Twins' opening pitch on road
WILLMAR -- Boo! Boo! Booooooooooooooo! The booing grew louder on the second floor of the Kandi Entertainment Center where upwards of 300 Twins' fans had gathered early Thursday evening to greet the Twins Winter Caravan, sponsored locally by KDJS-...
WILLMAR -- Boo! Boo! Booooooooooooooo!
The booing grew louder on the second floor of the Kandi Entertainment Center where upwards of 300 Twins' fans had gathered early Thursday evening to greet the Twins Winter Caravan, sponsored locally by KDJS-AM 1590.
But it was a joyful boo, a way of welcoming Minnesota's new pitcher Boof Bonser.
"It's all right to 'Boo' me; just don't forget the 'f','' said the 6-foot-4 Florida native who marked his major league debut last May 21 with eight strikeouts at Milwaukee.
He had just been called up from Rochester, N.Y.
"I was nervous all day," he said with a large smile. "But I was pretty well over my nervousness by the time I walked the bases full with no outs in the first inning."
That generated a loud laugh from the audience.
Radio play-by-play voice John Gordon interviewed the animated Bonser, shy but smiling shortstop Jason Bartlett and Minnesota baseball legend Terry Steinbach, a New Ulm native.
Steinbach, a career .271 hitter, played 11 seasons for Oakland and three for the Twins before retiring in 1999.
Steinbach came out from the Twin Cities to replace Bert Blyleven, who got off the Caravan bus before it reached Willmar to attend a function in Minneapolis, Gordon said.
Earlier the Caravan had stops in Morris, Glenwood and Dassel-Cokato.
Bonser, 25, told the audience he still felt he had to earn his spot in the rotation this spring despite a 7-6 record with a 4.22 ERA his rookie year.
Bartlett, 27, hit .309 in 99 games after his call-up from Rochester in June 2006.
If form holds, one of these two players may become a major star this summer. In 2004, Johan Santana won the Cy Young Award after visiting Willmar with the Caravan; last year Joe Mauer went on to win the batting title after signing autographs here.