Twins reliever and current Special Assistant to Baseball Operations LaTroy Hawkins, and radio play-by-play announcer Cory Provus. Popkins joined his first-ever Winter Caravan for the Twins on this leg and embraced more frigid temps than he had grown up with in San Diego. He joined the leg to spend more time with and bond with Baldelli as Popkins only joined the Twins in 2022. “We’re getting to be more comfortable here and our relationship is building to be pretty strong,” Popkins said. “The feeling-out period is over and now it's in that family period, which is where the fun stuff really happens. It's been a pleasure to get closer to him and he's an incredible person so we look forward to a pretty fun environment.” It had been 20 years for Hawkins since he had last been a part of a Twins Winter Caravan. Coming back to the Twin Cities for Twins Fest and hopping on the Caravan was just another round of trips that Hawkins has had all off-season. His latest trip before coming back to Minnesota was to Arizona for the MLB Dream Series. “It’s a three-day event over MLK weekend every year. We talk about baseball and show the kids that there are other jobs in Major League Baseball that you can get; umpiring, front office, content management, and just about anything with an organization,” Hawkins said. Another trip that Hawkins took this offseason was around his 50th birthday in December, an adventurous story he shared with the crowd at Whistle Binkies. “Through 2022, I had this notion that I wanted to go to Tanzania to climb Kilimanjaro, and I wanted to summit it on my 50th birthday. I thought that would be the coolest thing. I spent two weeks in December in a village teaching young boys and girls baseball, a sport that they had no clue even existed, and that was the highlight of my 50th birthday,” Hawkins said. Before sharing his story on climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania and teaching kids about baseball for the first time in the country. Hawkins, Popkins, and Baldelli each shared their best advice on what parents can teach their own kids in the Rochester area about the game. “It's not actually about reaching the top of the pyramid, it's about learning all those good values that go into it,” Baldelli said. “It's not all cake and easy. But being positive and really having that determination inside you that you're never going away, you're never quitting. It's hard to beat someone that never quits.” One Twins pitcher that exemplifies those qualities is Varland, who provided the crowd and his coaches with a great perspective on how he approaches his roster situation for spring training. “I'm heading down to spring training, and I'm eager to learn but also very eager to compete. It's gonna be a really competitive spring training. My job is to make it really hard on Rocco and the decisions he will have to make,” Varland said. “Honestly, that is exactly the answer that you want to hear from one of your young players,” Baldelli responded to Varland. “This guy is going out there to compete. And he worries about the things that he can worry about.” The Twins crew made not only one but two kids' nights during the event as nine-year-old Noah Struss had the opportunity to ask the first question of the night and was invited to sit next to Varland for the rest of the night. Noah’s opening question for the panel was, “What is your favorite subject in school?” Varland was the only one to answer the question, and his answer was science. Noah only got the one answer as Provus invited him up to meet Varland and get a picture with him. “That was even more meaningful to see since my dad is a huge Twins fan and brought me to TwinsFest for many years,” Leah Struss, Noah’s mom said. “Oh it was so exciting to see,” added Bryan Struss, Noah’s dad. “He did such a great job. The other kid who had their night made was eight-year-old Emma Landherr, who had a pressing question about the team mascot “Can T.C. Bear talk?” she asked. This was the first time the Landherr attended a Winter Caravan stop as her dad Adam Landherr shared, “We're big Twins fans and usually get up for two or three games a year. We watch and listen all the time these two [Emma and her older brother] are a little older we’ll get to more each year.” The Twins Winter Caravan makes its final stop in Mason City, Iowa, tonight at Music Man Square.
Blue Jays, Twins Broadcasters and Writers Remember Vin Scully
Theo Tollefson posted an article in TwinsAtteberry clip on Scully being his dad's first LA friend.mp3 Schulman Clip on Scully Grocery List (8-4-22).mp3 Late Tuesday night, America lost the greatest voice to ever sit behind a microphone and call a sporting event; Vin Scully. Mr. Scully died at the age of 94 and was the voice of the Los Angeles Dodgers from 1950-2016, totaling 67 years with the franchise. Although he will be remembered best as the voice of the Dodgers, Mr. Scully was more than a voice for Dodger Baseball. From 1975-82, Mr. Scully called NFL games for CBS in addition to tennis and golf matches aired by the network. In addition to all this, Mr. Scully was a mentor for many, whether directly or indirectly throughout their careers. Prior to the Twins, Blue Jays game at Target Field on August 4, members of both the Twins and Blue Jays broadcast crews and beat report reminisced about Mr. Scully's impact on their careers and lives. Dick Bremer, Twins TV Play-by-play “Growing up I watched as much of the games as I could. But the weekday games are in the afternoon when I was in school, right? With that announcing team, I knew Ray Scott, because back then they would take an announcer from the Dodgers and an announcer from another team. Ray Scott was doing Twins games at the time. Back then as a kid, I had no concept of the fact that this guy had been with the Dodgers going back to the Brooklyn Dodgers. As I grew through adolescence, then adulthood, and developed a career in this business. I was just so incredibly impressed with who he was, what he meant to the game, and how he went about his craft. It was my pleasure to meet him in 2005, and get the chance to express to him as so many others did, how much he's meant to the game of baseball. And for those of us who are trying to do what he did.” “We tend to forget he was a really good NFL and golf announcer. He gave the impression, and I think it was genuine, that there was no place he'd rather be than at that sporting event. That's something that hopefully, now that he's gone, those of us who have been blessed to be able to do this. And especially the younger guys who are going to be doing it now for the next few decades. They appreciate how well he did his job, but also how he did his job. And it wasn't about him. It's never about Vin Scully. It's about the players, and what’s happening to them because that's what people want to know. The irony is people I'm sure tuned in to him just to listen to him. But he never gave you that impression. He was still about what's happening to the people.” Bremer Clip on Scully's Castro bat.mp3 Dan Schulman, Blue Jays TV Play-by-play “I don't remember the first time but it was when I would have been doing ESPN Dodger games in the late 90s. Once I got to Sunday Night Baseball [calling Dodger games], Vin wasn't there because only Sunday Night Baseball was there. So this was a long time ago in the 90s. And he was just the kindest, most considerate man. I'd go up and introduce myself to him, shake his hand and ‘oh, I know who you are.’ He just had time for everybody with such a good soul and a good heart. Indisputably the greatest baseball announcer who's ever been and you could listen to him talk about anything, and it was riveting. That's a skill and a gift very few people have, but he got a double dose of it.” Schulman Clip on Scully Grocery List (8-4-22).mp3 Cory Provus, Twins Radio Play-by-play “I met Vin in 2007, my first year working the Cubs broadcast, and I remember we were out in LA and I asked Pat Hughes - he’s going to be in the hall of fame one day himself - and asked him, ‘Hey can you do me a favor? Can you introduce me to Vin?” He [Hughes] said, absolutely. And then Pat sees Vin and Vin in that beautiful voice says “Paaat”. I was right there, Pat said hello, shook his hand. Then he said ‘I want to introduce you to the new member of our team. This is Cory Provus. ‘Cory, nice to meet you. Vin Scully.” And you never forget that that's all. And this was pre iPhone, I had flip phones I couldn't take a picture of it was never one of those kinds of things. There was a sign outside the Dodgers TV booth. I don't know if it's still there. But it was when Vin was doing games. It said, 'Do Not Enter, On the Air.' It's kind of like, ah probably shouldn't go in. But inside that booth was the most welcoming warm man imaginable. So there’s this uninviting don't enter sign but that was anything but the case for the man inside. He was incredibly kind and welcoming. He was with the Dodgers TV booth, the first booth down this long hallway. I forgot what inning it was but he would do a daily nightly walk down the hallway. The radio booth for the visiting team was towards the other end of the hallway. So you would see then, I don't know if it was the fifth, sixth, or seventh inning, but he would walk down the hallway and you'd see Vin walk right by your booth and say ‘Just my nightly stroll, that's all.' He just a wonderful man and I was lucky enough to meet him just a few times. Provus Clip on Mr. Scully Personal Influence for Broadcasting.mp3 Kris Attebery, Twins Radio Studio Host “I was still doing the postgame show when the news broke. We had one segment left, Gina [producer for Twins radio] looked through the glass and kept saying what’s wrong, and I went, Vin died. And I'm like well, we gotta get through the same segment. So I was on the highlights and then I just said on air, Hey, if I don't sound enthusiastic, here's why that we just kind of off the top expository tribute for a couple of minutes. But yeah, that one hurts.” "Growing up in Montana, I didn’t have any teams but we had AM radio and signals traveled forever. So Vin was game of the week for me, so you would get Vin once a week. Later on, as I got older, you could at night in your car, you could pick up the Cardinals or the Giants and you could get the Dodgers on a good night and you could hear it on the radio. It was amazing." "He would reference a story or a book and I read that book, you know, that's what it was for me. You would come away from listening to Vin do a game and you'd want to do a deeper dive on what he was talking about. He told a story that alluded to x. I should read that when he tells someone about the Odyssey, let me get in on that. I want to read more. He always made you want to, to ask more, learn more, read more." Atteberry clip on Scully being his dad's first LA friend.mp3 Dan Hayes, Twins Beat Writer for the Athletic "Whether it's Dodger Stadium or at Petco Park occasionally you’d run into Vin Scully in the elevator. Even if it was like 30 seconds, it was gonna be the greatest part of the day because he was always beyond cheerful. You could tell he'd never had a bad day in his life, or that day was the greatest day. It flowed out of just how much he loved life and baseball, and he made you, as little stature as you had next to him, feel like a king. The personality was just so generous. It just was something he didn't have to do but he always did." Phil Miller, Twins Beat Writer for the Star Tribune "This is a year after he retired from broadcasting, so I'm kind of surprised to see him there. He was standing outside the clubhouse, hard to miss. It was early in the day, and I don't know where Molitor was, but he said he was just gonna say hi to Molitor. But I guess it's still hard. He asked if I liked working with Paul. I said, great baseball mind. I've learned more from him than anyone I've ever known. And Vin said, ‘Yes, he's got a reputation there for being a good teacher.’ "I said the best coach I ever saw was Jerry Sloan. I covered the Utah Jazz for six years and he was the coach. We stood there for 10 minutes talking about Jazz basketball and Jerry Sloan. Vin’s a great storyteller. but I got some stories about Jerry. He's [Sloan] a singular personality. very driven, very high standards. I just told Vin about all that. How simple Sloan's rules were but how people followed them and what a great teacher he was. That was it but the thing that I remember about it was that he knew Sloan, he knew something about the Jazz, and he seemed really interested about it all and asked 10 minutes of questions. I felt like I was being interviewed a little bit. And I always thought it was too bad that he was retired then because I always thought I'd turn on a Dodger game someday and hear Vin say, ‘And that reminds me about a story about Jerry Sloan.’ But I was just really impressed with how he drew information out. You know, that was the thing he did on the broadcast and shared this stuff that you never thought of, that you have never heard before." These voices from the broadcast booth and press box are only a small sample size of the larger impact Mr. Scully had on those who cover the game of baseball. Rarely are there people like Mr. Scully where their actions and impact of his hard work and kindness can be found in even the smallest of people that work to make sure baseball is played every day. Even if everyone cannot tell a story like Mr. Scully could, everyone still has a Mr. Scully story of their own to keep the legacy of America’s greatest broadcaster alive for generations to come.
Seth's Twins On Deck Podcast (Episode 6)
Seth Stohs posted an article in MinorsSeth was joined by four guests on Monday night's podcast. They were: Clark Beeker was the Twins 33rd-round pick out of Davidson in 2016. He began 2017 in Cedar Rapids where he went 11-3 with a 2.03 ERA and a 0.93 WHIP. He was the right-handed starting pitcher on the 2017 Twins Daily Minor League All Star team. Get to know more about his youth, going to Davidson for five years and his fantastic 2017. Several of Clark Beeker's Kernels wins were with the assistance of closer Hector Lujan. Lujan was the second guest on this show. We discussed several topics including his fantastic 2017 season for the Kernels. What was the key to him taking a big step last year, and what does he hope to do in 2018. Find out about his community service which was recognized with a Harmon Killebrew Award, about his Eagles' fandom, and about his passion for cooking. We were also joined by another member of the Minnesota Gophers baseball program. Senior third baseman Micah Coffey hit .340/.396/.493 (.889) with 15 doubles, two triples, four homers and 46 RBI for the Gophers. How did the Illinois native get to Minnesota. What adjustments has he made over his first three college seasons? How has his time in the Northwoods League and the Cape Cod League helped him? He discusses the Gophers difficult schedule and how excited he is to get to play an exhibition game against the Twins on February 22nd in Ft. Myers. Also, what kind of statistical/analytical information do Gophers players get? Finally, Seth was joined for 23 minutes by Twins radio voice Cory Provus. They discusses several topics, baseball and other. It was fun talking to him about working college football, college basketball and MLB baseball and how the preparations are different. We talked about the Twins, the quiet offseason, his busy schedule and so much more. It was a very fun discussion that you will enjoy thoroughly. If you have any questions for any of these guests, please feel free to leave them in the comments below. I'll ask them during the show. If you are listening during the live show, I will also ask for questions on my Twitter feed, so you can ask questions there as well. To listen to Monday night's show, click here. Either way, you'll want to listen and learn more about some Twins minor leaguers and more. Also, if you subscribe to Minnesota Sports Weekly on iTunes, you'll also be able to listen to these shows. And, from what I'm told, Thursday night's Minnesota Sports Weekly episode will contain interviews with some very quality guests. PREVIOUS EPISODES While you're eagerly anticipating tonight's show, tune in to some of the previous episodes... Episode 1: Twins (LaMonte Wade, Stephen Gonsalves, Tyler Wells), Gophers (Luke Pettersen), MLB.com's prospect guru Jonathan Mayo. Episode 2: Twins (Aaron Slegers, Alex Kirilloff, Brent Rooker, Royce Lewis), Gophers (Toby Hanson) Episode 3: Twins (Bryan Sammons, Ryley Widell, Zack Littell, Travis Blankenhorn), Gophers (Alex Boxwell) Episode 4: Twins (Zack Granite, Nelson Molina, Lewis Thorpe, Josh Rabe), and Baseball HQ prospect guru, Chris Blessing. Episode 5: Twins prospects Charlie Barnes, Alex Robles, Tyler Watson, David Banuelos.