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Watching the Tribute to Harmon Killebrew on FSN tonight was one of the most emotional things I have watched on TV since, well, probably since the Kirby Puckett Tribute five years ago. Either that of the series finale of Friends… or Beverly Hills 90210, I guess.
In all seriousness, though, the ceremony was incredibly well put together. I mean, when it comes to respecting their history in Minnesota, the Twins organization does it absolutely right! I think it’s great that the team continues to bring back players from its past whether it is a hall of famer like Rod Carew, or a short term guy like Brian Raabe. I thought it was incredible that the Commissioner Bud Selig was there and the legendary Henry Aaron was there as well.
If there was one disappointing thing for me, it was that more of the current Twins were not there, especially the manager, Ron Gardenhire. I found it fitting that Michael Cuddyer read his FSNorth blog article on Killebrew, and Justin Morneau did a very good job of speaking as well. It was pretty cool when they showed a video of Killebrew’s 520 foot home run, and then zoomed out to the one bleacher seat that is 520 feet from home plate, and there was Jim Thome holding at 1962 Killebrew game-worn jersey. As you know, I’m not a Matt Tolbert guy, but I may be now because he at least showed up. It was fun to see the video tributes from the likes of Torii Hunter, Charlie Manuel, Dave Winfield and others. Jim Kaat spoke so well, and with such amazing detail. I could listen to him talk all day long. Rod Carew was exceptional and brought about so much emotion. Paul Molitor spoke for himself but also for the organization.
When Mudcat Grant sang “What a Wonderful World” my eyes were sweating like crazy. I needed a tissue because they were just sweating down my cheeks.
When Nita Killebrew got up to speak, it was an incredible moment. How she got through that incredibly touching speech, I have no idea. Her words were so powerful, full of pride for their family, sharing stories. He strength in that moment was amazing. Her words were inspiring. And even then, she asked people to think about what they can do for others. She encouraged people to Stand Up 2 Cancer. The FSN cameras scanned the crowd and constantly found people with eyes welling up with tears. Jim Thome was shown wiping the tears from his cheeks too. Most of the former players were. It’s hard for me to imagine how anyone would have maintained a dry eye.
“Harmon’s body is at rest in his hometown of Payette. His soul is at peace in that big ballpark in the sky, but his heart will always be right here in Minnesota, with you.” – Nita Killebrew
The amazing grace of Harmon and Nita Killebrew in his final days is remarkable. Even when they could have sulked and felt sorry for themselves, they thought of others and how they can help people. I wish I had the opportunity to meet Mr. Killebrew while he was alive. Kirby Puckett will always be my hero. Harmon Killebrew is a legend. As Falco said on The Replacements, “Legends never die.”
I wish I had better words for how amazing the evening was to watch unfold. I wish I could remember more of the quotes. It certainly was a night I’ll never forget. The Twins truly are a classy organization and it is at times like this that I am even more proud to be a Twins fan.
Minor League Report
First, be sure to listen to last night’s Twins Minor League Weekly for updates on all four Twins affiliates.
Rochester lost 3-2 to Lehigh Valley. Duluth native Andy Baldwin started and gave up three runs on six hits and a walk in six innings. He struck out five. Chuck James and Carlos Gutierrez each threw a scoreless inning. Ben Revere, Brian Dinkelman and Matt Brown were each 2-4. Brown hit his seventh double. Rene Tosoni hit his eighth double.
The New Britain Rock Cats beat Binghamton by a score of 7-3. Mark Dolenc went 2-4 with his fifth double, first home run and three RBI. Joe Benson was 2-3 with a walk and his second triple. Brett Jacobson gave up two runs on four this and four walks in four innings. Tyler Robertson threw three scoreless innings and gave up three hits and two walks. Cole DeVries gave up one run (on a solo home run) in two innings.
Ft. Myers lost 5-0 to Clearwater. Brian Dozier was 2-4 and had two of the team’s three hits. Edgar Ibarra started and threw 5.2 scoreless innings. He gave up four hits, walked three and struckout three. Matt Tone gave up three runs on six this and a walk in 2.1 innings. Brad Tippett gave up two runs on three hits in his inning.
The Beloit Snappers lost for the ninth straight game. They lost 2-0 to division leading Burlington, who now lead the Snappers by 12 games. AJ Achter pitched well in his Midwest League debut. He threw three innings of one-hit ball. He walked one and struck out five. Andrei Lobanov gave up two runs on five hits in three innings. Jose Gonzalez threw two scoreless innings, followed by a scoreless inning from Matt Hauser.