For Dozier, All-Star Game invite beats trip to cabin
By Jeff WalnerSpecial to the St. Paul Pioneer Press Sports Xchange CINCINNATI -- After he finished second in the All-Star Final Vote, Brian Dozier and his wife, Renee, booked a trip to a cabin on a lake two hours north of the Twin Cities. It seem...
By Jeff Walner
Special to the St. Paul Pioneer Press
CINCINNATI - After he finished second in the All-Star Final Vote, Brian Dozier and his wife, Renee, booked a trip to a cabin on a lake two hours north of the Twin Cities.
It seemed like a nice place to spend the all-star break, and a safe investment since the Twins second baseman seemingly had exhausted all options to earn a spot on the American League squad.
But fate had other plans. Days later, Toronto’s Jose Bautista backed out of the game because of a sore shoulder and AL manager Ned Yost added Dozier to the roster.
This was all very good news for Dozier and his family, aside from the non-refundable deposit for the lake house.
“We had to eat a little bit of cash, but it was very worth it,” Dozier said at a news conference Monday afternoon along with the other AL all-stars.
Dozier and closer Glen Perkins will represent the Twins in tonight’s Mid-Summer Classic at Great American Ball Park. It is Perkins’ third straight trip to the All-Star Game, and Dozier’s first.
The teammates flew to Cincinnati together along with their families, capping a whirlwind week for the 28-year-old second baseman.
In the span of five days, Dozier did everything imaginable to strengthen his all-star case.
Shortly after not being voted in by the fans or chosen as a reserve last Monday, Dozier belted a walk-off two-run homer in the Twins 4-2, 10-inning victory over Baltimore.
On Friday night, hours after learning he finished second to Kansas City Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas in the Final Vote, Dozier came through again with a three-run walk-off homer in a dramatic 8-6 victory over the Tigers, capping a Twins rally from six runs down with a seven-run ninth inning.
Dozier is the first Twins player to hit two walk-off home runs in the same homestand. The last player in franchise history to accomplish the feat was Roy Sievers, who did it for the Washington Senators in 1958.
“That’s a cool little stat,” Dozier said. “That was probably the craziest week I’ve ever had in my career. Just the way stuff transpired. Winning six out of seven on this last homestand is even bigger. All in all, it was an amazing week. It’s pretty surreal.”
In truth, Dozier was deserving of serious all-star consideration from the outset.
He ranks third in the major leagues with 48 extra-base hits and first with 67 runs scored. His 48 extra-base hits are the most before the all-star break in franchise history and eighth most among big-league second basemen since 1933.
Dozier leads all second basemen in home runs (19) and RBIs (50), is second in doubles (26), and is tied for second in walks (34).
Dozier also leads AL second basemen in fielding percentage (.993). His 775 2/3 innings played at second base lead the majors.
Dozier, who in March signed a four-year contract with the Twins extending through 2018, said there would have been no hard feelings if he wasn’t named to the all-star squad, saying he was more concerned about other deserving players on the Twins.
“People complain that people get left off that shouldn’t, but that’s every year,” Dozier said. “There are a bunch of people in our clubhouse that deserve all-star (consideration). Look at Torii Hunter, putting up some of the best outfield numbers and he didn’t get in.”
Though he was not named to the all-star team last year, Dozier did participate in the Home Run Derby at Target Field, hitting two homers before being eliminated in the first round. That Derby stint gave Dozier a glimpse into the all-star experience.
“I got a taste of it last year with the Home Run Derby,” he said. “Obviously, this my first go-around with everything. All your colleagues, you get to know them on the field in a friendship sort of way. But getting a chance to talk to a lot of the (all-star) players behind the scenes has been the most exciting part of it.”
Amid a chaotic seven days for Dozier, one moment resonated for the fourth-year veteran.
When news of his selection to the All-Star Game was announced publicly on Target Field’s scoreboard after the third inning during Saturday’s game against the Tigers, the crowd of 32,365 gave Dozier a loud ovation.
It was a proud but humbling moment for the native of Fulton, Miss., whom Perkins described on Monday as “a southern gentleman”.
“It’s something I’ll never forget,” Dozier said. “Being on the final vote was another week of craziness in Minnesota. I was kind of skeptical about all that stuff that was going on to promote and campaign. That’s just not me. But we had fun with it. It’s pretty cool.”