ROCHESTER, Minn. - Lots of laughs were shared at Rochester’s Empire Events Center as the Twins Winter Caravan made a stop in the Med City on Wednesday.
We spend a large chunk of the year watching these athletes and broadcasters on television or at Target Field. It’s nights like this one that reminds us they are not just numbers on a jersey, a name on a roster, or a voice in the booth.
“I didn’t know much about Minnesota before I got drafted. I knew it was cold, knew it was snowy and thought there might be penguins up here,” laughed catcher Ryan Jeffers.
There were plenty of laughs to go around as hundreds of Twins fans held onto every word from Jeffers, Jake Cave, Cory Provus, and Hall of Famer, Bert Blyleven.
Blyleven sees a lot of similarities between the ‘87 championship team and the Twins' current lineup.
“It came down to offensively we were a good ball club like this club is going to be,” he said. “It’s going to come down to pitching. Can they get Berrios, Odorizzi, and Pineda – those one, two, three guys to be consistent and go deep into a ball game?”
As a sign-stealing scandal within the league continues to make headlines, Blyleven doesn’t like the direction the game is headed.
He suggests a simple fix.
“You need to take the iPads out of the dugout. You need to take any type of electronic device – these guys, we did homework.”
Getting technology out of the game would return baseball to a bygone era when the complaints were simpler – players getting busted down to AAA, too much travel, and a long, grueling season for rookies.
Jake Cave has lived all of that.
“It’s tougher for my family than for me but I get to put on a jersey and play baseball,” the outfielder said. “As long as I’m on that big league roster getting sent up and down from AAA to big leagues – I mean it sucks sometimes, but I’m playing baseball.”
2019 was a good one for the Twins so fans and team members alike are filled with anticipation.
“You all as Twins fans should be very excited about what’s coming. Not only do we have an extremely loaded big league, but we’ve got a lot coming behind it. It’ll be fun,” Jeffers said.
Pitchers and catchers report to training camp on Feb. 12.