TwinsFest 2016 – Plouffe’s Personal Elevator

Minnesota Twins – TwinsFest 2016

Target Field – Minneapolis, MN

January 29, 2016


The title will be explained in due time.  But for now, let’s kick things off with the podcast plug and then from the beginning.

As this was not a normal episode (in MANY ways), I decided to not give it the proper numbering.  This will be a “bonus show” – one to kick off the season, introduce a newer sound, and to cover what was missed since the end of the Twins 2015 season.

 

Arrival:

I admit it.  I got there a bit early, but not as early as others.  I was pleased with my spot in line, considering I had a half-day of work to put in and some errands to run before I could get to the field.  If we revisit the “At The Gates” debate, another reason why giving it a proper episode number would be due to the fact that it wasn’t recorded at the gates (but inside the stadium) and I was never at a real gate to begin with.  The skyway between “Ramp A” and Target Field was my home.

Here’s a view of the line at about 3:30 (gates opened at 4):

2016012901

Once inside the stadium I went to the…

Yard Sale:

Normally the Twins have put a TON of game used stuff from Spring Training (from the previous year) and other left-overs up for sale.  This year?  Not so much.  The majority was give-away/bobblehead-related and very limited jersey (a few used, but by guys that no longer take a spot in the Twins organization).  I was still able to come across a few things I “just had to have”.

The give-away things from games I didn’t attend:

PU1

The All-Star Game tickets already framed:

PU2

A couple rather large posters (3′ x 2′ or so)… autographed:

PU3

PU4

Those posters were only $20.  Torii’s signature at TwinsFest was going for more than that.  So it wasn’t a bad pick-up (nor a bad way to avoid the long autograph line).

As for Trevor Plouffe…

The Plouffe Gang:

I met some people while I waited outside Trevor Plouffe’s autograph line.  I was hoping to say a quick hello after he signed, but to my pleasant surprise, I met a couple cool people.  Now, as you may know, I am a large supporter Trevor – this goes without saying really, just look at the name of the blog.  I’ve even run across his mother on Twitter.  We’ve said hello a few times via that medium, but never met…

Until now.  After just getting there before Trevor finished signing, Trevor’s mom and sister walked up and also waited for him.  I kind of recognized his mother from her Twitter picture, but I wasn’t 100% sure (nor did I want to be creepy).  She was the braver one and asked if I was Tony.

Yep.  Guilty.  I am Tony.  I am the random dude who writes a blog 60% dedicated to catching baseballs… I’m embarrassed.  But then a funny thing happened, both of the Plouffes were incredibly nice and we had shared a nice conversation until Trevor came out to greet everyone.  It’s easy to see why Trevor is so fan-friendly, he’s got a great family who supports him and who made him into who we see off the field.

So if you are reading this D and/or P.  Thank you.  Thanks for reading and even more so, thanks for talking.  If we cross paths again, be sure to say hello.

Exploring/Regathering the Gang:

Paul (my cohort at Target Field, who is featured in the podcast) and I met up and talked as he waited in line for J.O. Berrios’ autograph.  I explored and wandered as the line was slowly snaking, bobbing my head in and out to say hello to Paul.

I even took a photo of Larry Hisle’s oversized baseball card:

2016012903

Larry and his son run a business called “The Hit Syndicate”.  They are still operating out of the Midwest and focus on making grips and bats.  I really hope to meet them when they come to Target Field.  I’ve even put a little bug in their ear to guest on the podcast.  Fingers crossed.

Also in all of the hoopla and runaround, I snapped a photo of the field itself:

2016012902

(It was probably taken before the Hisle photo, but oh well.  I’m not going to go back and rewrite things.  Sue me, it’s late.)

The Elevator Story:

Now the “main event”…

Shortly after adding Mateo into the fold, we were stuck trying to get down to floor -2 (yep, NEGATIVE TWO).  Moral of the story: don’t listen to Paul.  But why is this important?  Because it led us back on the 3rd floor (the top of the activities).  We were waiting for an elevator, for a longer time than we wanted (which makes sense why we tried to walk down first).  Then from behind come the 2016 All-Star Third baseman, Trevor Plouffe.  He makes his way to the elevator, bypassing the lines under security’s order (not uncommon, no unwarranted… they have places to be, schedules to hold).  No big thing.  Then he gets in the elevator, which showed up at the perfect time for him, and the elevator attendant waved him in and told people only he was going down.

This is when you could tell he felt bad and was a little weird.  He seemed to not mind if others got on with him, but the lady in the elevator wasn’t even going to leave that open for discussion.  There were some lighthearted murmurs and puzzled looks, and I may have even given him a “See you later, Mr. Big Time”, but that’s how Trevor Plouffe got his own personal elevator.

I then joked to Mateo and Paul that I was going to rename the blog to something like “Plouffe’s Private Elevator” or something of the nature.  We even conspired to keep this whole story a secret and just make it an inside joke when I decided to rename the blog.  But since it was leaked a little on the podcast, I had to spill the beans.  Plus, the story was just too good.

The Podcast:

After finally getting down to -2 and getting Paul his Kurt Suzuki autograph, we did some light wandering again and finally settled in a less noisey area passed Champions Club and even further down from the Twins locker room.  The place was a concrete podcast heaven.  Only a light stream of walkers and cooped up vending booths kept us from being alone.  As for the show?  Scroll up to the top and listen.

Better yet: SUBSCRIBE TO THE SHOW ON ITUNES!!!

Search for “At the Gates Podcast” and look for a goofy picture of me in the red MLB t-shirt.  Then subscribe and maybe give it a 6-star rating (if not six, I’ll settle for 5).

The End.

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