Thursday, January 30, 2014

Twinsfest 2014

For the 11th straight year I attended Twinsfest – the annual winter gather of all things Minnesota Twins. Twinsfest 2014’s big news was after years of being held at the Metrodome, it was moving to Target Field. Fans were promised access to the high $ Champions, Legends, and Metropolitan Clubs, free tours of the Twins clubhouse and press box, and for $5 you got to take 5 cuts in the Twins underground batting cage. Kids were promised a change to play interactive games with Twins players.

In fact all of the above was true. I took the clubhouse and press box tours, and enjoyed them. I watched some of players play various games with kids which I thought was nice. Also fans got to watch real families play the Family Feud game show with Twins players/coaches as team captains. It all seemed to go over well. I also found Target Field is closer to my home, parking was cheaper, the food more expensive, and the view of the lighted field when it snowed on Friday night was amazing.

I go to Twinsfest though mostly to get autographs. I went Friday and Sunday and scored a combined 43 autographs. That broke my previous record of 37 set in 2011. Here is my list. All were on baseball cards except where noted. Numbers next to the player means I got multiple autographs from that player.

Corey Koskie, Trevor Plouffe, Anthony Swarzak, Andrew Albers, Trevor May (2), Joe Mauer, Ricky Nolasco, Jason Bartlett, Casey Fien (2), Phil Hughes, Brian Duensing, Kyle Gibson, Caleb Theilbar (2), Mike Pelfrey, Jared Burton, Chris Parmelee (2),Chris Herrmann (2), Joe Vavra, Kevin Corriea, Tom Brunansky (ball), Max Kepler, Eric Fryer, Austin Malinowski, Glen Perkins, Kurt Suzuki, Alex Presley, Chris Colabello (2), Samuel Deduno, Scott Erickson, Aaron Hicks, Brian Dozier, Jim Mudcat Grant, Darren Mastroianni, Alex Meyer, Sean Gilmartin, Kyle Knudson, and Mike Kvasnicka

I was pumped to get Joe Mauer for the first time since 2008! I was also pleased to get new Twins Phil Hughes, Ricky Nolasco, Alex Presley, and Kurt Suzuki. The lines for mega-prospects Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano were often longer than the lines for Mauer, but top pitching prospect Alex Meyer had virtually no line.
My fellow autograph seekers told me they would have liked 5 instead of the 4 autograph stations available. Some of them were upset that the minor league player autographs are no longer free as minor leaguers are now mixed in with the regular players. I was disappointed that Oswaldo Arcia and Josmil Pinto were not in attendance.

Some of the memorabilia dealers there were not happy they were relegated to the basement were it was cold, cram, and the lighting if poor. A few of them told me they would not be back in 2015. I would not be surprised if the Twins phased out the memorabilia dealers all together. Twinsfest seems to be going in a different direction.

However, as long as the Twins continue to have their players sign autograph for a reasonable fee, I will be back for Twinsfest 2015 and beyond.