Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Fargo Twins Caravan Recap

The weather outside is frightful so there is nothing that warms the soul like thinking about the up-coming baseball season.

Monday marked the kickoff what has become an annual event in many Twins Territory communities, the Twins Winter Caravan. Current and former members of the Twins spend time visiting schools, hospitals, and end the night with a "hot stove" program. This year's caravan includes stops in over 40 communities 

For the third consecutive year, I attended the caravan stop in Fargo, ND. This year's line-up of guests included current pitchers Kyle Gibson and Caleb Thielbar, former outfielder and current broadcaster Dan Gladden, as well as Dave St. Peter, the team's president. 

Doors of the Avalon Event Center opened at 5:00 pm with the main program beginning at 6:30 pm. This allowed fans to enjoy a ballpark meal with a hot dog, chips, and soda. While fans were stuffing their faces, Game 7 of the 1987 World Series was being projected for the crowd.

Once the main event started, a video highlighting the changes with the Twins played. Paul Molitor, Torii Hunter, and Ervin Santana were featured heavily as well as a dose of hope by focusing on the young players poised to take the next step in 2015.

The question and answer session can provide a few insights into the minds of the players during the off-season. Gibson said he's already talked to new pitching coach Neil Allen. Allen is excited to work with Gibson on his change-up and he sees the right-hander as a comparable pitcher to James Shields. Gibson looked great and he seems ready to build off of his 2014 campaign.

Thielbar offered up some entertaining stories of life as a bullpen pitcher. There's a lot of free time for these players and this can lead to plenty of high jinks. Apparently Casey Fien think he's the prank master and the rest of the bullpen is just his "puppets." It sounds like the other pitchers put him in his place with the help of Gibson and Thielbar.

St. Peter offered up the usual front office comments. Fans shouldn't worry about the payroll because the team needs to make better baseball decisions. Ricky Nolasco has to pitch better. Fans shouldn't expect to see Miguel Sano in the big leagues to start the year. He expects the team to be improved and it's all about the team playing meaningful games in August and September.

The night concluded with prize drawings and the usually autograph line. In my three years of attending the event in Fargo this was the least attended event. However the draw of Tony Oliva and Bert Blyleven in previous years probably brought a boost in the crowd. Overall, the event is an entertains time for fans and it helps to get Twins Territory ready for the approaching season.


Anonymous said...

"Fans should expect to see Miguel Sano in the big leagues to start the year."

Wait, what?

Anonymous said...

I wish I had gone now, only so that I could have asked the pitchers opinions on how much the WELL below average defense hurt the team last year and their thoughts about the FO ignoring that this off season.

Did that come up at all?

NoDak Twins Fan said...

It should have said "shouldn't"

NoDak Twins Fan said...

No. It's mostly fluffy questions from the audience.

Nate said...

Easy to go on the internet and ask "how much the WELL below average defense hurt the team last year and their thoughts about the FO ignoring that this off season." I would have loved to see anonymous guy stand up with a mic and ask that question face to face. Easy being a tough guy on here, just like it was easy to type this on here for me.

Anonymous said...

Nate, troll much?