In the dark cold of Minnesota winter there’s always a fun event I look forward to each year. The Twins Caravan. It’s almost always a gaureenteed day for frigid temps, howling winds, deep snows, or a combination. It’d be easy for the Twins to do nothing. But they don’t. Instead of staying huddled on they get on the road in buses and travel Minnesota. It’s really quite remarkable. Arguably our two top players spent the afternoon ice fishing and then drove to Mankato for a wonderful evening of baseball talk and dreaming about warm weather.
I got to the Caravan at 5:30 right as the doors opened. I’m glad I did. The crowd looked bigger than in years past and that was confirmed when they announced that over 700 tickets were sold. Quite a turnout on a cold Monday night!
This also meant that the hot dog line got long fast, so I went and got mine early and settled in until the festivities started at 6:30. The hour went by quickly and soon enough after a highlight film the players were getting introduced. They ended up walking right by my table. Unfortunately the iPhone didn’t cooperate and my photos ended up blurry. This was the best one of Eddie Rosario sauntering in (he never just walks in according to Kris Atteberry).
Too many home runs
The question and answers started out tough from a woman who asked Berrios point blank how many home runs are you going to give up this year? Berrios handled the question well and ended up apologizing for giving up too many last year, and saying he knows it’s a bit of an issue. It was well handled with good humor.
Joy in cultural differences and bring down walls
Another question that stood out to everyone was one that brought up the fact that it was indeed MLK day and it shouldn’t be ignored. The question ended up being incredibly thoughtful – the person asked about cultural differences and what that was like in the clubhouse. They just wanted to know how that worked. There was nothing malicious in the question at all. I’m bungling how it was phrased. Eddie Rosario was the one who answered and said, essentially, that that was the best part. He got to experience different cultures – and enjoyed learning about Germany from Max Kepler – and that differences were something to be celebrated and enjoyed. A sentiment I completely agree with. It was a phenomenal question and answer from Eddie. A great reminder of an aspect about this game that I love. It bridges barriers and knocks down walls. Players from Germany, Puerto Rico, and many other locations share a close knit clubhouse and enjoy each other. This is something to aspire to and remember. Just enjoy learning from each other!
Eddie also talked about how he approached each game and his mindset. He approaches each day with joy and as a blessing, getting up and going. I’m missing some of the details of his answer but what I remember is his comments about joy and meeting each day with energy. I wish I’d written down exactly what he said. It was along the lines of take each day as a new opportunity. Something I can struggle with so it was great to hear this again. Eddie Rosario is quickly becoming my favorite Twin. I’m going to enjoy watching him this year for sure.
Time for the autographs and a nickname for Rocco?
I got lucky this year and ended up sitting at the table which was called first for autographs, so I didn’t end up waiting very long. Maybe fifteen minutes or so. I always like to get photographs signed, my own when I can, or at least custom edits as I learn Photoshop. I had a Jose Berrios edit I was particularly happy about, an Eddie Rosario photo from the Puerto Rico Series, and a custom edit of Rocco Baldelli.
I also like to get nickname inscriptions when I can and asked Rocco for his. He told me he didn’t really have one. So that’s something we as Twins fans need to remedy. Rocco the Rocketeer? Maybe? There’s got to be a better one out there!
Berrios was generous and gave me a great “La Makina” inscription when I asked and really took care not to smudge the auto as he added it. He did seem to like the photo as well, and was very gracious. I admire that a lot especially after a long day including ice fishing and answering questions from fans.
Eddie told me he really liked the Puerto Rico photo I brought. He mentioned it a few times and gave me a great signature with a smile on his face. Both Berrios and Rosario have great attitudes. There’s a lot of joy with them.
Let them play
A theme of the night to me among the answers was that Rocco Baldelli’s goal is to just let his players play. With joy. I think this is wonderful to hear and could be very important. Making a random connection here – when I watched this year’s National Championship, Clemson vs Alabama, it quickly became apparent that the Clemson players were having the time of their life. They were enjoying every moment and fed off of it, giving them even more energy and drive. That’s the power of joy. I struggle to reach it but when I do I feel it. It’s pretty amazing, really.
I am very optimistic now going into Spring Training for the Twins. I want to see them embrace joy in the game. If they do they’ll take off.
It’s baseball. It’s January. The time to dream. And remember joy to get through the cold.