From Lew Ford, Doug Mientkiewicz, all the way back to Juan Berenguer with the 1987 World Series team, there always seems to be that character player on the Twins that the fan base falls in love with. The current player that fits the mold of fan favorite is Pat Neshek. Neshek has missed part or all of the last two seasons after having to undergo elbow surgery. His road back to the major league team has been filled with its' share of bumps and bruises but recent news makes it sounds like he is ready to once again become a fan favorite.
There are many things that draw fans to Pat Neshek. He stays close to his fans by keeping his own blog (On the Road With Pat Neshek) and he does this in a way that makes you feel like he is just a regular guy that happens to be playing in the major leagues. Another things that makes the fans feel more connected to Neshek is the fact that he grew up in the Twins Cities area. Anytime that you have a player that succeeds with his hometown team, it becomes a feel good story. The way that Neshek pitches also draws a fan base across Twins Territory. As it has with many side-arm pitchers in the past, his side-winding hurls of the baseball draw a cult following.
Pat has been rehabbing and training in Florida since his surgery on his arm was complete. The post that he wrote on his website yesterday sounds very promising. His fastball was hitting close to 90 mph and his slider had some of the bite back that he had been missing. The bullpen for the Twins is already strong but with the return of Neshek the Twins will have a fan favorite back in fold. His first run from the outfield bullpen at Target Field will be something to remember after his long road back.