Softball and baseball’s favorite newspaper since 1987
By Gordy Jones
The Twins have
For Twins bullpen
coach Rick Stelmaszek, a trip to
With Joe trying to get as much rest as he could, and keeping up with a hectic team schedule, he really didn’t have any down time to hang out with his clan. But occasionally he would look up toward their section of seats, smile and wave to them. They would respond as the 10,000 other visiting Twins fans joined in – with deafening cheers that easily drowned out Cubs fans.
One person who relished in sweet memories during this trip to Wrigley Field was Ron Coomer. Ron played for the Cubs, as well as the Twins, Yankees and Dodgers, and is now a Fox Sports North reporter who covers the Twins. Over the course of the weekend, you could sense the nostalgia he felt. He arranged to have his teenaged nephew assist him and sit with him in the press area; he reminisced with his mom and sister; he ribbed his old pals and former teammates; he was even interviewed by a Chicago TV crew.
When he was finished
with the interview, I asked him, “You’re from
“Sure, I grew up on
the South Side of Chicago by
I commented that a kid from the South Side should be down watching the Sox.
“This is my home
ballpark. I used to come here as a kid. Some of the things I did to get here I
probably don’t want to tell to the youth of
Ron went on to make
his major league debut as a Twin and spent five years playing in
day I left
I remembered how, as a Twins player, he had many funny nicknames. I asked him if he had liked any of them. He laughed and said, “Coom Dawg wasn’t so bad.”
I told him that I enjoyed the funny names that his former teammate, the late, great Kirby Puckett, used to come up with. I especially liked Fred Flintstone. He pretended to be upset and snapped, “That one, I’m trying to forget.”
There was a short
pause as the Twins players filed into the dugout. He looked over at the Twins’
bench. He stared at Gardy and the boys as he said
with conviction, “I’m still a Twin! I’m here. I played for them, and now I
broadcast, I do shows, and I do many special things for them. They are a great
organization with great people. I make
Booth Great Guys!
If you ever watch baseball games televised in other cities, you already know that many broadcast teams are not much fun to listen to. And many of them are not so knowledgeable – especially about the opposing team.
That surely is not the case with Twins announcers Dick Bremer and Bert Blyleven.
Bert is a wealth of knowledge, especially about pitching. He learned on the job; he had a fabulous 22-year career as a big-league pitcher, and eight of those years were with the Twins, including their 1987 World Championship year.
The Bert you hear on TV is very humorous, always full of pranks and mischief, just as he was in his playing days. He recently put his mischief to work for charity by eating nightcrawlers on a dare to raise thousands of dollars for Parkinson’s Disease research.
He has a great voice and a nice delivery. He also started a phenomenon more than a decade ago with his “Circle Me Bert” routine. Many times while I’m on the road, opposing-team fans will ask me why all of the Twins fans are holding signs that read “Circle Me Bert.” I simply reply, “So that Bert will circle them!”
His partner, Dick Bremer, is a broadcast professional with a smooth, rich voice. Dick can play a good straight man for Bert’s jokes, but he is also a serious student of the game. Like Bert, Dick reads scouting reports, watches both teams during batting practice and is an expert on the Twins. He can sometimes tell you Gardy’s next move before it happens.
Dick was born in
“If the Twins were on TV, I’d be in front of it watching them,” he says.
He played ball
through high school, but after being cut by his college team at
“I worked with some of the best,” he said. “I worked with Harmon, Jim Kaat and now working with Bert keeps things fresh,” he said with a chuckle.
Dick is a family man and says, “The worst part of this job, and it’s a wonderful job, is that you do spend a lot of time away from your family. I’m always trying to find ways to spend time with the family when I’m with the ball club on the road.”
So on this trip he took his wife, Heidi, 14-year-old son Eric, and 12-year-old daughter Hannah by car to Milwaukee, St. Louis, Kansas City and finally back to Minnesota on his 10-day working vacation.
While I was in
“My passion now is
mentoring youth in the city of
Larry and Bert Blyleven were teammates for five years in
Check out Gordy’s book at http://www.baseballguy.org. Gordy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.