Friday, January 28, 2011

Twins Caravan connections

The 2011 Twins Caravan made its annual Mankato stop last night. One of my co-workers made a sarcastic comment on the drawing power of the contingent -- Tony Oliva, Glen Perkins, Trevor Plouffe and Ben Revere -- that I thought underestimated Tony-O's appeal.

But then, I'm a boomer, and my colleague is a few years younger. Oliva's last at-bat came the year I graduated high school, by which time he was a shell of what he had been; there's a couple generations of Twins fans with hazy memories, at best, of him as a player.

Glen Perkins makes
friends and fans at the Kato.
Certainly Minnesota youngsters swinging wiffle ball bats in their backyards on summer days aren't pretending they're Tony Oliva. Nor are they pretending -- yet -- to be Ben Revere.

The current players at the Kato Ballroom stop are all first-round draft picks. All had some time in the majors last season. None of them is certain to be on the Opening Day roster, and only Perkins figures to be a realistic candidate (barring injuries) this spring.

There's generally a "name" involved in each leg. Sometimes, as with Oliva or Jack Morris, it's a blast from the past; sometimes it's a current player -- Joe Mauer did a one-day, three-stop leg earlier in the week; Danny Valencia's got two shifts scheduled this winter; Denard Span, Matt Capps, Ron Gardenhire all either have or are scheduled to go out. But a lot of the load, yes, is carried by the prospects, the young, the unestablished.

And there are positives in that. The hundreds of Twins fans who saw Revere on Thursday are more likely now to feel a connection to him when he secures a roster spot. For his part, Revere, who grew up in Kentucky, has now seen a bit more of Minnesota. (And probably more snow than he's seen before too.)


  1. I heard comments as well...Tony O certainly is a draw - though he has been here before, maybe it had to do with Perkins and the unrest he has had with the Twins FO and/or the relative unknowns that are Plouffe and Revere. Heck, I just went to get John Gordons auto - the line certainly wasn't long for him! And - it was neat thinking Twins baseball in January!

  2. There are times I like it better when the so-called "no-names" are on the Caravan. We had the same crew in Iowa, and Perkins, Revere and Plouffe were great with the kids; in fact, my kids will be Revere Fans for Life! And for the old duffer in the crew appreciated talking baseball with Oliva.

  3. I was very impressed with how personable all three of the younger players were. It was obvious they were having a good time, and quickly became comfortable with the crowd. And I can't tell you how proud I was of our fans for the standing ovation given to Tony-O when he came out. Both Tony and the fans showed they're real class operations. Tony deserves all the applause he gets, and he deserves to be in the HoF!