AUSTIN EDITION Home opener special

Twins, fans savor the moment

By Troy Young

MINNEAPOLIS -- It's official. The long, cold, contraction-laden winter is over.

As dignitaries such as Rod Carew, Kevin McHale and President George W. Bush delivered videotaped messages to the Metrodome crowd before the team's home opener, Twins fans appeared to savor every moment.


Why shouldn't they?

Just a few months ago, Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig announced plans to contract two teams -- including the Minnesota Twins -- before the 2002 season.

Selig will have to wait. For at least a year, anyway, baseball gleefully returned to Minnesota Friday night.

Minutes before the game, the entire Twins team walked out to the pitching mound to salute the fans.

"Tonight is the start to the Twins' 42nd season in Minnesota," hall of famer Harmon Killebrew said. "Over the last four decades, 55 million fans have attended games in Minnesota.…; Despite an uncertain offseason, Twins fans across the Midwest have continued to support this ball club.

"Tonight, I say thank you for your incredible support over the years. Let's all work together to make sure the Twins remain in Minnesota forever."

Killebrew's brief oration drew one of the loudest ovations of the entire night.

"If it wasn't for your love, we would not be here tonight. So let's continue this fight -- both on and off the field -- to make this year a memorable one," veteran Denny Hocking said


The Twins beat Detroit 4-2 in front of 48,244 fans.

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