Saturday, June 15, 2013

Baseball Stories

Former Minnesota Twin Dan Gladden is the color commentator for Twins radio broadcasts, which I listen to on a regular basis.  Now that Major League Baseball has completely removed all local baseball from network television, the regular fan who doesn't have a cable subscription service is forced to follow the local nine on radio only.  In truth, this is fine with me, as I actually prefer listening to the games on the radio to watching them on TV.

Gladden has a rather shaky broadcasting reputation when it comes to the opinions of online commentators - the fans who listen to the radio broadcasts.  Some don't think he's good at calling the plays (which he does for four innings per game).  Others don't think he gives the score or the count often enough.  It's true that he's less descriptive than his broadcasting counterpart, Cory Provus, but Gladden still has some great qualities for being a Twins broadcaster, and I'm glad he's here.  

One of the things that  makes Gladden fun to listen to is the fact that he's a former player, and a former Minnesota Twin.  What makes it especially enjoyable for me is that Gladden played on the Twins team of my childhood, with all of my boyhood baseball heroes like Kent Hrbek and Kirby Pucket.  Gladden likes to tell stories during the game broadcasts about these guys, and about his time in the majors.  It's almost as enjoyable to hear Gladden's stories as it is to hear the game.

One story Gladden told on tonight's broadcast caught me as funny.  Danny and Cory were talking about nicknames that the players give one another, and about special handshakes they share with each other after a good play or a home run.  Gladden said that he remembered Kirby Pucket and Al Newman doing what he called the "Nestea Plunge" high five.  Cory asked him if anyone on the team ever gave him a nickname.  He said that many people had nicknames, but the one that stuck most was one that Kent Hrbek gave him: "Wrench."

"Why 'Wrench?'" asked Provus.  "He said that I looked like the dirty kind of guy who was a mechanic who could fix anything," Gladden responded.  He said, "I could fix anything, but I told Hrbek I couldn't fix his swing.  He was 0 for his last 18."

No comments: