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Wed, Feb 5th, 2014

2014 Twins Camp is "Historic" On Many Levels!

The 2014 Twins Camp Pro Staff included two National Baseball Hall of Fame members in Rod Carew and Bert Blyleven.  This year's staff also included three new rookie coaches with Mickey Hatcher, Greg Gagne and Dave Goltz making their first camp appearances.  The 2014 staff consisted of, back row (left to right) Bill Campbell, Julio Becquer, Juan Berenguer, Eric Rasmussen, Dave Goltz, Phil Roof, Tom Brunansky, Gene Larkin, Greg Gagne, Rick Aguilera, Milt Cuyler and Kent Hrebek.  Front row (l to r): Ron Coomer, Tim Laudner, Mickey Hatcher, Lee Stange, Rod Carew, camp director-Stan Dickman, Bert Blyleven, Tony Oliva, Frank Viola, Dick Stigman and Frank Quilici. (photo by Al Schuth)

The 2014 Minnesota Twins Baseball Fantasy Camp will certainly be one to remember!  This year's camp was a sell-out as early as June 1st (a record!), with the largest group of campers ever to attend the Twins Fantasy event - 131 campers.  The ten team camp field required the addition of some new coaches bringing our Pro Staff to a total of 22 former Major Leaguers - the largest Pro Staff ever.  To our knowledge, this was also the first time that two "sitting" members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame were in attendance at the same camp.  Harmon and Bert worked the camp together on many occasions, but Harmon was battling his health issues in 2011 when he was scheduled to attend the camp.  It was that January that Bert was named to the Hall of Fame .

With the impressive remodeling and expansion currently underway at the Lee County Sports Complex and Hammond Stadium, the camp, for the first time in it's history, needed to make a "road trip" in 2014.  For 2014 the "Five Plex" formerly home to the Boston Red Sox was the temporary camp headquarters.  While this move created some unique challenges, it turned out to be an incredible facility with the large size of this year's camp.  The Plex easily handled all of our campers, Pro Staff members and Trainers.  While the kitchen no longer had any equipment, Camp Clubhouse Manager and all around camp guru, Chad Yoder, came to the rescue by securing some incredible equipment for Chef George Serra and his team to use for the week.  Thanks to Chad's efforts and George's creativity, we were able to prepare and serve a record number of 2556 hot breakfasts and lunches to a hungry group of players, coaches, umpires and grounds crew members.

Perhaps the most welcome comment of the week came from Twins television "Play by Play" announcer and veteran camper Dick Bremer when he shared with Stan on Friday that he had originally had some concerns when he heard we would be holding the camp at the Five Plex.  Dick commented "I'm sure it's created some additional issues for you and your team, but I frankly have had to remind myself that we're not at Lee County - the transition has been virtually invisible to us as campers."

This year's camp was made up of campers from 16 different states and two Canadian provinces.  While Minnesota's hosting the 2014 All-Star Game was the "Official" theme for the camp, the unofficial theme could well have been "Father knows Best"!  This year we had a record 13 father-son or father-daughter groups in camp that included 32 total campers.  We also had several brother acts and one brother-sister combination with Jim and Annie Breitenbucher.

"We couldn't have been more pleased with the 2014 Camp", commented Camp Director, Stan Dickman.  "Each year we're amazed that the quality of the people that the Twins Camp attracts and this year was certainly no exception.  We want to sincerely thank all of our campers for an incredible week and for making the experience so memorable for our entire staff.  Thanks also to our incredible Pro Staff - the best in baseball, for their enthusiasm and support of our campers throughout the week.  I think everyone felt that the addition of Greg, Mickey and Dave as coaches  certainly "fit" with the camp's culture."

With the temporary move to the "Plex", a few minor decor adjustments needed to be made to "Minnesotarize" the former Red Sox facility.  Here a 6'x 6' Twins Camp banner welcomes our 2014 campers to their clubhouse home for the week.

Finally, we wish to thank our support team for making the absolute best of a challenging situation of operating in a new home.  Chad Yoder was nothing short of spectacular in his preparation for camp week and ensuring the success of our 2014 camp.  The trainers, Kelli Quist, Chef George, our field staff - all did an incredible job in delivering on our goal of making this a truly big league experience for our campers.  Thank you all!  We certainly look forward enthusiastically to returning to the Lee County complex in 2015 and witnessing the facility enhancements that are currently being made.

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