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Coomer has felt blessed, as a player and a broadcaster

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Coomer

Ron Coomer always wanted to be a radio or TV announcer.

That, and he also had dreams of being a baseball player.

Baseball fans — Twins fans in particular — know that both of those wishes have come true.

"When I was growing up (in Crest Hill, Ill., outside of Chicago), I would run home from school and maybe catch the final three innings of the Cubs game on TV,'' Coomer said. "I grew up watching Jack Brickhouse, Vince Lloyd, Lou Boudreau and Lloyd Pettit, and all those Cubs announcers.

"I knew then that's what I wanted to do, but as it turned out I was a pretty good baseball player. For a while, baseball got in the way, but in a good way.''

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Coomer was in Rochester earlier this week, speaking at the Noon Time Community Program Series held at Christ United Methodist Church. Those monthly programs, 10 in all, are sponsored by the United Methodist Women of Christ United.

Despite it being cold and windy outside, baseball talk was definitely in the air. Coomer talked about his career, his current job(s) and the future of the Twins.

From Chicago, Coomer went to Taft College in California, where he had every intention of pursuing a broadcasting degree.

Those plans took a detour when he was drafted in the 14th round of the amateur baseball draft by the Oakland A's. That was in 1987, but after one season he was released.

In March of 1991, Coomer was signed by the Chicago White Sox, traded to the Dodgers in 1993 and after two seasons in the minors, was traded to the Twins, and finally made his Major League Baseball debut on Aug. 1, 1995.

So the answer to the trivia question you're all dying to know is this; Coomer was traded to the Twins along with Greg Hansell, Jose Parra and Chris Latham in exchange for pitchers Mark Guthrie and Kevin Tapani.

Coomer made the All-Star team in 1999 as a third baseman but a year later moved to first and then was released. He signed with his beloved Chicago Cubs and also played for the Yankees and Dodgers.

In nine seasons he hit .274, with 92 home runs and 449 RBIs.

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"I was OK,'' he said.

While with the Twins, then radio announcer John Gordon asked Coomer if he would be interested in doing a segment on the pregame show. And while with the Cubs, a Chicago radio station also made him a regular guest.

A new career was born.

"I love it,'' he said, "mainly because there's something new every day.''

During the baseball season, Coomer does over 100 games as a pregame and postgame analyst for Fox Sports North. On occasion, he also takes over for regular analyst Bert Blyleven in the TV booth alongside Dick Bremer.

"I expect to do over 100 games,'' Coomer said.

He also has a new gig, that as a daily radio talk show host on the Pohlad family-owned station KTWN-FM (96.3). The show, from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., is called "Rider, Lindsay and Coomer'' and touches on a variety of subjects, not just baseball or sports.

"We just had on Eddie Vetter last week,'' said Coomer. "Sure, we talk baseball but there's a lot more going on in the world.

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"And it's great because the radio studio is right next door to Target Field and I can just walk over to the park whenever there's a home game.''

KTWN, the primary home of the Twins, switched formats a year ago in April, going from music to talk. That's when Coomer started his new role. During the winter, he also co-hosts the "Twins Hot Stove Show'' with Kris Atteberry from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Wednesdays.

The station doesn't reach the Rochester area, but you can stream any of the shows via its website.

"It keeps me busy,'' said Coomer, who will head to Ft. Myers, Fla., in February for Twins spring training.

Coomer isn't the first one to tell you that the Twins starting rotation needs to be overhauled.

"I think we have to have three different starting pitchers in the rotation,'' he said. "We need some guys who can eat up some innings. You saw what happened last year; the bullpen was solid the first few months but then got so tired at the end.

"They couldn't keep up with the demand.''

Of course, Coomer was talking before the Twins reached an agreement with free agent pitcher Ricky Nolasco on Wednesday. Still, that leaves two starters yet to sign.

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"We also need to sign a veteran catcher,'' Coomer said. "I'm in favor of moving Joe Mauer to first base because we need his bat and we need him healthy, but that said, that leaves an opening behind the plate.''

Coomer also talked about Miguel Sano (third baseman) and Byron Buxton (outfielder), two of the top prospects in baseball.

"I had a chance to see Buxton play last summer,'' Coomer said, "and he can do it all. He's the real deal. Twins fans should be excited.''

• Brent Ackerman, operations manager for KROC-AM and Cumulus Media in Rochester, spoke alongside Coomer. He announced that the annual Twins Winter Caravan is scheduled for Jan. 14. Twins players and representatives and the location have yet to be determined.

KROC is the Rochester home for Twins baseball.

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