2009 Florida Spring Training Tour, Days 5,6, and part of 7 (Minnesota Twins)

BY: T.C.

The Twins camp is one of those classic Florida experiences.  The players are generally very accessible, they have Hall of Fame guest instructors (Molitor & Carew), and the Twins fans were very friendly.  I enjoyed my experience so much here that I decided to stay an extra day and a half.  

Here is a quick overview of the best areas to ‘graph at the Twins’ camp (click to enlarge):

twins

On the first day, I watched the Twins practice and was able to get a ton of ‘graphs.  I also met a couple of cool ‘graphers from Mankato, Minnesota (named Sean and Dean).  I started chatting with them and we found out that we were all members of Pat Neshek’s message board.  I ended up hanging out with them most of the next couple of days, which made the stay in Fort Myers a lot more enjoyable. 

On the second day, the Twins had a night game.  We figured that we’d head over to the park early to see if we could watch some morning practice.  Bad decision.  Little did we know that the first players wouldn’t be reporting until about noon.  If I had it to do over again, I would have headed over to the other side of town to catch the Red Sox morning practice.  Oh well, live and learn, I guess!  The ‘graphing activity wasn’t that great on this day.  I probably got about 25 throughout the day.  I must say that the Twins’ park is NOT GOOD for autographs during games, especially for the visiting team.  You have NO access to the visiting players, as the bus drops them off in a fenced-in area.  You might pick up a few ‘graphs down by the field before the game, but generally speaking, I wouldn’t recommend going to Twins spring training games to ‘graph.  Stick with the practices. 

During the game, I stood next to the bullpen and ended up chatting with a really cool guy for about 5 innings.  After chatting for a couple of innings, we asked each other what we did for a living.  It turned out that this guy was a ballplayer in the Twins’ minor league system.  He played high-A ball last year and was hoping to jump to AA this year.  The guy’s name was Juan (although he goes by Quentin) Portis.  He was a helluva nice kid and was fun to talk to.  He actually gave me a lot of insight about the minor leagues and some of the political elements that determine who gets promoted and who doesn’t.  I’ll definitely be following him and hoping he makes it to “the show” someday.

After ‘graphing the Twins for two days, I was ready to head up to Sarasota to catch a Reds game on Thursday.  However, before I took off, I decided to hit the Twins camp early in the morning to see if I could pick up a couple of more ‘graphs.  This turned out to be a GREAT decision, as I ended up having the best haul out of any day I was there (at least in terms of quality).  On this particular morning, I was able to get Denard Span, Justin Morneau, Francisco Liriano, Jason Kubel, Michael Cuddyer, Rod Carew and Paul Molitor.  I ended up with well over 100 autographs during my stay in Fort Myers.  Here is the breakdown:

Richard Anderson Card x 1
Scott Baker Card x 1
Nick Blackburn Cards x 3
Brian Buscher Cards x 6
Rod  Carew ROMLB x 2
Alexi Casilla Cards x 4
Joe Crede Card x 1
Michael Cuddyer Cards x 2
R.A. Dickey Cards x 2
Brian Duensing Cards x 3
Ron Gardenhire Card x 1
Toby Gardenhire Card x 1
Mike Gosling Card x 1
Brendan Harris Card x 1
Luke Hughes Cards x 3
Philip Humber Card x 1
Ben Julianel Cards x 4
Tom Kelly RMLB x 1
Corey Koskie RMLB x 1
Jason Kubel Cards x 7
Francisco Liriano Card x 1
Francisco Liriano ROMLB x 1
Alejandro Machado Cards x 5
Dustin Marting Cards x 3
Paul Molitor ROMLB x 1
Justin Morneau Card x 1
Justin Morneau ROMLB x 1
Kevin Mulvey Cards x 5
Joe Nathan Cards x 2
Pat Neshek Cards x 12
Brock Peterson Cards x 5
Wilson Ramos Cards x 3
Deibenson Romero Card x 1
Kevin Slowey Card x 1
Denard Span RMLB x 1
Denard Span ROMLB x 1
Denard Span Cards x 7
Anthony Swarzak RMLB x 1
Anthony Swarzak Cards x 4
Matt Tolbert Cards x 5
Danny Valencia Card x 1
Jerry White Cards x 3
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