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  1. Baseball transcends beyond the field. It speaks a language felt by players and fans alike. It brings people together, sometimes from very different walks of life. Baseball can bring fans together, in a community like Twins Daily. The players have a special bond, a Baseball Brotherhood, that no one but them will ever understand. For Patrick Mahomes and Latroy Hawkins, baseball gave them a life-long friendship. Recently, I had the privilege of sitting down with former Twins pitchers Pat Mahomes and Latroy Hawkins to talk about their thirty-year friendship. I was all set with my pen, notes, and questions, and was anxiously contemplating how I was going to ask them. However, I found that I didn't need questions at all. The conversation took a fantastic direction, and I was just a spectator listening to the story of their friendship journey. Baseball provided the catalyst. Pat Mahomes was the Twins sixth-round draft pick out of high school in 1988 and started his professional career in the Twins Rookie League at 17 years old. He came from the small town of Lindale, Texas, in the northeast part of the state. At that time, there were only maybe 2,000 people, and almost none of them were white. When he arrived in Elizabethton, Tennessee, to start his career, several teammates told Pat that all the black people lived on a hill in the Appalachian Mountains. Pat refused to go up in the mountains, he didn’t believe he needed to. He knew that he was in the minority, but he refused to let his race determine his place in society or on the baseball team. Pat was not afraid to speak his mind. He didn’t put him into a specific category or let anyone else do it either. He got an apartment in the next city over with one of the first-rounders on the team, and they drove in every day for practice and games. They split rent and gas and lived on $700 per month salaries. LaTroy Hawkins was raised in the much larger city of Gary, Indiana. However, the demographics of Gary were the same as Lindale, nearly 100% black. Hawkins was the Twins seventh-round draft pick in 1991, also out of high school. LaTroy said he wasn't 'treated' a certain way by any of the Twins players, but when he arrived at Fort Myers after the draft and for spring training in 1992, he said the culture shock was looking at people who didn't look like him. It was a whole new world because there were no white kids where he lived and went to school. Mahomes said he had been with the Twins for a few seasons when LaTroy, Jacque Jones, and Torii Hunter showed up to minor league spring training. He knew as a black player what they were about to go through, the same adjustment he went through when he came to camp. Pat took them all out to eat to help them get acquainted and feel comfortable. Maybe even just to let them know that they weren’t alone. The truth was that Pat “didn't have anyone there for him when he came to the organization”, and he wanted to be there for the next generation. They never felt like they were 'outsiders' with any group they associated with: Whites, Blacks, Dominicans, and Pat and LaTroy weren't afraid to get out of their comfort zone. The group of them together loved to talk and engage with other players from other places or countries, pushing others to communicate and engage. Eventually, with their determination to show the players it's good to get outside their comfort zone, Pat and LaTroy became the glue that sealed the groups and team together. They believe their ability to adapt and have confidence in their craft and person made them successful during their careers. Pat and LaTroy didn't spend a lot of time together on the field, a total of two-and-half seasons collectively. Both players were in big-league spring training in 1992 for the Minnesota Twins, and then Pat got called up to the Major Leagues in April. He was the only rookie pitcher that season on the 40-man.roster Pat may have left LaTroy in the minors, but not the friendship. While in the majors, Pat read scouting reports and newspapers on who was up and coming in the organization. Some baseball players pay close attention to the prospects coming up because they are playing for their careers. Pat saw LaTroy's name come up in reports all the time, and he knew he was coming soon. He wasn’t worried about his job; Pat knew they had a special connection, and he was eager to see the rookie doing so well and on the move. Mahomes was living with Scott Erickson in 1995. Erickson got traded halfway through the season, leaving Pat heartbroken. However, the trade made way for Hawkins to come up to the Major Leagues. When a player is traded, league rules required that the team cover rent and continued to do so after Erickson left. So when Pat called LaTroy to congratulate him, he knew he was pitching the next day and invited him to come to live with him (rent-free). That was the beginning of the strongest friendships brought on by baseball. Pat looked out for LaTroy. He always had his back, whether walking into the minors or starting his first game in the big leagues. The relationship isn't one-sided. It runs both ways. The two men could not be farther apart in personality. Pat attributes a lot of his 'grounding' to LaTroy. Pat was the "Wild Child," unafraid to speak his mind when he thought it was warranted. LaTroy, on the other hand, as Pat says, is "a little more professional. A solid guy." They have a good balance in their relationship. One is a little less, the other is a little more, and vice versa. It just depends on the situation. That translates on and off the field. Pat said, "LaTroy was always confident. He never looked like he didn't belong there." If either was pitching and the game was not going the way they wanted, there was no need for alarm. However, if their poise or composure looked out of the ordinary, that's when they would pick up the phone and say, "Okay. What's going on?" No pep talks. No advice. They tell each other what they see. They don't fight. Being blunt and honest keeps it that way. Sure, they may get upset at the other's observation, but that's what family does. Their bond is a lot like brothers, like family. They are each other's keepers. LaTroy confides that while he has blood siblings, there are things that Pat knows that his siblings don't. They look out for each other, and if LaTroy were to call Pat and tell him he needed him, Pat would show up, "No questions asked," LaTroy said, "even if they were going to the moon." Their relationship has poured into the next generation. Hawkins was instrumental in raising Mahomes’s first-born son, Patrick Mahomes II. Pat entrusted the care and his son's life to LaTroy, making him his Godfather. The three of us giggled as we talked about Patrick's love for ketchup that I had read in an article earlier in the week. They both confirmed that ketchup to Patrick was just as important as family and football. As they reminisce over funny memories, they recalled the time they played winter baseball together in Puerto Rico. Patrick never slept, and since Pat had to pitch the next day, LaTroy took Patrick during the wee hours of the night (or morning) to Burger King to get french fries and "hundreds of packets" of ketchup. As Patrick grew up, he got more involved in sports, and they watched him grow and develop. They traveled all over the country, watching him play football, baseball, and basketball. They knew from a young age that Patrick was 'special,' a word they don't use lightly. They knew he would be a professional athlete, but they were not expecting it to take the turn that it did. They both paused as Pat told me about his favorite LaTroy Hawkins moment. It was Patrick’s Super Bowl in 2019, and what it meant to the two of them as friends because it was almost the Super Bowl that never was. LaTroy teared up and said, "He did it." LaTroy teared up again, hearing the story. It wasn't about the win. It was the fact that collectively they impacted Patrick’s life to where he left his comfort zone and took a chance on himself and was living out the dream neither of them could have ever imagined. Patrick almost didn't play football. He had been on the baseball scouts' radar for years. He had natural talent as a baseball player, which was well known, but he had a passion for football. During his final year of high school, Patrick had agents and Major League teams calling him before the baseball draft. During the draft, sitting in the room waiting to be drafted, he leaned over and looked at his dad and said he didn't want to pursue baseball professionally; he wanted to try football. The Detroit Tigers still drafted the younger Mahomes, but only in the 37th round, knowing that he wouldn’t sign. He was headed to Texas Tech to play quarterback. Patrick wanted to take a chance on himself and play the game he loved, football, in college. Pat was worried everything he learned wouldn't translate from high school to college, to the NFL. Pat reached out to LaTroy in true family fashion, not out of concern, but confirmation this was a good choice. LaTroy was in Brazil when he got the phone call from Pat and Patrick. When LaTroy answered, Pat said, "Hey, he doesn't want to play baseball. He wants to play football," and LaTroy said, "Okay." That was it. One word, Okay. The trust that if LaTroy says, "Okay," it's going to be okay, and the rest is history. History is so abundant with these two I didn't have to ask a single question; Pat and LaTroy just told the story of their friendship. It's a story of two young players that went from watching out for each other on the field to two old(er) friends who would do anything for each other at the drop of a hat, even if it means going to the moon. View full article
  2. Recently, I had the privilege of sitting down with former Twins pitchers Pat Mahomes and Latroy Hawkins to talk about their thirty-year friendship. I was all set with my pen, notes, and questions, and was anxiously contemplating how I was going to ask them. However, I found that I didn't need questions at all. The conversation took a fantastic direction, and I was just a spectator listening to the story of their friendship journey. Baseball provided the catalyst. Pat Mahomes was the Twins sixth-round draft pick out of high school in 1988 and started his professional career in the Twins Rookie League at 17 years old. He came from the small town of Lindale, Texas, in the northeast part of the state. At that time, there were only maybe 2,000 people, and almost none of them were white. When he arrived in Elizabethton, Tennessee, to start his career, several teammates told Pat that all the black people lived on a hill in the Appalachian Mountains. Pat refused to go up in the mountains, he didn’t believe he needed to. He knew that he was in the minority, but he refused to let his race determine his place in society or on the baseball team. Pat was not afraid to speak his mind. He didn’t put him into a specific category or let anyone else do it either. He got an apartment in the next city over with one of the first-rounders on the team, and they drove in every day for practice and games. They split rent and gas and lived on $700 per month salaries. LaTroy Hawkins was raised in the much larger city of Gary, Indiana. However, the demographics of Gary were the same as Lindale, nearly 100% black. Hawkins was the Twins seventh-round draft pick in 1991, also out of high school. LaTroy said he wasn't 'treated' a certain way by any of the Twins players, but when he arrived at Fort Myers after the draft and for spring training in 1992, he said the culture shock was looking at people who didn't look like him. It was a whole new world because there were no white kids where he lived and went to school. Mahomes said he had been with the Twins for a few seasons when LaTroy, Jacque Jones, and Torii Hunter showed up to minor league spring training. He knew as a black player what they were about to go through, the same adjustment he went through when he came to camp. Pat took them all out to eat to help them get acquainted and feel comfortable. Maybe even just to let them know that they weren’t alone. The truth was that Pat “didn't have anyone there for him when he came to the organization”, and he wanted to be there for the next generation. They never felt like they were 'outsiders' with any group they associated with: Whites, Blacks, Dominicans, and Pat and LaTroy weren't afraid to get out of their comfort zone. The group of them together loved to talk and engage with other players from other places or countries, pushing others to communicate and engage. Eventually, with their determination to show the players it's good to get outside their comfort zone, Pat and LaTroy became the glue that sealed the groups and team together. They believe their ability to adapt and have confidence in their craft and person made them successful during their careers. Pat and LaTroy didn't spend a lot of time together on the field, a total of two-and-half seasons collectively. Both players were in big-league spring training in 1992 for the Minnesota Twins, and then Pat got called up to the Major Leagues in April. He was the only rookie pitcher that season on the 40-man.roster Pat may have left LaTroy in the minors, but not the friendship. While in the majors, Pat read scouting reports and newspapers on who was up and coming in the organization. Some baseball players pay close attention to the prospects coming up because they are playing for their careers. Pat saw LaTroy's name come up in reports all the time, and he knew he was coming soon. He wasn’t worried about his job; Pat knew they had a special connection, and he was eager to see the rookie doing so well and on the move. Mahomes was living with Scott Erickson in 1995. Erickson got traded halfway through the season, leaving Pat heartbroken. However, the trade made way for Hawkins to come up to the Major Leagues. When a player is traded, league rules required that the team cover rent and continued to do so after Erickson left. So when Pat called LaTroy to congratulate him, he knew he was pitching the next day and invited him to come to live with him (rent-free). That was the beginning of the strongest friendships brought on by baseball. Pat looked out for LaTroy. He always had his back, whether walking into the minors or starting his first game in the big leagues. The relationship isn't one-sided. It runs both ways. The two men could not be farther apart in personality. Pat attributes a lot of his 'grounding' to LaTroy. Pat was the "Wild Child," unafraid to speak his mind when he thought it was warranted. LaTroy, on the other hand, as Pat says, is "a little more professional. A solid guy." They have a good balance in their relationship. One is a little less, the other is a little more, and vice versa. It just depends on the situation. That translates on and off the field. Pat said, "LaTroy was always confident. He never looked like he didn't belong there." If either was pitching and the game was not going the way they wanted, there was no need for alarm. However, if their poise or composure looked out of the ordinary, that's when they would pick up the phone and say, "Okay. What's going on?" No pep talks. No advice. They tell each other what they see. They don't fight. Being blunt and honest keeps it that way. Sure, they may get upset at the other's observation, but that's what family does. Their bond is a lot like brothers, like family. They are each other's keepers. LaTroy confides that while he has blood siblings, there are things that Pat knows that his siblings don't. They look out for each other, and if LaTroy were to call Pat and tell him he needed him, Pat would show up, "No questions asked," LaTroy said, "even if they were going to the moon." Their relationship has poured into the next generation. Hawkins was instrumental in raising Mahomes’s first-born son, Patrick Mahomes II. Pat entrusted the care and his son's life to LaTroy, making him his Godfather. The three of us giggled as we talked about Patrick's love for ketchup that I had read in an article earlier in the week. They both confirmed that ketchup to Patrick was just as important as family and football. As they reminisce over funny memories, they recalled the time they played winter baseball together in Puerto Rico. Patrick never slept, and since Pat had to pitch the next day, LaTroy took Patrick during the wee hours of the night (or morning) to Burger King to get french fries and "hundreds of packets" of ketchup. As Patrick grew up, he got more involved in sports, and they watched him grow and develop. They traveled all over the country, watching him play football, baseball, and basketball. They knew from a young age that Patrick was 'special,' a word they don't use lightly. They knew he would be a professional athlete, but they were not expecting it to take the turn that it did. They both paused as Pat told me about his favorite LaTroy Hawkins moment. It was Patrick’s Super Bowl in 2019, and what it meant to the two of them as friends because it was almost the Super Bowl that never was. LaTroy teared up and said, "He did it." LaTroy teared up again, hearing the story. It wasn't about the win. It was the fact that collectively they impacted Patrick’s life to where he left his comfort zone and took a chance on himself and was living out the dream neither of them could have ever imagined. Patrick almost didn't play football. He had been on the baseball scouts' radar for years. He had natural talent as a baseball player, which was well known, but he had a passion for football. During his final year of high school, Patrick had agents and Major League teams calling him before the baseball draft. During the draft, sitting in the room waiting to be drafted, he leaned over and looked at his dad and said he didn't want to pursue baseball professionally; he wanted to try football. The Detroit Tigers still drafted the younger Mahomes, but only in the 37th round, knowing that he wouldn’t sign. He was headed to Texas Tech to play quarterback. Patrick wanted to take a chance on himself and play the game he loved, football, in college. Pat was worried everything he learned wouldn't translate from high school to college, to the NFL. Pat reached out to LaTroy in true family fashion, not out of concern, but confirmation this was a good choice. LaTroy was in Brazil when he got the phone call from Pat and Patrick. When LaTroy answered, Pat said, "Hey, he doesn't want to play baseball. He wants to play football," and LaTroy said, "Okay." That was it. One word, Okay. The trust that if LaTroy says, "Okay," it's going to be okay, and the rest is history. History is so abundant with these two I didn't have to ask a single question; Pat and LaTroy just told the story of their friendship. It's a story of two young players that went from watching out for each other on the field to two old(er) friends who would do anything for each other at the drop of a hat, even if it means going to the moon.
  3. 6th Round: Pat Neshek (10.7 Career WAR, 3.0 Twins WAR) Neshek has gone on to have a 13-year big league career as he appeared in 20 games last season for the Phillies. He’s been selected to four All-Star teams, but they have all come after he turned 33-years old. His time in Minnesota (129 2/3 innings) saw him compile a 3.05 ERA with a 1.01 WHIP and a 151 to 45 strikeout to walk ratio. 7th Round: Latroy Hawkins (18.0 Career WAR, 8.1 Twins WAR) Hawkins pitched nine seasons in a Twins uniform, but the more amazing feat might be the fact he pitched in the big leagues until his age-42 season. Minnesota used him as a starting pitcher through the 1999 season, but he led the league in earned runs that year and would transition to the bullpen for the rest of his career. Because most of his Twins tenure was as a starter, his 5.05 ERA 1.523 WHIP are high. However, no one pitches 21 years in the big leagues without providing some value. 8th Round: Brad Radke (45.4 Career/Twins WAR), Brian Dozier (23.6 Career WAR, 22.7 Twins WAR) Radke and Dozier are a strong duo to pull out of the draft’s same round. Since the Twins moved to Minnesota, only five players have compiled more WAR in a Twins uniform and four of them are in the Hall of Fame (Carew, Killebrew, Puckett and Blyleven) and the fifth, Mauer, likely could be there someday. Dozier was a late bloomer as he didn’t debut with the Twins until age-25 and he was a first-time All-Star at age-28. His last three full seasons in Minnesota he hit .258/.335/.496 while averaging 35 home runs per season. 9th Round: Mitch Garver (5.1 Career/Twins WAR) Like Dozier, Garver was a bit of a late bloomer, but he’s revamped his offensive and defensive approach since leaving college. He has 218 games played at the big-league level and last season he was masterful at the plate with a .995 OPS and 31 home runs while only appearing in 93 games. Many fans were looking forward to what he was going to be able to do for an encore performance during the 2020 campaign. 10th Round: Steve Braun (17.4 Career WAR, 15.0 Twins WAR), Jeff Reboulet (10.0 Career WAR, 5.8 Twins WAR) For younger fans, Braun might be a name that is a little less familiar. He played the bulk of his career during the 1970s and early 1980s when the Twins were between their strong 1960’s teams and their future World Series squads. In over 750 Twins games, he hit .284/.376/.381 while playing all over the infield. Reboulet joined the Twins in 1992 as a 28-year old that spent six seasons working his way through the minors. He posted a .335 OPS and played decent enough defense at shortstop and third base to help his value. 11th Round: Taylor Rogers (6.4 Career/Twins WAR) As the team hurdled toward 100-wins last season, Rogers anchored a bullpen that saw some trepidatious moments through the middle of the season. Over the last two seasons (137 1/3 innings), he has posted a 2.62 ERA and a 0.98 WHIP with a 165 to 27 strikeout to walk ratio. That includes a season where the baseball was flying out of the park at a record pace. Other Late Round Picks: Kent Hrbek (17th Round: 38.4 WAR), Eddie Guardado (21st Round: 13.3 WAR), Corey Koskie (26th Round: 24.6 WAR), Matt Lawton (13th Round: 15.0 WAR) Some important figures in Twins history fell even deeper than the 12th round of the draft. Hrbek has his number retired by his hometown team and he was a vital part of the two World Series runs. Guardado and Koskie both played pivotal roles on the Twins as the team rebuilt itself in the 2000s. Lawton played on some bad Twins teams in the late 1990’s but he was one of the best players on those squads. Who gets your vote for the best late round pick in Twins history? Leave a COMMENT and join the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  4. The 2000s Twins were again quite successful, winning six AL Central division titles. As has been the case in other decades, it was largely due to the hitters. But there were some really strong pitching performances as well from some very recognizable names.While the player names from the 1960s have a certain lore about them, the pitchers from the decade of 2000 were really good too. The staff was led by Brad Radke, a Twins Hall of Famer who was part of the Twins 1990s staff. Johan Santana came to the organization and immediately was good. Very soon after, he became the best pitcher in baseball for a dozen years. In addition, the bullpen you will see is very strong, led by a couple of Twins Hall of Famers. What you will see if a lot of strike throwers... which won't surprise you at all. So today, enjoy looking back at the top Twins pitchers from the first decade of the 21st century. SP - Johan Santana (2000-2007) 251 games, 175 starts, 93-44 with 1 save and a 3.22 ERA in 1,308 2/3 innings. 1,381 K. 364 BB. Santana was the left unprotected by the Houston Astros in the December 1999 Rule 5 draft. The Twins had arranged a trade with the Marlins to acquire Santana. They kept him around, working primarily out of the bullpen in 2000. He posted a 2.99 ERA in 108 1/3 innings in 2002. He went 12-3 with a 3.07 ERA in 158 1/3 innings in 2003. He increased his workload and made 18 starts. Finally in 2004 he became a full-time starter. He responded by going 20-6 with a 2.61 ERA and won his first Cy Young Award. He finished third in 2005 despite going 16-7 with a 2.87 ERA. He won his second Cy Young Award in 2006 when he went 19-6 with a 2.77 ERA. He led the league in ERA in 2004 and 2006. He led the league in WHIP, FIP, strikeouts and K/9 each year between 2004 and 2006. He won another 15 games in 2007. He received Cy Young votes each season between 2003 and 2007. He was traded to the Mets before the 2008 season. SP - Brad Radke (2000-2006) 214 games, 214 starts, 82-71 with 0 saves and a 4.16 ERA in 1,366 innings. 803 K. 206 BB. The Twins eighth-round pick in 1991, he was the Twins top pitcher of the previous decade and still was a top starter in this century’s first decade. He fought some shoulder issues, but in five of his seven seasons this decade, he worked at least 200 innings. Even with his shoulder tendons barely hanging on in 2006, he pitched 162 innings. Blessed with impeccable control, Radke was consistent. In all but his injured seasons, he posted better-than-average ERA. SP - Scott Baker (2005-2009) 111 games, 109 starts, 43-33 with 0 saves and a 4.27 ERA in 653 innings. 499 K. 149 BB. Baker was the Twins second-round draft pick in 2003 out of Oklahoma State. He moved quickly and made his debut in May of 2005. He was a slightly better than average pitcher for the Twins through his seven seasons with the team. He went 11-4 with a 3.45 ERA in 172 1/3 innings in 2008. In 2009, he worked a career-high 200 innings and was 15-9 with a 4.37 ERA. After missing the 2012 season due to Tommy John surgery, he pitched for the Cubs, Rangers and Dodgers over the next three seasons. SP - Carlos Silva (2004-2007) 129 games, 124 starts, 47-45 with 0 saves and a 4.42 ERA in 773 2/3 innings. 306 K. 112 BB. In 2001 and 2002, Silva pitched in 130 games out of the bullpen for the Phillies. After that season, he was part of the trade that sent Eric Milton to Philadelphia. The Twins moved him into their starting rotation. He went 14-8 with a 4.21 ERA over 33 starts and a career-high 203 innings in 2004. In 2005, he went 9-8 in 27 starts, with a 3.44 ERA. As impressive, he had the same number of walks as Wins that season, over 188 1/3 innings. He struggled in 2006, but in 2007, he went 13-14 with a solid 4.19 ERA in 202 innings. Over his four seasons with the Twins, he struck out just 3.6 batters per nine innings. He survived by working fast, getting a lot of sink and throwing a ton of strikes. He left after the 2007 season for a four-year, $48 million deal with the Mariners. SP - Eric Milton (2000-2003) 100 games, 99 starts, 42-26 with 0 saves and a 4.60 ERA in 608 2/3 innings. 445 K. 136 BB. Milton came to the Twins from the Yankees before the 1998 season in the Chuck Knoblauch trade. He had been a first-round pick by the pinstripers. He debuted in 1998. In 2000, he won 13 games. In 2001, he made the All-Star team and won 15 games with a 4.32 ERA in 220 innings. He won 13 more games in 2002. He missed most of the 2003 season with injury but returned late in the season for three starts. It was enough to impress the Phillies who acquired him after that season. RP - Joe Nathan (2004-2009) 412 games, 0 starts, 22-12 with 246 saves and a 1.87 ERA in 418 2/3 innings. 518 K. 120 BB. Nathan came up with the Giants in 1999 and remained with them through the 2003 season. That final season, he was a very good set-up man. That offseason, the Twins acquired Nathan and two other pitchers in exchange for AJ Pierzynski. Nathan wasn’t handed the closer job, but he quickly earned it and he absolutely took off. That first year, he posted a 1.62 ERA and 44 saves. Over his first six seasons with the Twins, he posted an ERA over 2.10 just once (2.70). He had at least 36 saves each season and a career-high 47 saves in 2009. He never had a WHIP over 1.02. He pitched in four All-Star Games. The Twins all-time saves leader became a Twins Hall of Famer. RP - LaTroy Hawkins (2000-2003) 267 games, 0 starts, 18-13 with 44 saves and a 3.09 ERA in 296 2/3 innings. 233 K. 101 BB. Hawkins was the Twins seventh-round pick in 1991. He debuted with the Twins in 1995. He was tried as a starting pitcher through the 1999 season. He moved to the bullpen in 2000. He recorded 42 saves between 2000 and 2001 but he struggled in that role. When Eddie Guardado took over as the team’s closer, Hawk moved into the set up role and became a force. He went 6-0 with a 2.13 ERA in 80 1/3 innings in 2002. In 2003, he went 9-3 with a 1.86 ERA in 77 1/3 innings. He had struggled with control to that point, but he walked just 15 batters each season. He left after the season as a free agent… and then he kept pitching through the 2015 season. Pitching very well. RP - Eddie Guardado (2000-2003) 280 games, 0 starts, 19-14 with 107 saves and a 3.42 ERA in 268 1/3 innings. 254 K. 82 BB. Guardado was the Twins 21st-round pick in 1990 and was in the big leagues by 1993. By 1996, he earned the moniker “Everyday Eddie” because the southpaw was used so much. By the turn of the century, he had become very reliable. He saw his ERA drop from near-5, to mid-4s, to high-3s. Between 2000 and 2001, he won 14 games. By the end of the 2001 season, he took over the closer role. In 2002, he went 1-3 with a 2.93 ERA. He led the league with 45 saves and pitched in his first All-Star Game. He returned to the mid-summer classic in 2003. That season, he went 3-5 with a 2.89 ERA and 41 saves. After the season, he left for the Mariners via free agency. He returned to the Twins in September of 2008 and pitched in nine games. RP - Matt Guerrier (2004-2009) 319 games, 3 starts, 14-18 with 4 saves and a 3.41 ERA in 401 innings. 268 K. 125 BB. Following the 2003 season, the Twins claimed Guerrier after he had been DFAd by the White Sox. He pitched in nine games for the Twins in 2004, but he then became a mainstay in the Twins bullpen, eventually moving in to a high-leverage role. He led the AL in appearances in both 2008 and 2009. In 2009, he went 5-1 with a 2.36 ERA, which was 86% better than league average. He posted an ERA well above league average in four of his five full seasons with the Twins in the decade. He left via free agency after the 2010 season. Spent two years there, then one with the Cubs before returning to the Twins for about a half season in 2014. RP - Juan Rincon (2001-2008) 386 games, 3 starts, 30-26 with 3 saves and a 3.69 ERA in 441 innings. 412 K. 182 BB. Rincon signed with the Twins in 1996 out of Venezuela. He made his debut in 2001 and spent most of the next eight seasons in a Twins uniform. He became a regular in 2003, but 2004 was likely his best season. He went 11-6 with a 2.63 ERA. In 82 innings, he struck out 106 batters. The following year, he posted a 2.45 ERA with more than a strikeout per inning. In 2006, he was 3-1 with a 2.91 ERA in 74 games. He wasn’t the same pitcher after his PED suspension in 2007 and was let go midway through the 2008 season. He continued to pitch into the 2010 season. What are your thoughts? Agree with the choices? Previous Installments Twins All-Decade Team, the '60s (The Hitters) Twins All-Decade Team, the '60s (The Pitchers) Episode 15: Get t o Know the 1960s Twins (with Dave Mona) Twins All-Decade Team, the '70s (The Hitters) Twins All-Decade Team, the '70s (The Pitchers) Episode 16: Get to Know the 1970s Twins (with Patrick Reusse) Twins All-Decade Team: the '80s (The Hitters) Twins All-Decade Team: the '80s (The Pitchers) Episode 17: Get to know the 1980s Twins (with Howard Sinker) Twins All-Decade Team: the '90s (The Hitters) Twins All-Decade Team: the '90s (The Pitchers) Twins All-Decade Team: the '00s (The Hitters) Twins All-Decade Team: the '00s (The Pitchers) Click here to view the article
  5. While the player names from the 1960s have a certain lore about them, the pitchers from the decade of 2000 were really good too. The staff was led by Brad Radke, a Twins Hall of Famer who was part of the Twins 1990s staff. Johan Santana came to the organization and immediately was good. Very soon after, he became the best pitcher in baseball for a dozen years. In addition, the bullpen you will see is very strong, led by a couple of Twins Hall of Famers. What you will see if a lot of strike throwers... which won't surprise you at all. So today, enjoy looking back at the top Twins pitchers from the first decade of the 21st century. SP - Johan Santana (2000-2007) 251 games, 175 starts, 93-44 with 1 save and a 3.22 ERA in 1,308 2/3 innings. 1,381 K. 364 BB. Santana was the left unprotected by the Houston Astros in the December 1999 Rule 5 draft. The Twins had arranged a trade with the Marlins to acquire Santana. They kept him around, working primarily out of the bullpen in 2000. He posted a 2.99 ERA in 108 1/3 innings in 2002. He went 12-3 with a 3.07 ERA in 158 1/3 innings in 2003. He increased his workload and made 18 starts. Finally in 2004 he became a full-time starter. He responded by going 20-6 with a 2.61 ERA and won his first Cy Young Award. He finished third in 2005 despite going 16-7 with a 2.87 ERA. He won his second Cy Young Award in 2006 when he went 19-6 with a 2.77 ERA. He led the league in ERA in 2004 and 2006. He led the league in WHIP, FIP, strikeouts and K/9 each year between 2004 and 2006. He won another 15 games in 2007. He received Cy Young votes each season between 2003 and 2007. He was traded to the Mets before the 2008 season. SP - Brad Radke (2000-2006) 214 games, 214 starts, 82-71 with 0 saves and a 4.16 ERA in 1,366 innings. 803 K. 206 BB. The Twins eighth-round pick in 1991, he was the Twins top pitcher of the previous decade and still was a top starter in this century’s first decade. He fought some shoulder issues, but in five of his seven seasons this decade, he worked at least 200 innings. Even with his shoulder tendons barely hanging on in 2006, he pitched 162 innings. Blessed with impeccable control, Radke was consistent. In all but his injured seasons, he posted better-than-average ERA. SP - Scott Baker (2005-2009) 111 games, 109 starts, 43-33 with 0 saves and a 4.27 ERA in 653 innings. 499 K. 149 BB. Baker was the Twins second-round draft pick in 2003 out of Oklahoma State. He moved quickly and made his debut in May of 2005. He was a slightly better than average pitcher for the Twins through his seven seasons with the team. He went 11-4 with a 3.45 ERA in 172 1/3 innings in 2008. In 2009, he worked a career-high 200 innings and was 15-9 with a 4.37 ERA. After missing the 2012 season due to Tommy John surgery, he pitched for the Cubs, Rangers and Dodgers over the next three seasons. SP - Carlos Silva (2004-2007) 129 games, 124 starts, 47-45 with 0 saves and a 4.42 ERA in 773 2/3 innings. 306 K. 112 BB. In 2001 and 2002, Silva pitched in 130 games out of the bullpen for the Phillies. After that season, he was part of the trade that sent Eric Milton to Philadelphia. The Twins moved him into their starting rotation. He went 14-8 with a 4.21 ERA over 33 starts and a career-high 203 innings in 2004. In 2005, he went 9-8 in 27 starts, with a 3.44 ERA. As impressive, he had the same number of walks as Wins that season, over 188 1/3 innings. He struggled in 2006, but in 2007, he went 13-14 with a solid 4.19 ERA in 202 innings. Over his four seasons with the Twins, he struck out just 3.6 batters per nine innings. He survived by working fast, getting a lot of sink and throwing a ton of strikes. He left after the 2007 season for a four-year, $48 million deal with the Mariners. SP - Eric Milton (2000-2003) 100 games, 99 starts, 42-26 with 0 saves and a 4.60 ERA in 608 2/3 innings. 445 K. 136 BB. Milton came to the Twins from the Yankees before the 1998 season in the Chuck Knoblauch trade. He had been a first-round pick by the pinstripers. He debuted in 1998. In 2000, he won 13 games. In 2001, he made the All-Star team and won 15 games with a 4.32 ERA in 220 innings. He won 13 more games in 2002. He missed most of the 2003 season with injury but returned late in the season for three starts. It was enough to impress the Phillies who acquired him after that season. RP - Joe Nathan (2004-2009) 412 games, 0 starts, 22-12 with 246 saves and a 1.87 ERA in 418 2/3 innings. 518 K. 120 BB. Nathan came up with the Giants in 1999 and remained with them through the 2003 season. That final season, he was a very good set-up man. That offseason, the Twins acquired Nathan and two other pitchers in exchange for AJ Pierzynski. Nathan wasn’t handed the closer job, but he quickly earned it and he absolutely took off. That first year, he posted a 1.62 ERA and 44 saves. Over his first six seasons with the Twins, he posted an ERA over 2.10 just once (2.70). He had at least 36 saves each season and a career-high 47 saves in 2009. He never had a WHIP over 1.02. He pitched in four All-Star Games. The Twins all-time saves leader became a Twins Hall of Famer. RP - LaTroy Hawkins (2000-2003) 267 games, 0 starts, 18-13 with 44 saves and a 3.09 ERA in 296 2/3 innings. 233 K. 101 BB. Hawkins was the Twins seventh-round pick in 1991. He debuted with the Twins in 1995. He was tried as a starting pitcher through the 1999 season. He moved to the bullpen in 2000. He recorded 42 saves between 2000 and 2001 but he struggled in that role. When Eddie Guardado took over as the team’s closer, Hawk moved into the set up role and became a force. He went 6-0 with a 2.13 ERA in 80 1/3 innings in 2002. In 2003, he went 9-3 with a 1.86 ERA in 77 1/3 innings. He had struggled with control to that point, but he walked just 15 batters each season. He left after the season as a free agent… and then he kept pitching through the 2015 season. Pitching very well. RP - Eddie Guardado (2000-2003) 280 games, 0 starts, 19-14 with 107 saves and a 3.42 ERA in 268 1/3 innings. 254 K. 82 BB. Guardado was the Twins 21st-round pick in 1990 and was in the big leagues by 1993. By 1996, he earned the moniker “Everyday Eddie” because the southpaw was used so much. By the turn of the century, he had become very reliable. He saw his ERA drop from near-5, to mid-4s, to high-3s. Between 2000 and 2001, he won 14 games. By the end of the 2001 season, he took over the closer role. In 2002, he went 1-3 with a 2.93 ERA. He led the league with 45 saves and pitched in his first All-Star Game. He returned to the mid-summer classic in 2003. That season, he went 3-5 with a 2.89 ERA and 41 saves. After the season, he left for the Mariners via free agency. He returned to the Twins in September of 2008 and pitched in nine games. RP - Matt Guerrier (2004-2009) 319 games, 3 starts, 14-18 with 4 saves and a 3.41 ERA in 401 innings. 268 K. 125 BB. Following the 2003 season, the Twins claimed Guerrier after he had been DFAd by the White Sox. He pitched in nine games for the Twins in 2004, but he then became a mainstay in the Twins bullpen, eventually moving in to a high-leverage role. He led the AL in appearances in both 2008 and 2009. In 2009, he went 5-1 with a 2.36 ERA, which was 86% better than league average. He posted an ERA well above league average in four of his five full seasons with the Twins in the decade. He left via free agency after the 2010 season. Spent two years there, then one with the Cubs before returning to the Twins for about a half season in 2014. RP - Juan Rincon (2001-2008) 386 games, 3 starts, 30-26 with 3 saves and a 3.69 ERA in 441 innings. 412 K. 182 BB. Rincon signed with the Twins in 1996 out of Venezuela. He made his debut in 2001 and spent most of the next eight seasons in a Twins uniform. He became a regular in 2003, but 2004 was likely his best season. He went 11-6 with a 2.63 ERA. In 82 innings, he struck out 106 batters. The following year, he posted a 2.45 ERA with more than a strikeout per inning. In 2006, he was 3-1 with a 2.91 ERA in 74 games. He wasn’t the same pitcher after his PED suspension in 2007 and was let go midway through the 2008 season. He continued to pitch into the 2010 season. What are your thoughts? Agree with the choices? Previous Installments Twins All-Decade Team, the '60s (The Hitters) Twins All-Decade Team, the '60s (The Pitchers) Episode 15: Get t o Know the 1960s Twins (with Dave Mona) Twins All-Decade Team, the '70s (The Hitters) Twins All-Decade Team, the '70s (The Pitchers) Episode 16: Get to Know the 1970s Twins (with Patrick Reusse) Twins All-Decade Team: the '80s (The Hitters) Twins All-Decade Team: the '80s (The Pitchers) Episode 17: Get to know the 1980s Twins (with Howard Sinker) Twins All-Decade Team: the '90s (The Hitters) Twins All-Decade Team: the '90s (The Pitchers) Twins All-Decade Team: the '00s (The Hitters) Twins All-Decade Team: the '00s (The Pitchers)
  6. Many of Niko Guardado’s earliest memories were following his dad throughout his baseball career. While many Twins fans are thrilled that the Twins have moved from Metrodome to Target Field, Guardado can’t help but maintain a soft spot in his heart for the Homer Dome. He recalls, “I miss the Dome. The Dome was amazing in my opinion. I loved it. It was my second home. I was constantly there, almost 24/7.” The Guardado family lived in northern California, and that’s where Niko was born on Christmas Eve in 1996. But Minneapolis, the Metrodome and the Twins were such an important part of his childhood. “I have really early memories. I can remember back to when I was about three or four. Me and my siblings were very blessed to go to the ballpark with my dad almost every day.” But it wasn’t all glamorous for the Guardado kids. Eddie made sure they earned the right to go into the clubhouse and on the field. “My dad taught me at a very young age that if you are going to want to come into the clubhouse, you’re going to have to work for it. We had to polish shoes. We had to do the laundry, vacuum the floor. We had to clean up the kitchen, wash the dishes. And then after the work we would play and go shag BP and play catch on the field in the Dome.” When Niko was about six, the family moved to southern California. That’s where he went to school, but his summers were spent in Minnesota. “As soon as school got out, the day after, we would fly to Minneapolis and spend the whole summer there until a week before school started.” Twins fans loved (and still love) those Twins teams from the late '90s and through the early aughts. You likely remember the ESPN Magazine cover featuring several Twins players with the title “The Team That Saved Baseball.” Those were the teams that endured a lot of losses in the late '90s, endured the threat of contraction, and brought winning back to Minnesota. Eddie Guardado was a big part of that turnaround, and he was a leader and a prankster on the roster. Niko Guardado got to know the stars from those teams. He says he has a good friendship with Torii Hunter and Jacque Jones and keeps in touch with David Ortiz at times. He has great memories of playing with Hunter’s sons, as well as Casey Radke and “Little” Joey Mays. LaTroy Hawkins has always been a fixture in the life of Niko Guardado. “I talk to LaTroy almost every day. I call LaTroy my Uncle Hawk. He’s the one guy, besides my dad, that we really became close. He’s really become a mentor to me in all aspects of life.” Eddie Guardado pitched in the 2002 and 2003 All Star games. Niko remembers attending the 2002 All Star game in Milwaukee. He was excited to meet Barry Zito (“That was the one guy I wanted to meet. I met him and my life was made.”). But as a five year old at the time, it was the mascots that really stood out to him. Following the 2003 season, Guardado signed with the Seattle Mariners. He spent time with the Reds and the Mariners, but in August of 2009, he was traded back to the Twins from the Rangers. Niko says he vividly remembers hearing the news. His mom was driving him and his siblings to dinner when she told them, “Dad’s going back to the Twins.” Niko, then 11, recalls, “We were super excited! Obviously going back to a place that was dear in our hearts, but I think the people too. The friendships that we made there and we were going back to. The kids room where all the babysitters that practically raised us, we would get to see again. The workers around the field. The fans. I think Minnesota is just really special when it comes to the fan base.” Now that he is older, Niko admits he has a bigger appreciation for the opportunities he had. “Going to the field every day, I am more and more grateful to have experienced it.” While Niko loved baseball and played sports throughout his youth, it wasn’t his passion. He chose his own path. While he found his true calling in the acting world, baseball remains a big part of his life.”I was about 10 or 11 when I stopped playing baseball and started getting into acting, but I still enjoyed it. I still loved going to the field and hanging out with the equipment managers, the clubbies and helping out. It’s still one of my favorite things to do to this day.” Click here to download the podcast/interview or set up alerts for future podcasts. http://traffic.libsyn.com/sethstohs/Episode_One_Final_Draft_v1.1.mp3 ------------------------------ Niko Guardado will appear on an episode of Schooled on ABC at 7:30 Central Time on Wednesday, February 27. ------------------------------ At a very young age, Niko said he was always standing in front of the TV, rewinding the VCR. He was studying actors and characters, and his love of performing only grew from there. However, it wasn’t easy for Niko to tell his dad that he wanted to be done with baseball and focus his attention on baseball. No kid wants to disappoint their dad. “I sat down with my dad and I was just bawling when I told him I didn’t want to play baseball anymore. I was so afraid of what he might say. But he was very, very supportive and said to do what you want to do. I’m just very glad I have parents that support me in all my decisions.” Niko Guardado entered the entertainment industry at an early age. His mom got him a print agent when he was about two years old and he was in several Target ads in Minnesota. In southern California, he did some commercials. However, when his younger sister was diagnosed with autism, Niko stepped away from acting for a little bit. But when his dad retired from baseball, Niko was able to get back into it. What we have learned is that there are are a lot of similarities between Eddie Guardado and Niko Guardado. It is a good reminder that there are some similarities between the world of athletics and the entertainment industry. He had guest roles on several Nickelodeon shows. He was on an episode of Sam & Cat (the Ariana Grande vehicle). “I grew up watching Zoey 101, Drake & Josh, Victorious. When I booked it, I think my initial reaction was I get to work with Dan Schneider, which is the guy who built my childhood. He made all the Nickelodeon shows back to All That. He was in my favorite movie growing up, which was Good Burger, if you remember that one.” I do remember that one. But I also remember Dan Schneider in the excellent, late '80s sitcom Head of the Class. Getting to work with Schneider was exciting and nerve-racking, but again, he was able to lean on his dad’s playing career. “Being able to work with him was so amazing. I was definitely so nervous walking into the set that day. But I think once the cameras roll, it’s like when my dad pitches. When he warms up he gets anxious, nervous. But when he gets on the mound, as soon as the camera starts rolling, it’s automatic, I know what I’m doing, it’s like I’ve been here before. It’s almost instinct and those concerns go away. ” However, for every role that Niko got, he lost out on several roles. That can be tough, but he was able to lean on his dad and his baseball career again. “I’ve been doing this for nine, ten years now. The amount of jobs I haven’t got is ridiculous. But it all comes back to… my dad. (He’d say) ‘Failure is failure. It’s going to get you sometimes. Just wave at it. Say goodbye. Go on to the next one until success comes your way and be grateful for the ones you get.’” Niko was able to learn so much from his dad and his playing career. “From my dad, it’s just never give up. I know it’s cliche, and I wish I could give you a better answer. It’s huge. Focusing on what you want, your dreams, and sticking with it no matter what. Especially because the entertainment industry and sports kind of coincide with how competitive it is. Being able to hold your head up high when you fail and just get back up and go get them the next time. That’s probably the #1 thing I’ve been able to learn, and I’m glad I learned at a young age, to treat failure as a best friend, and be OK with it, and not let it affect you as much because your time will come if you keep at it. ” While he learned from his dad, it’s important for him to point out how important his mom was in his growth and development as well. “(She is) 100% the backbone. Growing up, with my dad in-season, my mom raised us. We didn’t have the same circumstances, of course, but it was almost like being a single mom eight months out of the year. We had to go to school. My sister was diagnosed with autism during my dad’s career, so a lot of stuff was put onto my mom. She had the courage. She was being a mom. I could not have been blessed with a better mom. The sacrifices she made, not only for us but for my dad. She truly is the backbone of the family.” Over time, Niko began getting more guest roles, but in 2016, he was cast as one of the leads in the Nickelodeon mini-series Lost in the West. In 2018, he played the role of Scroggins in the feature film A-X-L. Starting in 2016, he was case in the ABC sitcom The Goldbergs. His recurring role as Ruben Amaro, Jr. has appeared in 17 episodes. In the role, he has been fortunate to play a jock, something he is very comfortable with. Niko Guardado said, "“I’m blessed to play a jock on The Goldbergs. I mean, I know it so well. You’d be surprised how many actors can’t throw a ball. It’s fun. I’ve always wanted to do my own stunts. I want to do this, and I want to do that. Whenever stunt work comes into play, I enjoy it so much.” He also had the opportunity to meet former big league outfielder, former Phillies GM and Red Sox coach Ruben Amaro at a Red Sox game a couple of years ago. Amaro even talked about how much fun it would be to get to play Niko’s father on the show. That opportunity came in an episode last year. *ASIDE: A search of Baseball-Reference tells us that Ruben Amaro, Jr. faced Eddie Guardado one time in the big leagues. Amaro singled.* On The Goldbergs, Niko got to work with Minnesota native and the star of classics such as the Back to the Future Trilogy and Howard the Duck, Lea Thompson. She is one of the show’s directors. “Lea Thompson is amazing. She’s an actor, so she really knows how to step into the actor’s show and describe what the director and producers want from an Actor’s point of view. That helps speed things up and helps us perform at our best.” Thompson has also been involved in the sitcom Schooled. In fact, on Wednesday night (February 27 at 7:30 CT on ABC), Guardado will be on an episode of Schooled opposite the talented Tim Meadows. “They’re doing such a good job with it. It’s a spin-off of The Goldbergs. They have the same writers, same producers. It’s funny. The episode I’m in is basically a 10-year reunion episode.” Just recently, Freeform announced that they had placed an order for episodes of a reboot of Party of Five and that Niko would be one of the lead characters. As you recall, the late-90s drama was about five kids whose parents passed away unexpectedly and they were left to fend for themselves. In the upcoming Party of Five, Niko plays one of five children whose parents get deported to Mexico. Like the original, the kids are left to struggle to make it without them. “Super excited to be a part of it. It’s very timely.” Guardado continued, “Since getting the job, I started watching (the original show). While the shows are different and the characters are not identical, Niko said his character likely compares most similarly to Scott Wolf’s Bailey character. The cast filmed the show’s pilot in November and December. The show was picked up by Freeform in January. Now Guardado awaits word of when filming for the first season will begin. In the meantime, he is continuing to go to auditions. He is also working on more episodes of The Goldbergs and excited to get started on Party of Five. He also gets to several Angels games, though he does so with a grudge. “I go to a lot of Angels games whenever my friends want to go. But I never cheer for the Angels. Not even when Torii was on the team. I still have that ‘02 grudge. I’ll never get over it. It sucks. That was the year that we moved here. (The Twins) lost, and my dad came to his new house and all he saw was Rally Monkeys and Angels fans.” He also enjoys going to his younger brother’s baseball games. He is a junior on his high school team. “My little brother is the athlete. He wants to be like dad. His dream is to be a pro.” Niko also tries to bring awareness to autism whenever he gets the chance in honor of his sister who was diagnosed at age 2. “She’s just a little genius. She loves learning. She’s just a bookworm, super smart, super intelligent. She’s such a hard worker. She’s taught me work ethic more than anybody. ” Niko Guardado is happy. Clearly the decision to go into acting has worked out well for him. “The best thing is getting to go and do something I love. I’ve found something that I really enjoy. I really haven’t worked a day in my life, doing this. It’s a passion that I have being able to finally... Getting a TV show has always been a dream of mine. It’s just all so surreal. In terms of days on the set. It can vary. They can go long. They can be 13-14 hour days sometimes. You’re not complaining. You just kind of look at the clock and see we’ve been here for 12 hours.” Niko Guardado has a ton of talent. Despite his relative youth, he has already had a lot of success in his career, particularly over the last five or six years. It’s clear that his career is on an upward trajectory. It will be fun for Twins fans to follow Niko and see where his career will take him. Be sure to follow Niko on social media: @Niko_Guardado (Twitter) @nikoguardado (Instagram) Be sure to listen to the full interview with Niko Guardado on the audio player below. In it, we discuss many more topics. He tells several more stories about his dad's time in the big leagues and their relationship. We also got into much more detail on the process of auditioning for guest roles and for lead roles. We talk more about The Goldbergs and Party of Five, but also about an upcoming short field called Gigi Boy that he stars in. We talk about his favorite actors to watch and emulate. And, much more. Thank you very much to Niko Guardado for taking the time to chat with me in this 48 minute interview. Thanks to John Bonnes for his help editing the podcast, and to Riggs Bonnes for the music in it. Click here to download the podcast/interview or set up alerts for future podcasts. http://traffic.libsyn.com/sethstohs/Episode_One_Final_Draft_v1.1.mp3 Thank you for your feedback and questions.
  7. To listen to the full interview with Niko Guardado, click here. In 1996, “Everyday” Eddie Guardado pitched in an American League-leading 83 games. Following that season, Guardado and his wife, Lisa, welcomed their first child, a son named Niko. While Eddie Guardado had struggles early in his career, he became a two-time All Star and a member of the Minnesota Twins Hall of Fame. Niko, now 22, recently learned that he will have one of the lead roles in the upcoming reboot of Party of Five. Recently, I caught up with the talented young actor to discuss his memories from his dad’s career, and his transition into acting. Oh, and he frequents Twins Daily because he remains a huge Twins fan. (Full audio podcast available at the end.)Many of Niko Guardado’s earliest memories were following his dad throughout his baseball career. While many Twins fans are thrilled that the Twins have moved from Metrodome to Target Field, Guardado can’t help but maintain a soft spot in his heart for the Homer Dome. He recalls, “I miss the Dome. The Dome was amazing in my opinion. I loved it. It was my second home. I was constantly there, almost 24/7.” The Guardado family lived in northern California, and that’s where Niko was born on Christmas Eve in 1996. But Minneapolis, the Metrodome and the Twins were such an important part of his childhood. “I have really early memories. I can remember back to when I was about three or four. Me and my siblings were very blessed to go to the ballpark with my dad almost every day.” But it wasn’t all glamorous for the Guardado kids. Eddie made sure they earned the right to go into the clubhouse and on the field. “My dad taught me at a very young age that if you are going to want to come into the clubhouse, you’re going to have to work for it. We had to polish shoes. We had to do the laundry, vacuum the floor. We had to clean up the kitchen, wash the dishes. And then after the work we would play and go shag BP and play catch on the field in the Dome.” When Niko was about six, the family moved to southern California. That’s where he went to school, but his summers were spent in Minnesota. “As soon as school got out, the day after, we would fly to Minneapolis and spend the whole summer there until a week before school started.” Twins fans loved (and still love) those Twins teams from the late '90s and through the early aughts. You likely remember the ESPN Magazine cover featuring several Twins players with the title “The Team That Saved Baseball.” Those were the teams that endured a lot of losses in the late '90s, endured the threat of contraction, and brought winning back to Minnesota. Eddie Guardado was a big part of that turnaround, and he was a leader and a prankster on the roster. Niko Guardado got to know the stars from those teams. He says he has a good friendship with Torii Hunter and Jacque Jones and keeps in touch with David Ortiz at times. He has great memories of playing with Hunter’s sons, as well as Casey Radke and “Little” Joey Mays. LaTroy Hawkins has always been a fixture in the life of Niko Guardado. “I talk to LaTroy almost every day. I call LaTroy my Uncle Hawk. He’s the one guy, besides my dad, that we really became close. He’s really become a mentor to me in all aspects of life.” Eddie Guardado pitched in the 2002 and 2003 All Star games. Niko remembers attending the 2002 All Star game in Milwaukee. He was excited to meet Barry Zito (“That was the one guy I wanted to meet. I met him and my life was made.”). But as a five year old at the time, it was the mascots that really stood out to him. Following the 2003 season, Guardado signed with the Seattle Mariners. He spent time with the Reds and the Mariners, but in August of 2009, he was traded back to the Twins from the Rangers. Niko says he vividly remembers hearing the news. His mom was driving him and his siblings to dinner when she told them, “Dad’s going back to the Twins.” Niko, then 11, recalls, “We were super excited! Obviously going back to a place that was dear in our hearts, but I think the people too. The friendships that we made there and we were going back to. The kids room where all the babysitters that practically raised us, we would get to see again. The workers around the field. The fans. I think Minnesota is just really special when it comes to the fan base.” Now that he is older, Niko admits he has a bigger appreciation for the opportunities he had. “Going to the field every day, I am more and more grateful to have experienced it.” While Niko loved baseball and played sports throughout his youth, it wasn’t his passion. He chose his own path. While he found his true calling in the acting world, baseball remains a big part of his life.”I was about 10 or 11 when I stopped playing baseball and started getting into acting, but I still enjoyed it. I still loved going to the field and hanging out with the equipment managers, the clubbies and helping out. It’s still one of my favorite things to do to this day.” Click here to download the podcast/interview or set up alerts for future podcasts. ------------------------------ Niko Guardado will appear on an episode of Schooled on ABC at 7:30 Central Time on Wednesday, February 27. ------------------------------ At a very young age, Niko said he was always standing in front of the TV, rewinding the VCR. He was studying actors and characters, and his love of performing only grew from there. However, it wasn’t easy for Niko to tell his dad that he wanted to be done with baseball and focus his attention on baseball. No kid wants to disappoint their dad. “I sat down with my dad and I was just bawling when I told him I didn’t want to play baseball anymore. I was so afraid of what he might say. But he was very, very supportive and said to do what you want to do. I’m just very glad I have parents that support me in all my decisions.” Niko Guardado entered the entertainment industry at an early age. His mom got him a print agent when he was about two years old and he was in several Target ads in Minnesota. In southern California, he did some commercials. However, when his younger sister was diagnosed with autism, Niko stepped away from acting for a little bit. But when his dad retired from baseball, Niko was able to get back into it. What we have learned is that there are are a lot of similarities between Eddie Guardado and Niko Guardado. It is a good reminder that there are some similarities between the world of athletics and the entertainment industry. He had guest roles on several Nickelodeon shows. He was on an episode of Sam & Cat (the Ariana Grande vehicle). “I grew up watching Zoey 101, Drake & Josh, Victorious. When I booked it, I think my initial reaction was I get to work with Dan Schneider, which is the guy who built my childhood. He made all the Nickelodeon shows back to All That. He was in my favorite movie growing up, which was Good Burger, if you remember that one.” I do remember that one. But I also remember Dan Schneider in the excellent, late '80s sitcom Head of the Class. Getting to work with Schneider was exciting and nerve-racking, but again, he was able to lean on his dad’s playing career. “Being able to work with him was so amazing. I was definitely so nervous walking into the set that day. But I think once the cameras roll, it’s like when my dad pitches. When he warms up he gets anxious, nervous. But when he gets on the mound, as soon as the camera starts rolling, it’s automatic, I know what I’m doing, it’s like I’ve been here before. It’s almost instinct and those concerns go away. ” However, for every role that Niko got, he lost out on several roles. That can be tough, but he was able to lean on his dad and his baseball career again. “I’ve been doing this for nine, ten years now. The amount of jobs I haven’t got is ridiculous. But it all comes back to… my dad. (He’d say) ‘Failure is failure. It’s going to get you sometimes. Just wave at it. Say goodbye. Go on to the next one until success comes your way and be grateful for the ones you get.’” Niko was able to learn so much from his dad and his playing career. “From my dad, it’s just never give up. I know it’s cliche, and I wish I could give you a better answer. It’s huge. Focusing on what you want, your dreams, and sticking with it no matter what. Especially because the entertainment industry and sports kind of coincide with how competitive it is. Being able to hold your head up high when you fail and just get back up and go get them the next time. That’s probably the #1 thing I’ve been able to learn, and I’m glad I learned at a young age, to treat failure as a best friend, and be OK with it, and not let it affect you as much because your time will come if you keep at it. ” While he learned from his dad, it’s important for him to point out how important his mom was in his growth and development as well. “(She is) 100% the backbone. Growing up, with my dad in-season, my mom raised us. We didn’t have the same circumstances, of course, but it was almost like being a single mom eight months out of the year. We had to go to school. My sister was diagnosed with autism during my dad’s career, so a lot of stuff was put onto my mom. She had the courage. She was being a mom. I could not have been blessed with a better mom. The sacrifices she made, not only for us but for my dad. She truly is the backbone of the family.” Over time, Niko began getting more guest roles, but in 2016, he was cast as one of the leads in the Nickelodeon mini-series Lost in the West. In 2018, he played the role of Scroggins in the feature film A-X-L. Starting in 2016, he was case in the ABC sitcom The Goldbergs. His recurring role as Ruben Amaro, Jr. has appeared in 17 episodes. In the role, he has been fortunate to play a jock, something he is very comfortable with. Niko Guardado said, "“I’m blessed to play a jock on The Goldbergs. I mean, I know it so well. You’d be surprised how many actors can’t throw a ball. It’s fun. I’ve always wanted to do my own stunts. I want to do this, and I want to do that. Whenever stunt work comes into play, I enjoy it so much.” He also had the opportunity to meet former big league outfielder, former Phillies GM and Red Sox coach Ruben Amaro at a Red Sox game a couple of years ago. Amaro even talked about how much fun it would be to get to play Niko’s father on the show. That opportunity came in an episode last year. *ASIDE: A search of Baseball-Reference tells us that Ruben Amaro, Jr. faced Eddie Guardado one time in the big leagues. Amaro singled.* On The Goldbergs, Niko got to work with Minnesota native and the star of classics such as the Back to the Future Trilogy and Howard the Duck, Lea Thompson. She is one of the show’s directors. “Lea Thompson is amazing. She’s an actor, so she really knows how to step into the actor’s show and describe what the director and producers want from an Actor’s point of view. That helps speed things up and helps us perform at our best.” Thompson has also been involved in the sitcom Schooled. In fact, on Wednesday night (February 27 at 7:30 CT on ABC), Guardado will be on an episode of Schooled opposite the talented Tim Meadows. “They’re doing such a good job with it. It’s a spin-off of The Goldbergs. They have the same writers, same producers. It’s funny. The episode I’m in is basically a 10-year reunion episode.” Just recently, Freeform announced that they had placed an order for episodes of a reboot of Party of Five and that Niko would be one of the lead characters. As you recall, the late-90s drama was about five kids whose parents passed away unexpectedly and they were left to fend for themselves. In the upcoming Party of Five, Niko plays one of five children whose parents get deported to Mexico. Like the original, the kids are left to struggle to make it without them. “Super excited to be a part of it. It’s very timely.” Guardado continued, “Since getting the job, I started watching (the original show). While the shows are different and the characters are not identical, Niko said his character likely compares most similarly to Scott Wolf’s Bailey character. The cast filmed the show’s pilot in November and December. The show was picked up by Freeform in January. Now Guardado awaits word of when filming for the first season will begin. In the meantime, he is continuing to go to auditions. He is also working on more episodes of The Goldbergs and excited to get started on Party of Five. He also gets to several Angels games, though he does so with a grudge. “I go to a lot of Angels games whenever my friends want to go. But I never cheer for the Angels. Not even when Torii was on the team. I still have that ‘02 grudge. I’ll never get over it. It sucks. That was the year that we moved here. (The Twins) lost, and my dad came to his new house and all he saw was Rally Monkeys and Angels fans.” He also enjoys going to his younger brother’s baseball games. He is a junior on his high school team. “My little brother is the athlete. He wants to be like dad. His dream is to be a pro.” Niko also tries to bring awareness to autism whenever he gets the chance in honor of his sister who was diagnosed at age 2. “She’s just a little genius. She loves learning. She’s just a bookworm, super smart, super intelligent. She’s such a hard worker. She’s taught me work ethic more than anybody. ” Niko Guardado is happy. Clearly the decision to go into acting has worked out well for him. “The best thing is getting to go and do something I love. I’ve found something that I really enjoy. I really haven’t worked a day in my life, doing this. It’s a passion that I have being able to finally... Getting a TV show has always been a dream of mine. It’s just all so surreal. In terms of days on the set. It can vary. They can go long. They can be 13-14 hour days sometimes. You’re not complaining. You just kind of look at the clock and see we’ve been here for 12 hours.” Niko Guardado has a ton of talent. Despite his relative youth, he has already had a lot of success in his career, particularly over the last five or six years. It’s clear that his career is on an upward trajectory. It will be fun for Twins fans to follow Niko and see where his career will take him. Be sure to follow Niko on social media: @Niko_Guardado (Twitter) @nikoguardado (Instagram) Be sure to listen to the full interview with Niko Guardado on the audio player below. In it, we discuss many more topics. He tells several more stories about his dad's time in the big leagues and their relationship. We also got into much more detail on the process of auditioning for guest roles and for lead roles. We talk more about The Goldbergs and Party of Five, but also about an upcoming short field called Gigi Boy that he stars in. We talk about his favorite actors to watch and emulate. And, much more. Thank you very much to Niko Guardado for taking the time to chat with me in this 48 minute interview. Thanks to John Bonnes for his help editing the podcast, and to Riggs Bonnes for the music in it. Click here to download the podcast/interview or set up alerts for future podcasts. Thank you for your feedback and questions. Click here to view the article
  8. The Meltdown is Saturday, Jan 26th, from 4:30-7:30. That's the same night you'll be in town anyway, going to Twins Fest. It'll be at Brothers Bar in downtown Minneapolis, just two blocks from Twins Plaza. It includes a pint glass (you can see previous years’) and two free 612 Brew beers. Plus, you could have met all of the above guests and many more at our Meltdowns. (We're not letting the cat out of the bag yet who are special guests are this year until after the new year.) There will also be some sweet raffle and game prizes, and lots of time to talk Hot Stove and order some of Brothers great food. Finally, this year we’ll be donating proceeds to a local non-profit, which we’ll also announce soon. Warning: These sell out. So even if your holiday shopping is done, you might want to grab some ASAP. Or let your family know that THIS is what you really want. Or buy a pack and give your friends, family and coworkers a night to remember in the dead of winter. We'll see you there. BUY HERE NOW.
  9. Sorry, the presale tickets have sold out. We'll release a portion of full price tickets when we announce the special guest. Thank you so much for your support, and Happy Holidays! How about an intimate holiday gathering with … Joe Nathan? LatTroy Hawkins? Scott Erickson? These are just a few of the special guests at Twins Daily’s Winter Meltdown, and this year we’re limiting the size to half of last year’s sellout crowd. Plus, you can buy presale tickets for just $25 (regular $40) through 12/25. We are offering this quietly, to people that visit the site in the dead of winter.The Meltdown is Saturday, Jan 26th, from 4:30-7:30. That's the same night you'll be in town anyway, going to Twins Fest. It'll be at Brothers Bar in downtown Minneapolis, just two blocks from Twins Plaza. It includes a pint glass (you can see previous years’) and two free 612 Brew beers. Plus, you could have met all of the above guests and many more at our Meltdowns. (We're not letting the cat out of the bag yet who are special guests are this year until after the new year.) There will also be some sweet raffle and game prizes, and lots of time to talk Hot Stove and order some of Brothers great food. Finally, this year we’ll be donating proceeds to a local non-profit, which we’ll also announce soon. Warning: These sell out. So even if your holiday shopping is done, you might want to grab some ASAP. Or let your family know that THIS is what you really want. Or buy a pack and give your friends, family and coworkers a night to remember in the dead of winter. We'll see you there. BUY HERE NOW. Click here to view the article
  10. Minneapolis is the home to Super Bowl LII. OK, that’s enough about football… But, lots of baseball fans and baseball players are a fan of football, and millions upon millions will be watching the game on Sunday. As we have done the last few years, we have collected the predictions of many current, former and future Twins players. At this point, 85 players and other Twins personnel have sent in their predictions. We have predictions from 2017 draft picks, minor league veterans and several major leaguers including Denard Span, Danny Valencia, Mike Trombley, LaTroy Hawkins and more. So check out the predictions below if only for a walk down memory lane. There are some names that you’ll remember from the past. But first, here’s my prediction. That Eagles defense is legit. I predict three field goals for the Patriots, and a couple of second half touchdowns. The Patriots defense is not as good, but the Eagles will also be held to two field goals, but I think they’ll score three touchdowns. Eagles 27, Patriots 23. MVP - Jay Ajayi.Let’s get to the predictions you came to see, those of the Twins players and personnel from the past, the present and the future. Prospects, big leaguers and suspects, enjoy these predictions. Taylor Grzelakowski (Catcher signed in 2017, played in GCL) - 27-14 Patriots! Hector Lujan (RHP was the closer for Kernels in 2017) - The Eagles win without a doubt. The final score is gonna be 31-17. Tyler Watson (LHP acquired from Nationals in Brandon Kintzler trade) - The Patriots are gonna win 31-17. Sean Miller (infielder spent 2017 with Ft. Myers, then played in the Arizona Fall League) - Well this is a tough one! You can’t go against Tom Brady. I’m going to have to say the Patriots win 34-24. Joe Rosenstein (RHP signed in 2017, played in GCL) - I think it’s gonna be 34-30 Eagles with Nick Foles as MVP! Alex Perez (infielder split 2017 between Ft. Myers and Chattanooga) - I believe the Patriots will go back to back and beat the Eagles 24-17. Tom Brady wins again and hopefully rides off into the sunset and retires. Dolphin fans would much appreciate this… Bryan Sammons (Twins 8th round pick in 2017, pitched in E-Town and Cedar Rapids) - 28-24 Eagles. I think Nick Foles will step up and the Eagles defense will do what it's been doing all season. Jared Finkel (RHP was 2017 draft pick and pitched in Elizabethton) - 35-27 Patriots, I’m a huge Giants fan and I want Eli to be the only QB to take down Brady in the Super Bowl. Zack Jones (RHP was Twins 4th round pick in 2012) - Eagles 31-28 Trey Cabbage (3B/OF split 2017 between Elizabethton and Cedar Rapids) - I don’t really have a preference, but I think the Pats will pull it out 27-17 Ethan Mildren (former Twins RHP prospect) - As a Steeler guy, it's tough to pick one of these teams, but I'll say 24-20 Eagles Casey Scoggins (former Twins OF prospect) - Eagles win 27-24. Tom Brady has an “off” game. Eagles fans climb light poles and celebrate into next season. Akil Baddoo (OF was 2nd round pick in 2017, split season between GCL and E-Town. Twins Daily Short-Season Minor League Hitter of the Year) - 21-17 Eagles. Jonathan Rodriguez (1B helped Chattanooga to share of Southern League title, recently signed with Marlins) - 27-17 Patriots winning. AJ Achter (RHP spent parts of 2014-2015 with Twins, Angels in 2016. He was just named the pitching coach for Eastern Michigan U) - I'll go Patriots 21-13. Patrick McGuff (RHP spent much of 2017 in Cedar Rapids bullpen) - Gotta go Patriots 34-17. Ryan O’Rourke (LHP dominated LHH for the Twins in 2015 and 2016 and missed 2017 with Tommy John surgery. Signed with the Baltimore Orioles) - Patriots 28 Eagles 3. Shane Carrier (OF split 2017 between Cedar Rapids and Elizabethton) - I’ve got the Patriots winning 23-20. Alex Meyer (former Twins pitcher traded to Angels. Recovering from shoulder surgery) - I’ll go with the Pats 31-20! Brent Rooker (OF was 2017 draft pick and hit 18 homers between E-Town and Ft. Myers) - 31-23 Pats. Eagles will lead 17-10 at halftime, Brady throws 3 TD’s in the 2nd half. Travis Harrison (former OF prospect of Twins) - I have the Patriots winning 24 17. Tom Brady is the best of all time. As a Cowboy fan, I can't stand the Eagles. Trevor May (RHP for Twins 2014-2016. Missed 2017 with Tommy John. Will return in 2018) - 27-17 Pats. David Banuelos (Catcher acquired from Mariners for international slot money) - I’m going to say Eagles are going to win 24-21. Travis Blankenhorn (2B/3B prospect spent 2017 with Cedar Rapids) - 28-24 Patriots. I want the Eagles to win, but I can’t bet against the goat Tom Brady. Zack Granite (Twins OF made his MLB debut in 2017) - 27-17 Pats. Dick Bremer (The TV voice of Twins Baseball for Fox Sports North) - With a moderate degree of certainty, I'm predicting the Patriots will win 24-10. With absolute certainty, I'm predicting that I will ignore the halftime show for the 52nd consecutive year. Landon Leach (RHP was Twins 2nd round pick in 2017, pitched in GCL) - I’m predicting 28-24 victory for New England Patriots. Trey Vavra (former Twins prospect) - I’m out of the loop but here’s a guess, 35-31 Patriots? Alex Robles (infielder was Twins 2017 draft pick after hitting and pitching in college) - Although I’m hoping the Eagles prove me wrong, I’m gonna go Patriots over Eagles 31-24. Mat Batts (former Twins LHP prospect) - Patriots 30-17 Todd Van Steensel (RHP pitched for Chattanooga in 2017) - Patriots 31, Eagles 17 - I don’t know much about football, but I know Brady wins Super Bowls when he isn’t playing the Giants. Kevin Garcia (catcher played mostly in 2017, a little in AA) - Not going to lie, I think Brady is unstoppable in the playoffs. Now, the Eagles defense has been doing a great job but without their starting QB, I have to take the Patriots. 24-20 Patriots. Taylor Rogers (Twins LH Relief Pitcher 2016, 2017) - Since it’s not the broncos let’s go Patriots by 3. 27-24 Luke Bard (Twins RHP prospect, Angels Rule 5 pick) - 24-27 Eagles! Randy Dobnak (signed in 2017, RHP pitched for Elizabethton and Cedar Rapids) - 35-24 Patriots. The GOAT Tom Brady will once again be on top, connecting with Gronk for 2 TDs. The Eagles may score first, but the Patriots will tear through the defense mostly during the 2nd half! Andrew Bechtold (2017 draft pick played in Elizabethton) - 27-17 Eagles!! Nick Foles leads Philadelphia to its first super bowl in franchise history, eagles defenses shuts down the great Tom Brady who after the game considers retirement from the beat down he just received by the Eagles D line, Doug Peterson wins coach of the year. Eagles fans flood the streets of Philly all week for the biggest party in US history, go birds baby!!! Logan Darnell (Twins LHP, debuted in 2014)- Eagles -28 O’Rourke/Pats-20 - I think between the regulated footballs, no spy cameras, and even officiating, we have a backup QB take his team to a Super Bowl win, much like the college football championship! Virgil Vasquez (RHP pitched for Tigers, Pirates, then pitched in Twins system in 2013, 2014, about to start his 3rd season as GCL pitching coach) - Low scoring first half, both teams come out firing second half. Foles struggles to throw tough passes and ends up throwing a pick, costing the Eagles the game. End score Patriots 27-21 Eagles. Brady = G.O.A.T. Zach Featherstone (2016 draft pick as hitter, transitioned to the mound in 2017) - I’m going 31-23 Patriots. You just can’t bet against Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. It’s hard to go against the best. Mike Trombley (RHP worked 365 games for the Twins between 1992 and 1999, and briefly in 2012) - I’m a New England guy. Pats roll 31-17. Robbie Incmikoski (former Fox Sports North sideline reporter, now with ROOT Sports in Pittsburgh) - I'm gonna take the Eagles, 24-21. That was the score of Super Bowl 39 when the Pats beat Philly. Plus, Tom Brady gets there pretty much every year anyways....and it's time to parade down Broad Street! LaTroy Hawkins (RHP for Twins from 1995-2003 before pitching for 11 other teams until 2015. Twins Special Assistant to Baseball Operations) - 27-21 Patriots. Lewis Thorpe (Australian LHP returned to the mound in 2017 after Tommy John surgery) - Patriots by 14. Jacob Pearson (2017 draft pick by Angels, acquired by Twins for international slot money) - Patriots 34-30. Cody Stashak (Twins RHP prospect split 2017 between Ft. Myers and Chattanooga) - 24-17 Eagles. Eagles fan so I’m going with them. DJ Baxendale (Twins RHP prospect split 2017 between Rochester and Chattanooga) - Brady is gonna need another finger! Go Pats! 27-21. Steve Singleton (Twins infield prospect 2006-11, hitting coach for Ft. Myers) - Eagles 32, Patriots 31. David Hurlbut (Twins LHP prospect 2011-2017. Spent 2017 in Rochester. Signed with Texas)- Patriots over Eagles 24-20. Tyler Wells (Twins RHP prospect, spent 2017 in Cedar Rapids) - 17-24 Patriots! Aaron Slegers (Twins RHP prospect since 2013, debuted in 2017) - Pats by 7. Joe Cronin (Twins infield prospect spent 2nd half in Cedar Rapids, with one game in Ft. Myers) - Pats 27 Eagles 21. Go Pats. Michael Quesada (former Twins catching prospect is now a scout for Twins)- 20-17 Patriots. Dallas Gallant (Twins RHP prospect 2010-2015) - I’m saying the score is going to be 31-21 Patriots. Cory Provus (Twins radio voice) - 28-17, Pats. Danny Valencia (former Twins infielder from 2010-2012. Six teams since then.) - Tom Brady is my guy!! They are winning 28-21. Bryan Haar (former Twins infielder 2012-2015) - I am predicting/hoping the Eagles win 34-24. Keaton Steele (Twins RHP prospect, split 2017 between Ft. Myers and Chattanooga)- 30-24 Pats. Gregg Olson (14 year reliever, Olson pitched in 11 games in 1997) - Patriots 28-24. Kolton Kendrick (Twins 1B prospect played for Elizabethton in 2017) - 24-17 and I don’t know, this is a tough one between the Patriots and Philly, but I think I’m going with Patriots. Dave St. Peter (Twins President) - 35-21 Pats. Way too much Brady & Gronk. Tanner Vavra (former Twins infield prospect) - You can put me down for Philly 27-21 I want to see a new champ. Callan Pearce (Twins RHP prospect missed 2017 with arm injury) - My predictions for this years Super Bowl is -> Patriots 43 - 28 Eagles. This is nothing new for Tom Brady. Brandon Lopez (Twins infield prospect split 2017 between Cedar Rapids and Ft. Myers) - I’m going to go with 21-17 Pats. Dalton Hicks (Twins 1B prospect, 2012-2016) - I'm riding with the Goat! #31-21 #goodguys #Patriots Chris Colabello (Twins 1B/DH in parts of 2013 and 2014) - Pats 31-27. Matt Fox (pitched one game for Twins in 2010) - 31-27 Patriots - I’d like to take the Eagles in this contest, as I am extremely tired of the Patriots winning ways, but after watching “Tom vs. Time” and witnessing how obnoxious Eagles fans are, Go Pats! Grant Balfour (Twins RHP from 2001-2006, also pitched for Rays and A’s) - I got the Patriots winning this one 31-24! Trevor Hildenberger (Twins RHP debuted in 2017 and was team’s Top Rookie) - Patriots 28-24 - I got no other guesses except the Patriots will win again. (sigh*) Clark Beeker (Twins prospecet pitched mostly in Cedar Rapids in 2017) - Patriots- 27, Eagles- 20 - Brady/Belichick go down as the best to ever do it. Angel Morales (Twins OF prospect 2007-2013) - I’ll say Patriots 32-27. Steven Blevins (Twins RHP prospect 2008-2010) - Patriots 31-21. Ryley Widell (Twins LHP prospect and 2017 draft pick, pitched at E-Town) - 24-17 Patriots - The Eagles D will come off strong in the two quarters. However, the Pats will come out strong after halftime to get the win. Alex Kirilloff (Twins top pick in 2016, missed 2017 with Tommy John) - Patriots 38 - Eagles 31! Denard Span (Twins top pick in 2002, OF played for Twins from 2008-2012, Nationals, Giants since) - Eagles 28-24. Tommy Watkins (Twins minor leaguer 1998-2009, hit .357 in nine games for Twins in 2007. Hitting coach in minors, managed Cedar Rapids in 2017. Will manage Chattanooga in 2018) - I’m pulling for the Eagles because of family (Jaylen Watkins) so I’m gonna say it’s an upset Eagles win 24-20. Caleb Hamilton (Twins 2016 draft pick, moved to catcher in 2017, but he can play all over the diamond.) - 28-21 Eagles. All aboard the Nick Foles train! Dan Osterbrock (former Twins LHP prospect, 2008-2011) - Patriots 31 Eagles 21 with Tom Brady winning the MVP. Christian Cavaness (Twins OF prospect spent 2017 in Cedar Rapids) - Patriots 28, Eagles 17. The red zone defenses for both teams is what will be the difference maker. Nick Anderson (Minnesotan is a RHP prospect who split 2017 between Ft. Myers and Chattanooga) - My prediction is 34-17 in favor of the Patriots! “Brady is too good!” Charlie Barnes (2017 draft pick, the LHP pitched for Elizabethton and Cedar Rapids) - 31-24 patriots, Tom Brady pulls it out in the 4th quarter Jeff Manship (RHP for the Twins, 2009-2012) - I predict the Patriots to win by a score of 24-17. Hopefully I'm wrong and the Eagles win. Pat Dean (LHP for 19 games for the Twins in 2016 after being a 3rd round pick in 2010. Pitched in Korea in 2017, will again in 2018) - I'm taking the Pats with a score of 23-17. Chris Mazza (former RHP in Twins system, currently with Marlins, heading to his first MLB spring training) - Eagles 24, Patriots 20. Jake Reed (Twins RH RP prospect, split 2017 between Chattanooga and Rochester) - EAGLES!!!!! UPDATE - Patriots 64, Eagles 21. (This page will be updated through the kickoff of Sunday's game. Check back often. And, let us know below who you think will win on Sunday.) Click here to view the article
  11. Let’s get to the predictions you came to see, those of the Twins players and personnel from the past, the present and the future. Prospects, big leaguers and suspects, enjoy these predictions. Taylor Grzelakowski (Catcher signed in 2017, played in GCL) - 27-14 Patriots! Hector Lujan (RHP was the closer for Kernels in 2017) - The Eagles win without a doubt. The final score is gonna be 31-17. Tyler Watson (LHP acquired from Nationals in Brandon Kintzler trade) - The Patriots are gonna win 31-17. Sean Miller (infielder spent 2017 with Ft. Myers, then played in the Arizona Fall League) - Well this is a tough one! You can’t go against Tom Brady. I’m going to have to say the Patriots win 34-24. Joe Rosenstein (RHP signed in 2017, played in GCL) - I think it’s gonna be 34-30 Eagles with Nick Foles as MVP! Alex Perez (infielder split 2017 between Ft. Myers and Chattanooga) - I believe the Patriots will go back to back and beat the Eagles 24-17. Tom Brady wins again and hopefully rides off into the sunset and retires. Dolphin fans would much appreciate this… Bryan Sammons (Twins 8th round pick in 2017, pitched in E-Town and Cedar Rapids) - 28-24 Eagles. I think Nick Foles will step up and the Eagles defense will do what it's been doing all season. Jared Finkel (RHP was 2017 draft pick and pitched in Elizabethton) - 35-27 Patriots, I’m a huge Giants fan and I want Eli to be the only QB to take down Brady in the Super Bowl. Zack Jones (RHP was Twins 4th round pick in 2012) - Eagles 31-28 Trey Cabbage (3B/OF split 2017 between Elizabethton and Cedar Rapids) - I don’t really have a preference, but I think the Pats will pull it out 27-17 Ethan Mildren (former Twins RHP prospect) - As a Steeler guy, it's tough to pick one of these teams, but I'll say 24-20 Eagles Casey Scoggins (former Twins OF prospect) - Eagles win 27-24. Tom Brady has an “off” game. Eagles fans climb light poles and celebrate into next season. Akil Baddoo (OF was 2nd round pick in 2017, split season between GCL and E-Town. Twins Daily Short-Season Minor League Hitter of the Year) - 21-17 Eagles. Jonathan Rodriguez (1B helped Chattanooga to share of Southern League title, recently signed with Marlins) - 27-17 Patriots winning. AJ Achter (RHP spent parts of 2014-2015 with Twins, Angels in 2016. He was just named the pitching coach for Eastern Michigan U) - I'll go Patriots 21-13. Patrick McGuff (RHP spent much of 2017 in Cedar Rapids bullpen) - Gotta go Patriots 34-17. Ryan O’Rourke (LHP dominated LHH for the Twins in 2015 and 2016 and missed 2017 with Tommy John surgery. Signed with the Baltimore Orioles) - Patriots 28 Eagles 3. Shane Carrier (OF split 2017 between Cedar Rapids and Elizabethton) - I’ve got the Patriots winning 23-20. Alex Meyer (former Twins pitcher traded to Angels. Recovering from shoulder surgery) - I’ll go with the Pats 31-20! Brent Rooker (OF was 2017 draft pick and hit 18 homers between E-Town and Ft. Myers) - 31-23 Pats. Eagles will lead 17-10 at halftime, Brady throws 3 TD’s in the 2nd half. Travis Harrison (former OF prospect of Twins) - I have the Patriots winning 24 17. Tom Brady is the best of all time. As a Cowboy fan, I can't stand the Eagles. Trevor May (RHP for Twins 2014-2016. Missed 2017 with Tommy John. Will return in 2018) - 27-17 Pats. David Banuelos (Catcher acquired from Mariners for international slot money) - I’m going to say Eagles are going to win 24-21. Travis Blankenhorn (2B/3B prospect spent 2017 with Cedar Rapids) - 28-24 Patriots. I want the Eagles to win, but I can’t bet against the goat Tom Brady. Zack Granite (Twins OF made his MLB debut in 2017) - 27-17 Pats. Dick Bremer (The TV voice of Twins Baseball for Fox Sports North) - With a moderate degree of certainty, I'm predicting the Patriots will win 24-10. With absolute certainty, I'm predicting that I will ignore the halftime show for the 52nd consecutive year. Landon Leach (RHP was Twins 2nd round pick in 2017, pitched in GCL) - I’m predicting 28-24 victory for New England Patriots. Trey Vavra (former Twins prospect) - I’m out of the loop but here’s a guess, 35-31 Patriots? Alex Robles (infielder was Twins 2017 draft pick after hitting and pitching in college) - Although I’m hoping the Eagles prove me wrong, I’m gonna go Patriots over Eagles 31-24. Mat Batts (former Twins LHP prospect) - Patriots 30-17 Todd Van Steensel (RHP pitched for Chattanooga in 2017) - Patriots 31, Eagles 17 - I don’t know much about football, but I know Brady wins Super Bowls when he isn’t playing the Giants. Kevin Garcia (catcher played mostly in 2017, a little in AA) - Not going to lie, I think Brady is unstoppable in the playoffs. Now, the Eagles defense has been doing a great job but without their starting QB, I have to take the Patriots. 24-20 Patriots. Taylor Rogers (Twins LH Relief Pitcher 2016, 2017) - Since it’s not the broncos let’s go Patriots by 3. 27-24 Luke Bard (Twins RHP prospect, Angels Rule 5 pick) - 24-27 Eagles! Randy Dobnak (signed in 2017, RHP pitched for Elizabethton and Cedar Rapids) - 35-24 Patriots. The GOAT Tom Brady will once again be on top, connecting with Gronk for 2 TDs. The Eagles may score first, but the Patriots will tear through the defense mostly during the 2nd half! Andrew Bechtold (2017 draft pick played in Elizabethton) - 27-17 Eagles!! Nick Foles leads Philadelphia to its first super bowl in franchise history, eagles defenses shuts down the great Tom Brady who after the game considers retirement from the beat down he just received by the Eagles D line, Doug Peterson wins coach of the year. Eagles fans flood the streets of Philly all week for the biggest party in US history, go birds baby!!! Logan Darnell (Twins LHP, debuted in 2014)- Eagles -28 O’Rourke/Pats-20 - I think between the regulated footballs, no spy cameras, and even officiating, we have a backup QB take his team to a Super Bowl win, much like the college football championship! Virgil Vasquez (RHP pitched for Tigers, Pirates, then pitched in Twins system in 2013, 2014, about to start his 3rd season as GCL pitching coach) - Low scoring first half, both teams come out firing second half. Foles struggles to throw tough passes and ends up throwing a pick, costing the Eagles the game. End score Patriots 27-21 Eagles. Brady = G.O.A.T. Zach Featherstone (2016 draft pick as hitter, transitioned to the mound in 2017) - I’m going 31-23 Patriots. You just can’t bet against Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. It’s hard to go against the best. Mike Trombley (RHP worked 365 games for the Twins between 1992 and 1999, and briefly in 2012) - I’m a New England guy. Pats roll 31-17. Robbie Incmikoski (former Fox Sports North sideline reporter, now with ROOT Sports in Pittsburgh) - I'm gonna take the Eagles, 24-21. That was the score of Super Bowl 39 when the Pats beat Philly. Plus, Tom Brady gets there pretty much every year anyways....and it's time to parade down Broad Street! LaTroy Hawkins (RHP for Twins from 1995-2003 before pitching for 11 other teams until 2015. Twins Special Assistant to Baseball Operations) - 27-21 Patriots. Lewis Thorpe (Australian LHP returned to the mound in 2017 after Tommy John surgery) - Patriots by 14. Jacob Pearson (2017 draft pick by Angels, acquired by Twins for international slot money) - Patriots 34-30. Cody Stashak (Twins RHP prospect split 2017 between Ft. Myers and Chattanooga) - 24-17 Eagles. Eagles fan so I’m going with them. DJ Baxendale (Twins RHP prospect split 2017 between Rochester and Chattanooga) - Brady is gonna need another finger! Go Pats! 27-21. Steve Singleton (Twins infield prospect 2006-11, hitting coach for Ft. Myers) - Eagles 32, Patriots 31. David Hurlbut (Twins LHP prospect 2011-2017. Spent 2017 in Rochester. Signed with Texas)- Patriots over Eagles 24-20. Tyler Wells (Twins RHP prospect, spent 2017 in Cedar Rapids) - 17-24 Patriots! Aaron Slegers (Twins RHP prospect since 2013, debuted in 2017) - Pats by 7. Joe Cronin (Twins infield prospect spent 2nd half in Cedar Rapids, with one game in Ft. Myers) - Pats 27 Eagles 21. Go Pats. Michael Quesada (former Twins catching prospect is now a scout for Twins)- 20-17 Patriots. Dallas Gallant (Twins RHP prospect 2010-2015) - I’m saying the score is going to be 31-21 Patriots. Cory Provus (Twins radio voice) - 28-17, Pats. Danny Valencia (former Twins infielder from 2010-2012. Six teams since then.) - Tom Brady is my guy!! They are winning 28-21. Bryan Haar (former Twins infielder 2012-2015) - I am predicting/hoping the Eagles win 34-24. Keaton Steele (Twins RHP prospect, split 2017 between Ft. Myers and Chattanooga)- 30-24 Pats. Gregg Olson (14 year reliever, Olson pitched in 11 games in 1997) - Patriots 28-24. Kolton Kendrick (Twins 1B prospect played for Elizabethton in 2017) - 24-17 and I don’t know, this is a tough one between the Patriots and Philly, but I think I’m going with Patriots. Dave St. Peter (Twins President) - 35-21 Pats. Way too much Brady & Gronk. Tanner Vavra (former Twins infield prospect) - You can put me down for Philly 27-21 I want to see a new champ. Callan Pearce (Twins RHP prospect missed 2017 with arm injury) - My predictions for this years Super Bowl is -> Patriots 43 - 28 Eagles. This is nothing new for Tom Brady. Brandon Lopez (Twins infield prospect split 2017 between Cedar Rapids and Ft. Myers) - I’m going to go with 21-17 Pats. Dalton Hicks (Twins 1B prospect, 2012-2016) - I'm riding with the Goat! #31-21 #goodguys #Patriots Chris Colabello (Twins 1B/DH in parts of 2013 and 2014) - Pats 31-27. Matt Fox (pitched one game for Twins in 2010) - 31-27 Patriots - I’d like to take the Eagles in this contest, as I am extremely tired of the Patriots winning ways, but after watching “Tom vs. Time” and witnessing how obnoxious Eagles fans are, Go Pats! Grant Balfour (Twins RHP from 2001-2006, also pitched for Rays and A’s) - I got the Patriots winning this one 31-24! Trevor Hildenberger (Twins RHP debuted in 2017 and was team’s Top Rookie) - Patriots 28-24 - I got no other guesses except the Patriots will win again. (sigh*) Clark Beeker (Twins prospecet pitched mostly in Cedar Rapids in 2017) - Patriots- 27, Eagles- 20 - Brady/Belichick go down as the best to ever do it. Angel Morales (Twins OF prospect 2007-2013) - I’ll say Patriots 32-27. Steven Blevins (Twins RHP prospect 2008-2010) - Patriots 31-21. Ryley Widell (Twins LHP prospect and 2017 draft pick, pitched at E-Town) - 24-17 Patriots - The Eagles D will come off strong in the two quarters. However, the Pats will come out strong after halftime to get the win. Alex Kirilloff (Twins top pick in 2016, missed 2017 with Tommy John) - Patriots 38 - Eagles 31! Denard Span (Twins top pick in 2002, OF played for Twins from 2008-2012, Nationals, Giants since) - Eagles 28-24. Tommy Watkins (Twins minor leaguer 1998-2009, hit .357 in nine games for Twins in 2007. Hitting coach in minors, managed Cedar Rapids in 2017. Will manage Chattanooga in 2018) - I’m pulling for the Eagles because of family (Jaylen Watkins) so I’m gonna say it’s an upset Eagles win 24-20. Caleb Hamilton (Twins 2016 draft pick, moved to catcher in 2017, but he can play all over the diamond.) - 28-21 Eagles. All aboard the Nick Foles train! Dan Osterbrock (former Twins LHP prospect, 2008-2011) - Patriots 31 Eagles 21 with Tom Brady winning the MVP. Christian Cavaness (Twins OF prospect spent 2017 in Cedar Rapids) - Patriots 28, Eagles 17. The red zone defenses for both teams is what will be the difference maker. Nick Anderson (Minnesotan is a RHP prospect who split 2017 between Ft. Myers and Chattanooga) - My prediction is 34-17 in favor of the Patriots! “Brady is too good!” Charlie Barnes (2017 draft pick, the LHP pitched for Elizabethton and Cedar Rapids) - 31-24 patriots, Tom Brady pulls it out in the 4th quarter Jeff Manship (RHP for the Twins, 2009-2012) - I predict the Patriots to win by a score of 24-17. Hopefully I'm wrong and the Eagles win. Pat Dean (LHP for 19 games for the Twins in 2016 after being a 3rd round pick in 2010. Pitched in Korea in 2017, will again in 2018) - I'm taking the Pats with a score of 23-17. Chris Mazza (former RHP in Twins system, currently with Marlins, heading to his first MLB spring training) - Eagles 24, Patriots 20. Jake Reed (Twins RH RP prospect, split 2017 between Chattanooga and Rochester) - EAGLES!!!!! UPDATE - Patriots 64, Eagles 21. (This page will be updated through the kickoff of Sunday's game. Check back often. And, let us know below who you think will win on Sunday.) https://twitter.com/SethTweets/status/959667617781907456
  12. Recently, Clark Beeker answered some questions about his first full season, his offseason and much more. Be sure to leave your questions or comments below. Seth Stohs (SS): It’s been a few weeks now since the season ended. Have you had a chance to reflect on your season? Did you accomplish goals you may have set before the season? Clark Beeker (CB): Looking back on my first full season in professional baseball, I was pleased with the way it went. Cedar Rapids and Fort Myers were both great places to play and having both teams in the playoffs was indicative of the talent of the players and coaching staffs. Going into the season, it wasn’t a definite that I would be one of the starters in the Cedar Rapids’ rotation so making that happen was a nice first step. As the season goes on, you make adjustments based on what in your arsenal is successful, how the hitters respond to certain pitches/sequences, and the overall daily life of being a minor league baseball player. Being open to making adjustments and learning along the way definitely helped my progression up until the culmination of the season. SS: How did you hold up, physically or emotionally, through your first full season of pro ball? CB: I felt that my body held up pretty well – I really didn’t experience any fatigue until the last couple of weeks of the season. Half the battle for playing in your first full season is being able to stay off the DL and handle the rigors of bus rides and weeks without an off day. Taking care of my body, eating right (most of the time), and getting plenty of sleep were keys for me that I focused on throughout the season. SS: You made the Twins Daily Minor League All-Star team as the right-handed starting pitcher. As you look at your stat line, what are you most excited about? CB: I see that the checks I wrote to the voters cleared – so that was a smooth transaction. Being recognized was definitely an honor considering how many strong performances there were throughout the entire organization. My biggest takeaway from the season, numbers wise, was the amount of innings I was able to throw. By averaging roughly 6.25 innings per start, I was able to keep hitters off the bases and pitch deep into games. Although pitching late into games isn’t always indicative of success, you’re not going to keep pitching into the 7th, 8th, 9th innings if you’re not pitching well and giving your team a chance to win. I typically wasn’t pleased with my outing unless I went seven innings or more. SS: To what do you attribute your success throughout the 2017 season at Cedar Rapids? CB: I think the biggest thing for me was having a plan for how I wanted to attack each hitter, every single start. It may not have been the right plan, but based on scouting reports (which video intern Sam Berk did a great job of analyzing and compiling), my pitches, and various sequences, I had a purpose with every pitch. I got away from this in Fort Myers and coupled with better/more advanced hitters, I didn’t pitch as well as I would have liked. SS: When things were going really well, such as during your 30+ inning scoreless streak, what was working well for you? CB: Being able to pitch at home in Cedar Rapids for all 4 games…haha. But all in all, I made a conscious effort to start throwing my changeup more from the first inning on. The first three months of the season, I wouldn’t start incorporating the changeup until the second time through the lineup. I started throwing it more, especially in disadvantage counts (1-0, 2-1) and was able to find some success. The combination of the changeup, limiting walks, some great plays by the defense, and obviously a little bit of luck along the way enabled me to pitch effectively. SS: What was the atmosphere like in Cedar Rapids as the team earned a playoff berth and then did well in the playoffs? CB: To preface this, Cedar Rapids has a phenomenal fan base. The support we had night in and night out definitely gave our team an advantage, especially as the season reached the second half of a long season. In one of our home playoff games, we had about 1800 fans and they were as loud and into the game as any of the 3000-4000 attendances we had throughout the season. SS: Have you been able to get away from baseball so far this offseason with any fun activities? Anything exciting for the rest of the offseason? CB: I haven’t done anything too exciting – it was nice to relax at home for the first few weeks. I have a couple weekend trips planned to visit some former teammates and friends so it will be nice to catch up with friends that you haven’t seen since the previous offseason. SS: When do you start your workouts in preparation for 2017? When do you, as a starting pitcher, pick up a ball and start throwing? CB: I’ve begun the strength training phase after I let my body recover for almost a month. I’ve tried to focus on staying flexible and getting stronger in all aspects of my body to ensure that I’m ready for spring training. I’ll start throwing in December and gradually work my way back to a long toss phase that will prepare me for bullpens in February. I hate feeling rushed, so I’ll give myself a little extra time to slowly build up my arm strength. SS: Have you had a chance to catch up with your old teammates and coaches at Davidson to touch base on their Regional and Super Regional experience in June? CB: I’ve been able to catch up with them a decent amount this offseason – I’m helping out in the athletic fundraising office at Davidson to support the baseball program’s fundraising efforts. Their run was so unlikely in the grand scheme of things, but so deserving for how hard the players work and what Coach Cooke has endured to reach this point. The best thing about looking back at the Super Regional run is seeing the outpouring of support from current players, former teammates, and the community for something that was a first for the Davidson baseball program. SS: What area of your game do you feel you took the furthest strides with in 2017? CB: I thought that my ability to pitch inside with the fastball was the biggest thing for me during the season. We would go entire games where the catcher (usually my roommate Ben Rortvedt) would exclusively call inside fastballs and abandon the fastball away. Being able to pitch inside prevented hitters from extending their hands on pitches over the plate and set up my offspeed pitches to be more effective. SS: What are the areas of your game that you would like to spend time this offseason working to improve? CB: For me, just to improve on my full body strength and arm strength which would hopefully translate to an uptick in velocity. As a pitcher, I definitely don’t scare hitters when they see my fastball velocity on the scouting report, so being able to find a comfort zone where I’m pitching at my maximum velocity every pitch is something I am working to improve. SS: Talk about Tommy Watkins and the coaching staff in Cedar Rapids and how they helped you individually and helped the team succeed. CB: Tommy (Watkins), JP (Martinez), and Dink (Brian Dinkelman) were all great to be around everyday, which is tough to do when you have a 140-game season crammed into five months. Tommy did a great job of keep things loose and challenging us to bring great energy each day at the ballpark. As a pitching coach, JP was able to find an approach that worked best for each guy and helped me create a plan for how I could have success each start. He constantly worked with me to fine tune my delivery and challenged me to not become complacent as the season moved along. SS: What was it like seeing former big leaguers like LaTroy Hawkins, Torii Hunters or other roving instructors come through Cedar Rapids. Any good conversations with any of them?. CB: It was great to hear from not only former big leaguers, but guys who have played longer than most baseball players ever envision. LaTroy talked about focusing on the details and not overlooking the importance of holding runners on base, fielding your position, etc. Even when Sam Perlozzo was around, I would try to pick up bits of information that the hitter deems important – baseball is more mental than a lot of people realize. SS: Rank the top 3-5 TV shows you’ve binge watched… CB: Prison Break, Seinfeld, Breaking Bad, Entourage, The Office (in that order) A big Thank You to Clark Beeker for taking the time to respond to our questions. Please feel free to ask questions and comment below.
  13. One year ago, Clark Beeker had just completed his first season as a professional baseball player. He was the Twins 33rd-round pick in June after five seasons at Davidson, and after his debut season, we had a chance to Get To Know Him. 2017 was his first full season, and he pitched well enough for the Cedar Rapids Kernels that he was named the right-handed starting pitcher of the Twins Daily Minor League All Star team. Today, we catch up with the right-handed starter.Recently, Clark Beeker answered some questions about his first full season, his offseason and much more. Be sure to leave your questions or comments below. Seth Stohs (SS): It’s been a few weeks now since the season ended. Have you had a chance to reflect on your season? Did you accomplish goals you may have set before the season? Clark Beeker (CB): Looking back on my first full season in professional baseball, I was pleased with the way it went. Cedar Rapids and Fort Myers were both great places to play and having both teams in the playoffs was indicative of the talent of the players and coaching staffs. Going into the season, it wasn’t a definite that I would be one of the starters in the Cedar Rapids’ rotation so making that happen was a nice first step. As the season goes on, you make adjustments based on what in your arsenal is successful, how the hitters respond to certain pitches/sequences, and the overall daily life of being a minor league baseball player. Being open to making adjustments and learning along the way definitely helped my progression up until the culmination of the season. SS: How did you hold up, physically or emotionally, through your first full season of pro ball? CB: I felt that my body held up pretty well – I really didn’t experience any fatigue until the last couple of weeks of the season. Half the battle for playing in your first full season is being able to stay off the DL and handle the rigors of bus rides and weeks without an off day. Taking care of my body, eating right (most of the time), and getting plenty of sleep were keys for me that I focused on throughout the season. SS: You made the Twins Daily Minor League All-Star team as the right-handed starting pitcher. As you look at your stat line, what are you most excited about? CB: I see that the checks I wrote to the voters cleared – so that was a smooth transaction. Being recognized was definitely an honor considering how many strong performances there were throughout the entire organization. My biggest takeaway from the season, numbers wise, was the amount of innings I was able to throw. By averaging roughly 6.25 innings per start, I was able to keep hitters off the bases and pitch deep into games. Although pitching late into games isn’t always indicative of success, you’re not going to keep pitching into the 7th, 8th, 9th innings if you’re not pitching well and giving your team a chance to win. I typically wasn’t pleased with my outing unless I went seven innings or more. SS: To what do you attribute your success throughout the 2017 season at Cedar Rapids? CB: I think the biggest thing for me was having a plan for how I wanted to attack each hitter, every single start. It may not have been the right plan, but based on scouting reports (which video intern Sam Berk did a great job of analyzing and compiling), my pitches, and various sequences, I had a purpose with every pitch. I got away from this in Fort Myers and coupled with better/more advanced hitters, I didn’t pitch as well as I would have liked. SS: When things were going really well, such as during your 30+ inning scoreless streak, what was working well for you? CB: Being able to pitch at home in Cedar Rapids for all 4 games…haha. But all in all, I made a conscious effort to start throwing my changeup more from the first inning on. The first three months of the season, I wouldn’t start incorporating the changeup until the second time through the lineup. I started throwing it more, especially in disadvantage counts (1-0, 2-1) and was able to find some success. The combination of the changeup, limiting walks, some great plays by the defense, and obviously a little bit of luck along the way enabled me to pitch effectively. SS: What was the atmosphere like in Cedar Rapids as the team earned a playoff berth and then did well in the playoffs? CB: To preface this, Cedar Rapids has a phenomenal fan base. The support we had night in and night out definitely gave our team an advantage, especially as the season reached the second half of a long season. In one of our home playoff games, we had about 1800 fans and they were as loud and into the game as any of the 3000-4000 attendances we had throughout the season. SS: Have you been able to get away from baseball so far this offseason with any fun activities? Anything exciting for the rest of the offseason? CB: I haven’t done anything too exciting – it was nice to relax at home for the first few weeks. I have a couple weekend trips planned to visit some former teammates and friends so it will be nice to catch up with friends that you haven’t seen since the previous offseason. SS: When do you start your workouts in preparation for 2017? When do you, as a starting pitcher, pick up a ball and start throwing? CB: I’ve begun the strength training phase after I let my body recover for almost a month. I’ve tried to focus on staying flexible and getting stronger in all aspects of my body to ensure that I’m ready for spring training. I’ll start throwing in December and gradually work my way back to a long toss phase that will prepare me for bullpens in February. I hate feeling rushed, so I’ll give myself a little extra time to slowly build up my arm strength. SS: Have you had a chance to catch up with your old teammates and coaches at Davidson to touch base on their Regional and Super Regional experience in June? CB: I’ve been able to catch up with them a decent amount this offseason – I’m helping out in the athletic fundraising office at Davidson to support the baseball program’s fundraising efforts. Their run was so unlikely in the grand scheme of things, but so deserving for how hard the players work and what Coach Cooke has endured to reach this point. The best thing about looking back at the Super Regional run is seeing the outpouring of support from current players, former teammates, and the community for something that was a first for the Davidson baseball program. SS: What area of your game do you feel you took the furthest strides with in 2017? CB: I thought that my ability to pitch inside with the fastball was the biggest thing for me during the season. We would go entire games where the catcher (usually my roommate Ben Rortvedt) would exclusively call inside fastballs and abandon the fastball away. Being able to pitch inside prevented hitters from extending their hands on pitches over the plate and set up my offspeed pitches to be more effective. SS: What are the areas of your game that you would like to spend time this offseason working to improve? CB: For me, just to improve on my full body strength and arm strength which would hopefully translate to an uptick in velocity. As a pitcher, I definitely don’t scare hitters when they see my fastball velocity on the scouting report, so being able to find a comfort zone where I’m pitching at my maximum velocity every pitch is something I am working to improve. SS: Talk about Tommy Watkins and the coaching staff in Cedar Rapids and how they helped you individually and helped the team succeed. CB: Tommy (Watkins), JP (Martinez), and Dink (Brian Dinkelman) were all great to be around everyday, which is tough to do when you have a 140-game season crammed into five months. Tommy did a great job of keep things loose and challenging us to bring great energy each day at the ballpark. As a pitching coach, JP was able to find an approach that worked best for each guy and helped me create a plan for how I could have success each start. He constantly worked with me to fine tune my delivery and challenged me to not become complacent as the season moved along. SS: What was it like seeing former big leaguers like LaTroy Hawkins, Torii Hunters or other roving instructors come through Cedar Rapids. Any good conversations with any of them?. CB: It was great to hear from not only former big leaguers, but guys who have played longer than most baseball players ever envision. LaTroy talked about focusing on the details and not overlooking the importance of holding runners on base, fielding your position, etc. Even when Sam Perlozzo was around, I would try to pick up bits of information that the hitter deems important – baseball is more mental than a lot of people realize. SS: Rank the top 3-5 TV shows you’ve binge watched… CB: Prison Break, Seinfeld, Breaking Bad, Entourage, The Office (in that order) A big Thank You to Clark Beeker for taking the time to respond to our questions. Please feel free to ask questions and comment below. Click here to view the article
  14. http://traffic.libsyn.com/gleemangeek/GATG_06_25_17_FINAL.mp3?dest-id=74590
  15. Aaron and John about the Twins sweeping the Indians and re-taking first place, the tough upcoming schedule giving little time to celebrate, spending over slot to sign the draft class, getting to know Alan Busenitz and Trevor Hildenberger, the legalities of the Indians' mascot with Bye, Goff, and Rhode, the status of Hector Santiago and Phil Hughes, and LaTroy Hawkins being a breath of fresh air on the Twins' television broadcast. You can listen by downloading us from iTunes, Stitcher or find it at GleemanAndTheGeek.com. Or just click this link.http://traffic.libsy...3?dest-id=74590 Click here to view the article
  16. LaTroy Hawkins helping out the youngsters Cody Stashak started Game B while Jordan Balazovic started Game A, neither were very sharp and gave up several hard hit balls and walks. Stashak was 89-92 with his fastball averaging 90-91. He only went 2 2/3 IP, giving up 3 hits, 3 walks and 2 strikeouts. Balazovic was solid the first inning but his last 2 were very wild where he seemingly had lost his arm slot. Cody Stashak https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jj4AsD015TQ Jordan Balazovic https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LWCKaQ87xMs The best looking pitcher of the day was Jose Martinez who was 91-93 mph with his fastball and went 3 innings. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j7Ble9-r6z8 To end out Game A was Venezuelan Carlos Saniaga, who was 91-92mph with his fastball https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o2m_KRByTcE The day was mainly for the hitters, with Wander Javier continuing to look very sharp at the plate, and recently so has Amaurys Minier, Roni Tapia, Akil Baddoo and Trey Cabbage. I got video on all but Minier who launched another homerun, this one hit halfway up the Red Sox steel building beyond LCF. Amaurys Minier working the gun Wander Javier https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aQ74YS9IuZ0 Akil Baddoo https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JU9j0t94FUA Roni Tapia https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LJNizfCdAIE Trey Cabbage https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0kefSLyCibE Humber Maldanado https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kcasHRoEABw
  17. This page will be updated frequently throughout the day, right up until the start of the Super Bowl. Below you will find the picks of over 70 Twins-related people. Be sure to post your predictions in the comments below. Let's get to the picks: Seth Stohs - Twins Daily Falcons 37, Patriots 20 This is a tough one. First, I will always root for whoever Tom Brady and the Patriots are playing… But, I also would love to see Roger Goodell have to hand over the Lombardi Trophy to Robert Kraft and Tom Brady. But I also think that the Falcons offense will dominate a lot. Jeremy Nygaard - Twins Daily Falcons 28, Patriots 20. Eric Pleiss - Twins Daily Falcons 27, Pats 24 Juan Gamez - GCL pitcher and 2016 draft pick Patriots are winning it 24-21! Tom Brady is by far the greatest player in NFL history! Zack Granite - Chattanooga outfielder, Twins Minor League Player of the Year The final score will be 31-26 Patriots. As good as Atlanta’s offense is I think the Patriots slow them down. My MVP is LaGarrette Blount as he rushes for 146 yards and 3 touchdowns. Book it Lean Marrero - GCL Twins outfield prospect, 2015 draft pick 33-20 Patriots, Brady 320 yards, 3TD Casey Scoggins - Kernels outfielder and 2016 draft pick I'm tired of New England winning, and I'm not a fan of them even though Brady and his squad are solid. I think Matt Ryan and Atlanta have something special this year. So I'm going to say: 35-28 Atlanta wins on a late score in the 4th. Aaron Whitefield - GCL Twins prospect from Australia I'm going Patriots, cause Brady is a stud but low scoring game! 20-7. Travis Blankenhorn - Kernels 2B prospect and 2015 draft pick I'm going to have to go with 28-24 Patriots. Trey Cabbage - Elizabethton 3B prospect and 2015 draft pick I'm rooting for the Falcons, but I think Tom and the Pats will pull it out. 31-23 Pats. Ryan Walker - Lookouts infield prospect ATL 38 NE 23. Hank Morrison - Elizabethton outfielder and 2016 draft pick I am a Steelers fan so I definitely want the Patriots to lose. I think the Patriots will lose, but I think it will be very close 24-17 Falcons! Justin Hazard - GCL Twins catcher and 2016 signee. My predictions for this Super Bowl is Falcons win 24-20. They just have too many weapons on offense and look for Sanu to have a big game with a lot of attention being paid to Julio Jones. Brandon Lopez - Kernels shortstop prospect and 2016 draft pick My prediction is 24-17. Pats take it home! Tyler Wells - Elizabethton RHP prospect and 2016 draft pick I predict that the Patriots will win by a score of 34-28 Kevin Garcia - Kernels and Miracle catching prospect I got the Patriots! It's hard to beat tom Brady although Matt Ryan will put up a fight I still believe the Patriots will come on top. DJ Baxendale - Red Wings RHP prospect My prediction for this years’ Super Bowl is the same prediction as the beginning of the NFL season. Sir Thomas Brady will lead the New England Patriots to another Super Bowl victory! David Hurlbut - Red Wings LHP prospect I have the Patriots over the Falcons 24-21. Tom Brady will seal the deal. But it will be a dogfight with Matt Ryan leading the Falcons. Randy LeBlanc - Miracle RHP prospect 31-27 Pats. Who dat! Daniel Kihle - Miracle outfield prospect and 2015 draft pick I think it's going to be a shootout with the two quarterbacks. My guess is a lot of action with the Falcons winning it late in the 4th quarter. 35-31 Falcons. Alex Kirilloff - Elizabethton outfield prospect and 2016 first-round pick 28-21 Falcons. Tom Hackimer - Kernels RH RP prospect and 2016 draft pick I've got Patriots 42, Falcons 27. Logan Darnell - free agent LHP, spent years with the Twins O'Rourke is going to hate me for this. Falcons 30 - Pats 21. Zack Jones - Lookouts RH RP prospect I want the Falcons to win, but I have the Patriots winning 31-23. Kolton Kendrick - GCL Twins 1B prospect and 2015 draft pick It's really a hard question because I want the Falcons to win, and it's going to be a great game. But I see the Patriots winning 31-24 and the Falcons jumping up early in the game. Pat Light - Twins RH RP prospect Patriots 37 Falcons 21 … Never bet against Tom Brady. Patrick McGuff - Elizabethton Twins RH RP prospect, 2016 draft pick Patriots, It would feel wrong to pick against the greatest quarterback to ever play the game. Shane Carrier - Elizabethton outfield prospect, 2016 draft pick I've got Atlanta 27, New England 24. Ryan O’Rourke - Twins Left-handed relief pitcher Pats 34, Falcons - thanks for coming. Keaton Steele - Miracle RHP prospect Brady is 4-0 all-time against Atlanta. With that being said, all streaks must come to an end just like the Cubs this past year. I've got Atlanta by a field goal. Zach Strecker - GCL Twins RH RP prospect, 2016 signee I'm hoping the Falcons win like 50-0, but I don't see that happening. But, more like a 34-31 Falcons instead is more realistic. Jake Reed - Red Wings RH RP prospect I got the Falcons! Tight end Levine Toilolo went to the same high school as I did and it would be great to see him win a championship. Travis Harrison - Lookouts Outfield Prospect Patriots 31, Falcons 28. Jeff Manship - Former Twins pitcher, recently signed to play in Korea I'm predicting the Falcons because they are such a high powered offense. Plus, I really want them to win because I like Matt Ryan and I'm sick of the Patriots always being in the Super Bowl. Hector Lujan - Elizabethton RH RP prospect and 2015 draft pick I'm taking the Patriots winning by a score of 24-17. Luke Bard - Lookouts RH RP prospect 31-27 Pats. Can't bet against Tommy. Sean Miller - Miracle infield prospect, 2015 draft pick Can't go against Tom Brady. I think it'll be a good game, but I'm taking the Patriots! Mitchell Kranson - Elizabethton C/3B prospect, 2016 draft pick I have the Patriots winning 35-30. Tyler Benninghoff - Twins RHP prospect, 2016 draft pick I got the Pats winning 31-17! Stephen Gonsalves - Lookouts LHP prospect, Twins Minor League Pitcher of the Year Atlanta 28-24. Matty Iceis going to take care of business. Anthony Slama - former Twins pitcher, Slama Time! Patriots 31-24. Ryan throws one interception, Brady throws one interception. New England will win coin toss and defer. Cody Stashak - Miracle RHP prospect I'm going to have to go with Atlanta over New England, 34-31. Callan Pearce - South African, GCL Twins RH RP prospect I'm not too clued up on the points system, but I'll have the Patriots winning 34-24. Cory Provus - Twins Radio Voice 34-24 Falcons. Austin Malinowski - Minnesotan and former LHP in Twins system Patriots by 14. Tom Brady Super Bowl MVP! Brice Zimmerman - The Voice of Miracle baseball 38-31 Falcons. #RiseUp!!!!! Dallas Gallant - Former Twins RH RP prospect Patriots win 27-20. Matt Fiedler - Minnesotan, former Gopher, Big 10 MVP, Cardinals 2016 draft pick I got the Pats winning 21-17! Alex Wimmers - Twins RH RP prospect, debuted in 2016 I'm rocking with the Patriots. I can't go against Tom Brady in Super Bowls. Even though he went to Michigan... He just plays well in big games and the Atlanta defense won't know how to stop them. The Patriots will shut down Julio and the Falcons won't make the right adjustments in which they need to. I got Patriots 31, Falcons 17 with Matt Ryan throwing a Pick-6 at the end of the game when they are trying to mount a game-tying drive at the end of the game. LaTroy Hawkins - former Twins pitcher, spent 21 years in MLB, Twins Special Assistant to Baseball Operations I'm rooting for Brady and the Pats, 27-21. Can't wait for the Commissioner to hand that trophy to Brady/Kraft. Ryan Mason - Elizabethton RHP prospect, 2016 draft pick My prediction for Sunday's Super Bowl: Patriots 27-24 over the Falcons. Go Brady! Josh Rabe - former Twins outfielder, current head coach and Quincy University Patriots 34, Atlanta 31 -- Brady and Bill will find a way. Terry Doyle - former Twins Rule 5 pick I think the Patriots win a close one. 27-24 is my guess. Dan Osterbrock - former Twins LHP prospect Patriots 31, Falcons 24. Tom Brady is the MVP and secretly spits in his hand before shaking Roger Goodell's hand (just like we used to do in Little League after a loss). Steve Blevins - former Twins RH RP prospect 31-28 Patriots. Chris Colabello - former Twins DH, recently signed with Cleveland I'm not a big prediction guy because I think the team that scores the most points will end up winning... haha (that's why they play the game) With all the bias in the world, as a Pats fan… Pats 37-21 with a garbage time TD by Atlanta. But, I actually hope it's close because Super Bowls are way better when they're down to the wire. Matt Albanese - Twins outfield prospect, 2016 draft pick Pats got it ..... Bill and Tom are winners. Todd Van Steensel - Australian, Twin RH RP prospect I reckon Patriots will win 34-17. Ethan Mildren - former Twins RHP prospect I'd like to see the Patriots lose for my beating my Steelers, but I think they are going to win 24-17. Steve Singleton - former Twins 2B prospect, currently Miracle hitting coach Atlanta 35-31. Sean Johnson - Twins Direction of Scouting I'll go 35-31 Patriots. Hard to not bet on Brady. Atlanta puts up some points but won't quite get it done. Tim Shibuya - former Twins RHP prospect Patriots win 24-17. Brian Dinkelman - former Twins 2B/OF, current Kernels hitting coach I'm going Patriots 27-23 . Late TD by Pats wins it. Austin Tribby - Elizabethton LH RP prospect, 2016 draft pick I think the Patriots will win... Tom Brady is the GOAT, and unfortunately I don't think it will be a close game. I'm calling 42-20. Dalton Hicks - Lookouts 1B prospect I think my man Tom is going to have a good day. They are going to win 24-17 ! Go Dolphins! AJ Pettersen - former Twins infield prospect, current head coach Chanhassen HS I'll take Patriots 28-17! Jake Proctor - former Twins OF prospect Pats have been there-done that far too many times. Falcons come out hot with an early lead, but Tom leads a late comeback to remind people. He's the GOAT. Patriots 31, Falcons 28. Isaiah Aluko - GCL Twins outfield prospect, 2016 signee Yes, I am. My prediction is that the Falcons will win 27-24 on a last minute field goal. #Riseup Jacque Jones - former Twins outfielder, current Nationals assistant hitting coach Don't really care who wins. Just wanna see an exciting game. Tyler Beardsley - Kernels RHP prospect, 2016 draft pick Patriots 34-31. Chris Mazza - former Twins RHP prospect, currently in Marlins system Falcons 36-27, and Jones will have over 150 yards receiving and 2 TDs. Griffin Jax - Twins RHP prospect, 2016 draft pick I really do not care who wins. I just love watching football and am excited for a good game! John Curtiss - Miracle RH RP prospect I think the Patriots are gonna win! I like Brady a lot, respect that guy. AJ Achter - former Twins pitcher, currently with the Detroit Tigers I'll go Pats 28-24. As much as I dislike them because I'm a Bills fan, I can't go against Brady, the best QB of all-time, and I believe he will get his 5th ring. Niko Goodrum - Lookouts IF/OF prospect Of course I'm riding with my home team. Falcons all day, every day! Trey Vavra - Miracle 1B prospect They destroyed the Packers... my heart is broke. Go Falcons! 27-23. Austin Diemer - Miracle OF prospect 31-28 Patriots... going to be a competitive game but Brady won't let his boys lose! Logan Lombana - Miracle RH RP prospect Pats 34-31! Trevor Plouffe - former Twins 3B, recently signed with the Oakland A's Patriots 38-35 Dave St. Peter - Minnesota Twins President New England 30, Atlanta 27 (Overtime) Robby Incmikoski - former FSN reporter, now at Root Sports in Pittsburgh Matt Ryan and Julio Jones are playing in their own world right now and everyone else is just a spectator, and it's fun to watch! But here's the rub: I have a REALLY hard time betting against Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. I predict a high-scoring, entertaining game.....and a 34-31 Patriots win! Trevor Hildenberger - Lookouts RH RP prospect (two-time Twins Daily Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Year) I think the Pats win by a touchdown or 2. When you give Belichick time to prepare, it helps the Patriots take away what the other team does best. I think the Pats slow down the Falcons enough to win Tommy Watkins - former Twins player, current Kernels manager Patriots 24-21. Will Hurt - former Twins infield prospect Patriots! Michael Theofanopoulos - Miracle LH RP prospect I have Falcons 34, Patriots 28. LaMonte Wade - Miracle outfield prospect Pats 28 Falcons 21. This page will continue to be updated until the Super Bowl starts late Sunday afternoon. As of right now, here is how our picks are leaning. Patriots 59, Falcons 25
  18. Apparently there is a big football game on Sunday in Houston. The Super Bowl will pit the Atlanta Falcons against the New England Patriots. That has nothing to do with the Twins, or really even with baseball, but like a million-billion people are going to watch it. They watch it for the football, or for the commercials, or maybe even just for the halftime show. But everyone has an opinion. So, I reached out to a ton of current, former and future Minnesota Twins players to get their thoughts on the big game.This page will be updated frequently throughout the day, right up until the start of the Super Bowl. Below you will find the picks of over 70 Twins-related people. Be sure to post your predictions in the comments below. Let's get to the picks: Seth Stohs - Twins Daily Falcons 37, Patriots 20 This is a tough one. First, I will always root for whoever Tom Brady and the Patriots are playing… But, I also would love to see Roger Goodell have to hand over the Lombardi Trophy to Robert Kraft and Tom Brady. But I also think that the Falcons offense will dominate a lot. Jeremy Nygaard - Twins Daily Falcons 28, Patriots 20. Eric Pleiss - Twins Daily Falcons 27, Pats 24 Juan Gamez - GCL pitcher and 2016 draft pick Patriots are winning it 24-21! Tom Brady is by far the greatest player in NFL history! Zack Granite - Chattanooga outfielder, Twins Minor League Player of the Year The final score will be 31-26 Patriots. As good as Atlanta’s offense is I think the Patriots slow them down. My MVP is LaGarrette Blount as he rushes for 146 yards and 3 touchdowns. Book it Lean Marrero - GCL Twins outfield prospect, 2015 draft pick 33-20 Patriots, Brady 320 yards, 3TD Casey Scoggins - Kernels outfielder and 2016 draft pick I'm tired of New England winning, and I'm not a fan of them even though Brady and his squad are solid. I think Matt Ryan and Atlanta have something special this year. So I'm going to say: 35-28 Atlanta wins on a late score in the 4th. Aaron Whitefield - GCL Twins prospect from Australia I'm going Patriots, cause Brady is a stud but low scoring game! 20-7. Travis Blankenhorn - Kernels 2B prospect and 2015 draft pick I'm going to have to go with 28-24 Patriots. Trey Cabbage - Elizabethton 3B prospect and 2015 draft pick I'm rooting for the Falcons, but I think Tom and the Pats will pull it out. 31-23 Pats. Ryan Walker - Lookouts infield prospect ATL 38 NE 23. Hank Morrison - Elizabethton outfielder and 2016 draft pick I am a Steelers fan so I definitely want the Patriots to lose. I think the Patriots will lose, but I think it will be very close 24-17 Falcons! Justin Hazard - GCL Twins catcher and 2016 signee. My predictions for this Super Bowl is Falcons win 24-20. They just have too many weapons on offense and look for Sanu to have a big game with a lot of attention being paid to Julio Jones. Brandon Lopez - Kernels shortstop prospect and 2016 draft pick My prediction is 24-17. Pats take it home! Tyler Wells - Elizabethton RHP prospect and 2016 draft pick I predict that the Patriots will win by a score of 34-28 Kevin Garcia - Kernels and Miracle catching prospect I got the Patriots! It's hard to beat tom Brady although Matt Ryan will put up a fight I still believe the Patriots will come on top. DJ Baxendale - Red Wings RHP prospect My prediction for this years’ Super Bowl is the same prediction as the beginning of the NFL season. Sir Thomas Brady will lead the New England Patriots to another Super Bowl victory! David Hurlbut - Red Wings LHP prospect I have the Patriots over the Falcons 24-21. Tom Brady will seal the deal. But it will be a dogfight with Matt Ryan leading the Falcons. Randy LeBlanc - Miracle RHP prospect 31-27 Pats. Who dat! Daniel Kihle - Miracle outfield prospect and 2015 draft pick I think it's going to be a shootout with the two quarterbacks. My guess is a lot of action with the Falcons winning it late in the 4th quarter. 35-31 Falcons. Alex Kirilloff - Elizabethton outfield prospect and 2016 first-round pick 28-21 Falcons. Tom Hackimer - Kernels RH RP prospect and 2016 draft pick I've got Patriots 42, Falcons 27. Logan Darnell - free agent LHP, spent years with the Twins O'Rourke is going to hate me for this. Falcons 30 - Pats 21. Zack Jones - Lookouts RH RP prospect I want the Falcons to win, but I have the Patriots winning 31-23. Kolton Kendrick - GCL Twins 1B prospect and 2015 draft pick It's really a hard question because I want the Falcons to win, and it's going to be a great game. But I see the Patriots winning 31-24 and the Falcons jumping up early in the game. Pat Light - Twins RH RP prospect Patriots 37 Falcons 21 … Never bet against Tom Brady. Patrick McGuff - Elizabethton Twins RH RP prospect, 2016 draft pick Patriots, It would feel wrong to pick against the greatest quarterback to ever play the game. Shane Carrier - Elizabethton outfield prospect, 2016 draft pick I've got Atlanta 27, New England 24. Ryan O’Rourke - Twins Left-handed relief pitcher Pats 34, Falcons - thanks for coming. Keaton Steele - Miracle RHP prospect Brady is 4-0 all-time against Atlanta. With that being said, all streaks must come to an end just like the Cubs this past year. I've got Atlanta by a field goal. Zach Strecker - GCL Twins RH RP prospect, 2016 signee I'm hoping the Falcons win like 50-0, but I don't see that happening. But, more like a 34-31 Falcons instead is more realistic. Jake Reed - Red Wings RH RP prospect I got the Falcons! Tight end Levine Toilolo went to the same high school as I did and it would be great to see him win a championship. Travis Harrison - Lookouts Outfield Prospect Patriots 31, Falcons 28. Jeff Manship - Former Twins pitcher, recently signed to play in Korea I'm predicting the Falcons because they are such a high powered offense. Plus, I really want them to win because I like Matt Ryan and I'm sick of the Patriots always being in the Super Bowl. Hector Lujan - Elizabethton RH RP prospect and 2015 draft pick I'm taking the Patriots winning by a score of 24-17. Luke Bard - Lookouts RH RP prospect 31-27 Pats. Can't bet against Tommy. Sean Miller - Miracle infield prospect, 2015 draft pick Can't go against Tom Brady. I think it'll be a good game, but I'm taking the Patriots! Mitchell Kranson - Elizabethton C/3B prospect, 2016 draft pick I have the Patriots winning 35-30. Tyler Benninghoff - Twins RHP prospect, 2016 draft pick I got the Pats winning 31-17! Stephen Gonsalves - Lookouts LHP prospect, Twins Minor League Pitcher of the Year Atlanta 28-24. Matty Iceis going to take care of business. Anthony Slama - former Twins pitcher, Slama Time! Patriots 31-24. Ryan throws one interception, Brady throws one interception. New England will win coin toss and defer. Cody Stashak - Miracle RHP prospect I'm going to have to go with Atlanta over New England, 34-31. Callan Pearce - South African, GCL Twins RH RP prospect I'm not too clued up on the points system, but I'll have the Patriots winning 34-24. Cory Provus - Twins Radio Voice 34-24 Falcons. Austin Malinowski - Minnesotan and former LHP in Twins system Patriots by 14. Tom Brady Super Bowl MVP! Brice Zimmerman - The Voice of Miracle baseball 38-31 Falcons. #RiseUp!!!!! Dallas Gallant - Former Twins RH RP prospect Patriots win 27-20. Matt Fiedler - Minnesotan, former Gopher, Big 10 MVP, Cardinals 2016 draft pick I got the Pats winning 21-17! Alex Wimmers - Twins RH RP prospect, debuted in 2016 I'm rocking with the Patriots. I can't go against Tom Brady in Super Bowls. Even though he went to Michigan... He just plays well in big games and the Atlanta defense won't know how to stop them. The Patriots will shut down Julio and the Falcons won't make the right adjustments in which they need to. I got Patriots 31, Falcons 17 with Matt Ryan throwing a Pick-6 at the end of the game when they are trying to mount a game-tying drive at the end of the game. LaTroy Hawkins - former Twins pitcher, spent 21 years in MLB, Twins Special Assistant to Baseball Operations I'm rooting for Brady and the Pats, 27-21. Can't wait for the Commissioner to hand that trophy to Brady/Kraft. Ryan Mason - Elizabethton RHP prospect, 2016 draft pick My prediction for Sunday's Super Bowl: Patriots 27-24 over the Falcons. Go Brady! Josh Rabe - former Twins outfielder, current head coach and Quincy University Patriots 34, Atlanta 31 -- Brady and Bill will find a way. Terry Doyle - former Twins Rule 5 pick I think the Patriots win a close one. 27-24 is my guess. Dan Osterbrock - former Twins LHP prospect Patriots 31, Falcons 24. Tom Brady is the MVP and secretly spits in his hand before shaking Roger Goodell's hand (just like we used to do in Little League after a loss). Steve Blevins - former Twins RH RP prospect 31-28 Patriots. Chris Colabello - former Twins DH, recently signed with Cleveland I'm not a big prediction guy because I think the team that scores the most points will end up winning... haha (that's why they play the game) With all the bias in the world, as a Pats fan… Pats 37-21 with a garbage time TD by Atlanta. But, I actually hope it's close because Super Bowls are way better when they're down to the wire. Matt Albanese - Twins outfield prospect, 2016 draft pick Pats got it ..... Bill and Tom are winners. Todd Van Steensel - Australian, Twin RH RP prospect I reckon Patriots will win 34-17. Ethan Mildren - former Twins RHP prospect I'd like to see the Patriots lose for my beating my Steelers, but I think they are going to win 24-17. Steve Singleton - former Twins 2B prospect, currently Miracle hitting coach Atlanta 35-31. Sean Johnson - Twins Direction of Scouting I'll go 35-31 Patriots. Hard to not bet on Brady. Atlanta puts up some points but won't quite get it done. Tim Shibuya - former Twins RHP prospect Patriots win 24-17. Brian Dinkelman - former Twins 2B/OF, current Kernels hitting coach I'm going Patriots 27-23 . Late TD by Pats wins it. Austin Tribby - Elizabethton LH RP prospect, 2016 draft pick I think the Patriots will win... Tom Brady is the GOAT, and unfortunately I don't think it will be a close game. I'm calling 42-20. Dalton Hicks - Lookouts 1B prospect I think my man Tom is going to have a good day. They are going to win 24-17 ! Go Dolphins! AJ Pettersen - former Twins infield prospect, current head coach Chanhassen HS I'll take Patriots 28-17! Jake Proctor - former Twins OF prospect Pats have been there-done that far too many times. Falcons come out hot with an early lead, but Tom leads a late comeback to remind people. He's the GOAT. Patriots 31, Falcons 28. Isaiah Aluko - GCL Twins outfield prospect, 2016 signee Yes, I am. My prediction is that the Falcons will win 27-24 on a last minute field goal. #Riseup Jacque Jones - former Twins outfielder, current Nationals assistant hitting coach Don't really care who wins. Just wanna see an exciting game. Tyler Beardsley - Kernels RHP prospect, 2016 draft pick Patriots 34-31. Chris Mazza - former Twins RHP prospect, currently in Marlins system Falcons 36-27, and Jones will have over 150 yards receiving and 2 TDs. Griffin Jax - Twins RHP prospect, 2016 draft pick I really do not care who wins. I just love watching football and am excited for a good game! John Curtiss - Miracle RH RP prospect I think the Patriots are gonna win! I like Brady a lot, respect that guy. AJ Achter - former Twins pitcher, currently with the Detroit Tigers I'll go Pats 28-24. As much as I dislike them because I'm a Bills fan, I can't go against Brady, the best QB of all-time, and I believe he will get his 5th ring. Niko Goodrum - Lookouts IF/OF prospect Of course I'm riding with my home team. Falcons all day, every day! Trey Vavra - Miracle 1B prospect They destroyed the Packers... my heart is broke. Go Falcons! 27-23. Austin Diemer - Miracle OF prospect 31-28 Patriots... going to be a competitive game but Brady won't let his boys lose! Logan Lombana - Miracle RH RP prospect Pats 34-31! Trevor Plouffe - former Twins 3B, recently signed with the Oakland A's Patriots 38-35 Dave St. Peter - Minnesota Twins President New England 30, Atlanta 27 (Overtime) Robby Incmikoski - former FSN reporter, now at Root Sports in Pittsburgh Matt Ryan and Julio Jones are playing in their own world right now and everyone else is just a spectator, and it's fun to watch! But here's the rub: I have a REALLY hard time betting against Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. I predict a high-scoring, entertaining game.....and a 34-31 Patriots win! Trevor Hildenberger - Lookouts RH RP prospect (two-time Twins Daily Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Year) I think the Pats win by a touchdown or 2. When you give Belichick time to prepare, it helps the Patriots take away what the other team does best. I think the Pats slow down the Falcons enough to win Tommy Watkins - former Twins player, current Kernels manager Patriots 24-21. Will Hurt - former Twins infield prospect Patriots! Michael Theofanopoulos - Miracle LH RP prospect I have Falcons 34, Patriots 28. LaMonte Wade - Miracle outfield prospect Pats 28 Falcons 21. This page will continue to be updated until the Super Bowl starts late Sunday afternoon. As of right now, here is how our picks are leaning. Patriots 59, Falcons 25 Click here to view the article
  19. http://traffic.libsyn.com/gleemangeek/Episode_295_2017-02-02.mp3
  20. Aaron and John preview the Twins rotation battles, evaluate available free agent starting pitchers, recap the overwhelming response to the Winter Meltdown, evaluate the trade the Dodgers DID make and recap Aaron's successful battle with telephobia. You can listen by downloading us from iTunes, Stitcher or find it at GleemanAndTheGeek.com. Or just click this link. Click here to view the article
  21. Aaron and John are at Twins Daily's Winter Meltdown with Twins Special Assistant LaTroy Hawkins and Director of Baseball Research Jack Goin as well as the Twins Daily crew and emcee David Sitrick. You can listen by downloading us from iTunes, Stitcher or find it at GleemanAndTheGeek.com. Or just click this link. PLAY THE EPISODE Click here to view the article
  22. On Monday morning, the Minnesota Twins made it official that Michael Cuddyer, Torii Hunter and LaTroy Hawkins were coming back to the organization. No, they aren’t going to come out of retirement. Though all three could probably still contribute in some way on the field, they are going to attempt to help the Twins off the field and in the front office. I’m not sure when the “bringing back the gang” saying became a negative thing. I believe it was when the Twins decided to bring back Jason Kubel and Matt Guerrier on minor league deals before the 2014 season. Both were veterans who had solid MLB careers but were both coming off of injuries. The Twins took a chance on both, hoping they might be back at 100% and able to contribute. In both cases, it really didn’t work. A year later, the Twins brought Torii Hunter back for one more season. He had his ups and downs on the field that season, but few can question the impact he had in the clubhouse, even if you struggle to believe in the value of veteran leadership. The negative tone some chose to take for such signings went to a ridiculous level in the last year or so. When the Twins were looking to hire a manager, some didn’t want Paul Molitor. Maybe those people were right, but if the reasoning was because of his previous time with the Twins, then that just isn’t right. Even worse, Chip Hale was also considered a candidate early in the process. Some didn’t like that because he played for the Twins, about 20 years ago. Or, when the Twins were looking for a pitching coach two years ago, some said that Frank Viola shouldn’t be considered because he played for the organization, 25 years ago. Forget that he helped develop the likes of Matt Harvey, Jacob DeGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz and the like. How about when the Twins were looking for a new GM (which became a new GM and Chief Baseball Operator)? I remember reading somewhere that the Twins probably shouldn’t consider someone like Randy Bush because he played for the Twins for several years in the 1980s and was on two championship teams. It would be Bringing Back The Gang, right? Again, ignore the fact that he hasn’t played in the organization for 25 years, and he’s not only coached in college but has been an assistant GM with the Cubs since long before the Theo Epstein reign began.All Major League organizations bring back players in an “assistant” type of role. The Twins have done that for guys like Rod Carew, Kent Hrbek and Tony Oliva. They represent the organization at events like Twins Fest. They may show up for a while at spring training and other special events. That is a wonderful thing and something current players should appreciate. Last spring training, LaTroy Hawkins, Torii Hunter and Rick Aguilera each spent time in big league spring training. With today’s announcement, Cuddyer, Hunter and Hawkins will do that. They’ll be at spring training. They’ll help Paul Molitor with instruction, if asked. They’ll also be there to lend an ear to the players at camp. They’ll share stories. They’ll share things they learned in their careers. But they’ll do much more in their roles as special assistants. As Derek Falvey noted in his introductory comments of Monday’s press conference, “Each guy will play a meaningful role in our baseball operation moving forward. That spans across baseball operations, decisions that we make on a day-to-day, but also in player development, amateur scouting, how we transition players to the major leagues, and ultimately how we impact our culture here in Minnesota to get to where we want to be as a team.” In their introductory press conference earlier in the month, Thad Levine indicated that long-time Rangers players Michael Young and Darren Oliver hold similar roles in that organization. It isn’t just a token title, but a role where their input will be valued. Likewise in the Cleveland organization, former players such as Travis Hafner have a similar role. But one thing was clear from the press conference on Monday afternoon, the Twins had a great culture at the turn of the century and through those division-winning years. As Michael Cuddyer noted, it was a based on a “belief in teammates and self.” Cuddyer noted that it was a culture of team-first, and a culture of winning, throughout the organization, that helped lead to their MLB success. He exemplified the unselfishness of those teams with his willingness to play anywhere on the diamond that he was needed. “That is a culture that is established with rookie ball. Professional baseball is a system set up for self-promotion. I think a lot of the players buy into that. When I was coming up through the minor leagues we wanted to win the Eastern League. We wanted to win the Florida State League. We wanted to play that extra week or two weeks of the minor league season. When I would go down on rehab after a few years of being in the big leagues, I didn’t see that anymore. I would see more guys saying, 'I can’t wait to go home,' or 'I better get called up.' I-I-I-I… I think that’s a culture that can get put back into it, but it has to start in the lower minor league levels, the culture of We are going to win. We move up to the Florida State League, we’re going to win there too. We get called up to the Southern League, we’re going to win there too. When we move up to the International League, we’re going to win there too. And you know what, when we move up to the big leagues, we’re going to win there too. That’s a culture that needs to be developed again.” For what it’s worth, the Twins have seemingly developed a culture of winning in the minor leagues. In 2016, the Twins had a winning percentage of .542 for their four full-season affiliates. That was good for fifth place among big league organizations. If you want to take that out to the past four seasons, the Twins four, full-season affiliates have combined to go 1,225-1,020, a 54.6% winning percentage, third best in baseball over that stretch. Add to that, the Twins have been 1st, 3rd and 3rd in FIP (fielding independent pitching) the last three years. Brad Steil has certainly led the Twins organization and minor league system in the right direction. It also speaks well of the young talent that Terry Ryan was able to bring in to the organization. It’s that culture of winning and togetherness that brings these guys back to the organization. Cuddyer was the Twins first-round pick in 1997 out of high school in Norfolk, Virginia. He remained in the organization through the 2011 season. He played in 1,139 games in a Twins uniform. He hit a combined .272/.343/.451 (.794) with 239 doubles and 141 home runs for the Twins. He went to one All-Star Game as a Twins player (his final season). He went to Colorado where he went to another All-Star Game and won the 2013 batting title with a .331 average. He played in the 2015 World Series for the Mets. Injuries and a desire to spend more time with his family are the reasons he decided to retire following that season. LaTroy Hawkins was the Twins seventh-round pick in 1991 out of high school in Gary, Indiana. He was in the Twins organization through the 2003 season. He spent 21 seasons in the big leagues and only nine pitchers in MLB history pitched in more games than Hawkins’ 1,042. For the Twins, he struggled as a starter, and he struggled as a closer. Late in his time in the organization, he moved to a set up role, and his career took off. Torii Hunter was the Twins first-round pick in 1993 out of high school in Little Rock, Arkansas. He stayed in the organization through the 2007 season. He took a huge money deal to play five years for the Angels and then two years with the Tigers. He returned to the organization for the 2015 season. In all, he hit .268/.321/.462 (.783) with 281 doubles and 215 homer runs in 1,373 games over 12 years with the Twins. All three experienced a lot of frustrations in their careers (injuries, struggles, demotions, etc.), and all three experienced longevity and a lot of successes in their careers. All three were and are greatly respected by their peers. All three of them give credit to the Minnesota Twins organization for who they were on and off the field. So when the Twins called offering these positions, it was an easy choice for each. Cuddyer said, “There was really only one team that I saw myself ever being affiliated with again at this level in this early stage of my retirement, and that was the Twins. When this opportunity came about, I was excited to get join back in the organization. The organization made such a huge impact to me, a huge impact to myself and my family. This was the organization I wanted to be affiliate if I was going to do anything other than be with my family.” Hunter added “When I came back to retire, I was here to stay for life. The reason why I am here is because of the passion I have for this organization, the love that I have for this organization. And also wanting this organization to be a championship ball club and have a great atmosphere. That’s what I’m here for. It’s not work for me. It’s something I want to do. It’s a passion for me. Hawkins noted that he had several other similar offers, but “Once the Twins offer came, there wasn’t any other place I wanted to be. Home. Where it all started. I was very excited when I got the call about possibly joining the Twins family again.” Chief Baseball Operator Derek Falvey called it a perfect match. He said, “It became so clear that these three wanted to embed themselves in our baseball culture and be a part of the solution and actively work. There’s really no area of baseball operations that these guys aren’t going to hit. And they’re going to be resources for Thad (Levine), for me, and for the rest of the guys here to play a meaningful role in what we’re building. (It wasn’t specifically) about getting former Twins players. We want good people, people who care about the development of where we’re going as an organization. It helps greatly when you have three guys who care as deeply as these three do about the team, so this was a perfect match as we started to work down that path.” Bringing Back the Band doesn’t have to have the negative connotation that some seem to put on it. This is a case where the organization should be thrilled to bring back these three guys. They have represented the Twins organization well. They have always been appreciative of what the organization did for them and their families. All three are well known for giving back to their communities, and now are excited to give back to the Twins organization. It’s exciting that they aren’t going to be just “token” special assistants and want to be active. It’ll be interesting to see and hear how that will play out over the coming years. Click here to view the article
  23. All Major League organizations bring back players in an “assistant” type of role. The Twins have done that for guys like Rod Carew, Kent Hrbek and Tony Oliva. They represent the organization at events like Twins Fest. They may show up for a while at spring training and other special events. That is a wonderful thing and something current players should appreciate. Last spring training, LaTroy Hawkins, Torii Hunter and Rick Aguilera each spent time in big league spring training. With today’s announcement, Cuddyer, Hunter and Hawkins will do that. They’ll be at spring training. They’ll help Paul Molitor with instruction, if asked. They’ll also be there to lend an ear to the players at camp. They’ll share stories. They’ll share things they learned in their careers. But they’ll do much more in their roles as special assistants. As Derek Falvey noted in his introductory comments of Monday’s press conference, “Each guy will play a meaningful role in our baseball operation moving forward. That spans across baseball operations, decisions that we make on a day-to-day, but also in player development, amateur scouting, how we transition players to the major leagues, and ultimately how we impact our culture here in Minnesota to get to where we want to be as a team.” In their introductory press conference earlier in the month, Thad Levine indicated that long-time Rangers players Michael Young and Darren Oliver hold similar roles in that organization. It isn’t just a token title, but a role where their input will be valued. Likewise in the Cleveland organization, former players such as Travis Hafner have a similar role. But one thing was clear from the press conference on Monday afternoon, the Twins had a great culture at the turn of the century and through those division-winning years. As Michael Cuddyer noted, it was a based on a “belief in teammates and self.” Cuddyer noted that it was a culture of team-first, and a culture of winning, throughout the organization, that helped lead to their MLB success. He exemplified the unselfishness of those teams with his willingness to play anywhere on the diamond that he was needed. “That is a culture that is established with rookie ball. Professional baseball is a system set up for self-promotion. I think a lot of the players buy into that. When I was coming up through the minor leagues we wanted to win the Eastern League. We wanted to win the Florida State League. We wanted to play that extra week or two weeks of the minor league season. When I would go down on rehab after a few years of being in the big leagues, I didn’t see that anymore. I would see more guys saying, 'I can’t wait to go home,' or 'I better get called up.' I-I-I-I… I think that’s a culture that can get put back into it, but it has to start in the lower minor league levels, the culture of We are going to win. We move up to the Florida State League, we’re going to win there too. We get called up to the Southern League, we’re going to win there too. When we move up to the International League, we’re going to win there too. And you know what, when we move up to the big leagues, we’re going to win there too. That’s a culture that needs to be developed again.” For what it’s worth, the Twins have seemingly developed a culture of winning in the minor leagues. In 2016, the Twins had a winning percentage of .542 for their four full-season affiliates. That was good for fifth place among big league organizations. If you want to take that out to the past four seasons, the Twins four, full-season affiliates have combined to go 1,225-1,020, a 54.6% winning percentage, third best in baseball over that stretch. Add to that, the Twins have been 1st, 3rd and 3rd in FIP (fielding independent pitching) the last three years. Brad Steil has certainly led the Twins organization and minor league system in the right direction. It also speaks well of the young talent that Terry Ryan was able to bring in to the organization. It’s that culture of winning and togetherness that brings these guys back to the organization. Cuddyer was the Twins first-round pick in 1997 out of high school in Norfolk, Virginia. He remained in the organization through the 2011 season. He played in 1,139 games in a Twins uniform. He hit a combined .272/.343/.451 (.794) with 239 doubles and 141 home runs for the Twins. He went to one All-Star Game as a Twins player (his final season). He went to Colorado where he went to another All-Star Game and won the 2013 batting title with a .331 average. He played in the 2015 World Series for the Mets. Injuries and a desire to spend more time with his family are the reasons he decided to retire following that season. LaTroy Hawkins was the Twins seventh-round pick in 1991 out of high school in Gary, Indiana. He was in the Twins organization through the 2003 season. He spent 21 seasons in the big leagues and only nine pitchers in MLB history pitched in more games than Hawkins’ 1,042. For the Twins, he struggled as a starter, and he struggled as a closer. Late in his time in the organization, he moved to a set up role, and his career took off. Torii Hunter was the Twins first-round pick in 1993 out of high school in Little Rock, Arkansas. He stayed in the organization through the 2007 season. He took a huge money deal to play five years for the Angels and then two years with the Tigers. He returned to the organization for the 2015 season. In all, he hit .268/.321/.462 (.783) with 281 doubles and 215 homer runs in 1,373 games over 12 years with the Twins. All three experienced a lot of frustrations in their careers (injuries, struggles, demotions, etc.), and all three experienced longevity and a lot of successes in their careers. All three were and are greatly respected by their peers. All three of them give credit to the Minnesota Twins organization for who they were on and off the field. So when the Twins called offering these positions, it was an easy choice for each. Cuddyer said, “There was really only one team that I saw myself ever being affiliated with again at this level in this early stage of my retirement, and that was the Twins. When this opportunity came about, I was excited to get join back in the organization. The organization made such a huge impact to me, a huge impact to myself and my family. This was the organization I wanted to be affiliate if I was going to do anything other than be with my family.” Hunter added “When I came back to retire, I was here to stay for life. The reason why I am here is because of the passion I have for this organization, the love that I have for this organization. And also wanting this organization to be a championship ball club and have a great atmosphere. That’s what I’m here for. It’s not work for me. It’s something I want to do. It’s a passion for me. Hawkins noted that he had several other similar offers, but “Once the Twins offer came, there wasn’t any other place I wanted to be. Home. Where it all started. I was very excited when I got the call about possibly joining the Twins family again.” Chief Baseball Operator Derek Falvey called it a perfect match. He said, “It became so clear that these three wanted to embed themselves in our baseball culture and be a part of the solution and actively work. There’s really no area of baseball operations that these guys aren’t going to hit. And they’re going to be resources for Thad (Levine), for me, and for the rest of the guys here to play a meaningful role in what we’re building. (It wasn’t specifically) about getting former Twins players. We want good people, people who care about the development of where we’re going as an organization. It helps greatly when you have three guys who care as deeply as these three do about the team, so this was a perfect match as we started to work down that path.” Bringing Back the Band doesn’t have to have the negative connotation that some seem to put on it. This is a case where the organization should be thrilled to bring back these three guys. They have represented the Twins organization well. They have always been appreciative of what the organization did for them and their families. All three are well known for giving back to their communities, and now are excited to give back to the Twins organization. It’s exciting that they aren’t going to be just “token” special assistants and want to be active. It’ll be interesting to see and hear how that will play out over the coming years.
  24. http://i1074.photobucket.com/albums/w413/mjohnso9/20160430_104657_zpswsn6rbqy.jpg May 5th It’s the Birthday of Larry Hisle It’s the birthday of Larry Hisle, born on this day in 1942 in Portsmouth, OH. The 14-year Major Leaguer played five seasons for the Twins, from 1973 to ‘77 when he hit .302 with 28 home runs and an American League-leading 119 RBI. In 2010, Fox Sports North included Hisle among their “50 Greatest Twins.” Hisle was the hitting coach for the back-to-back World Series champion Toronto Blue Jays in 1992 and ‘93. In ‘93 the Blue Jays’ John Olerud, Paul Molitor and Roberto Alomar had the first, second and third best batting averages in the American League. Hisle is currently the Milwaukee Brewers’ Manager of Youth Outreach. May 5, 2001 LaTroy Hawkins Blows First Save After Record Streak On a Saturday night in Kansas City, the first place (20-8) Twins handed LaTroy Hawkins a 10-8 lead in the bottom of the ninth. Hawkins had converted the first 23 save opportunities of his career, an MLB record. After pulling within a run on a sacrifice fly, however, former Twin David McCarty tied the game with a two-out, line drive single to center, scoring Jermaine Dye. With McCarty aboard in the twelfth, Royals outfielder Dee Brown hit a walk-off home run off of Travis Miller. http://i1074.photobucket.com/albums/w413/mjohnso9/20160430_103847_zpsqmjepuuy.jpg May 6, 2011 Twins Score Two Runs on Balks The Twins scored two runs on balks en route to a 9-2 win over the Red Sox at Fenway. In the second inning, Denard Span scored on a Tim Wakefield balk, after which manager Terry Francona was ejected. Up 8-2 in the sixth, Trevor Plouffe scored the Twins' second run on a balk, this time by Alfredo Aceves. May 6, 2015 Eddie Rosario Homers on First MLB Pitch Leading off the bottom of the third against Oakland’s Scott Kazmir at Target Field, Eddie Rosario hit the first pitch he saw in the Major Leagues for an opposite field home run. He was hitless in three subsequent at-bats. The Twins went on to beat Oakland 13-0. http://i1074.photobucket.com/albums/w413/mjohnso9/Rosario.2015Topps_zpsn20jsyqv.jpg Six Twins have homered in their first Major League at-bat: Rick Renick, Dave McKay, Gary Gaetti, Andre David, Luke Hughes and Rosario. Fifteen players in the history of Major League Baseball have homered on their first big league pitch. In 2010, Boston’s Daniel Nava hit a grand slam on his first Major League pitch. In 1981, in the span of less than a month, Kent Hrbek, Tim Laudner and Gary Gaetti each homered in their first Major League game. Keep in touch with the Twins Almanac on Facebook, and by following @Twins Almanac on Twitter.
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