Current, former Twins get big ovations
MINNEAPOLIS -- Twins pitcher Glen Perkins, catcher Kurt Suzuki and manager Ron Gardenhire, a coach for the American League team, were greeted with the loudest cheers from the home crowd at Target Field for Tuesday's All-Star Game.
Derek Jeter got a lengthy ovation, too, before his final All-Star game appearance. But the mention of a pair of former Twins on the NL team prompted roars from the fans, too.
Milwaukee outfielder Carlos Gomez, who played two wildly inconsistent seasons for the Twins after they fetched him in the trade with the New York Mets for Johan Santana, sprinted out of the dugout to slap hands with all of his teammates.
St. Louis reliever Pat Neshek, who started his career with the Twins and grew up in a Minneapolis suburb, Brooklyn Park, had a big grin on his face as he tipped his cap. He was even announced as a former member of the Park Center Pirates, a nod to his high school less than 10 miles north of the downtown ballpark.
MLB Executive Vice Presidents Joe Torre and Dan Halem, along with former Twins third baseman Corey Koskie and others, attended a head safety seminar with youth baseball players from nearby St. Paul. U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission executive director Elliot Kaye held a demonstration on how to properly wear a helmet. Koskie, forced into early retirement because of repeated head trauma, spoke about his firsthand experience with concussions and how they affected him as a player, a person and a parent.
Red Wing's Buck had all-star experience
Red Wing's Ty Buck was one of nine high school players who competed in the Junior Home Run Derby on Sunday morning at Target Field as part of the All-Star Weekend.
Each player got to keep swinging until incurring 15 "outs." They used metal bats. Buck tied for fifth with three homers.
Luken Baker of Texas and John Naylor of Ontario tied for first place with six homers each, and Baker won a three-swing tiebreaker 2-0. Both got to attend Monday night's Home Run Derby for the major leaguers and compete head to head during some commercial breaks. Baker won 7-4.
An almost-forgotten fact about the All-Star Game is that for a while, there were two per season. From 1959-62 ,that was the case. The games were 27 days apart in 1959, only two days apart in 1960.
The second game was added to raise money for the MLB players' pension funds, and for other causes. There was sentiment that having two games watered down the appeal of the event and they went back to one in 1963....
From 1935 through 1946, the manager of each All-Star squad selected the entire team. Fan voting started in 1947 but was interrupted after Cincinnati fans "stuffed" the ballot box (largely with ballots printed in the Cincinnati newspaper) and got seven starters elected. Commissioner Ford Frick put Willie Mays and Henry Aaron into two of the spots.
Players voted on starters until 1970, when fan voting was restored in part to try to spark waning interest in the event.