I wanted to write one last article for FOXSportsNorth.com conveying what it has meant to me to have played for the Minnesota Twins and lived in the Minneapolis area.
As I sit down and reflect, words cannot express the relationships that my wife, Claudia, and I have developed. I could sit and think about which game I remember the most or pick out which moment of my Twins career is most memorable. However, it’s the people – not the events – who have made my time here so unique and special. In this final article, I wanted to make a list – a list of what I am grateful for and of the friendships and relationships I cherish.
I guess it’s fitting for me to start with the media. If it weren’t for my relationship with them, I would not have a forum, such as this, to show my appreciation. I want to thank the local media, whom I have had my share of talks with over the years, for giving me a fair shake throughout my career. There were times when I didn’t agree with some of the things that were said, but I never was crossed, and I always felt like you treated me with respect. For that, I say thank you!
To all of the charities Claudia and I have had the pleasure to work with: Thank you for all you do for the community. Your work never will cease to amaze me. You all truly define what it means to be a hero. Thank you for always treating my wife and me well, and we hope to continue to help your efforts in improving society as a whole.
To all of the stadium workers: Thank you for always treating my family and me with the utmost respect. Whether it was to help my wife out in her section of seats or when my family was in town to watch a game, you always helped them with what they needed, no questions asked. You made it a joy to work at The Metrodome and Target Field as well as to watch a game there as well. Thank you!
To Cindy and all of the babysitters that do a wonderful job of taking care of our kids throughout the year: Thank you for always treating my son, Casey, like he was yours. You always made him feel special, and Claudia and I always felt at ease knowing that he was in great hands during the course of the games. Thank you for that!
To all of the clubhouse “kids” that I have had the opportunity to develop such great friendships with over the years: I hope I was able to treat you all with as much respect as you showed me. You are all some of the most important people in my life, and I thank you for always going above and beyond your call of duty in order to make life easier in our clubhouse! You guys are the best!
To the trainers: Thank you for always being there for me. No matter what it was that I needed, you always did your best to provide it for me. You all treated me as a friend, and I will always value our friendship. Thank you.
To Gardy and all the field staff, coaches and managers that I have had throughout my 15 years in the Twins organization: Thank you for teaching me how to play baseball at the professional level. Thank you for teaching me how to be a man at the professional level. If it were not for your knowledge, your caring, your tough love and your professionalism, I would not be the player or person I am today. I am in great debt to you, but I hope that the way I play the game and approach each and every day makes you proud and goes a little way toward repaying that debt. Words do not do justice, but thank you.
To all of the teammates I have had throughout the years: Thank you for having my back. There is no greater feeling than knowing that the guys you compete with are all in it for the same reason as you. I consider you all brothers and friends. I am honored to have worn the Twins uniform with you, and I hope I have been someone you are proud to have called a teammate. Thank you.
To Terry Ryan, Bill Smith, Dave St. Peter, The Pohlad Family and the entire Twins front office: Thank you for giving me an opportunity to fulfill my dream of becoming a major league baseball player. Thank you for treating my family and me with respect and love. I have given everything I have to the Twins organization and its community. Thank you for giving me the same for the entire 15 years I was fortunate enough to be a part of this fantastic group.
Last but absolutely not least, thank you to the fans of Twins Territory. You have all accepted my family and me as one of your own since Day 1 of my career as a Twin. Whether you were a Cuddy Buddy, attended a Twins Unplugged event, supported one of my family’s causes or were just a casual fan who cheered at the game, thank you. I tried to play the game with you all in mind. I knew that the Twins or Minnesota inscription that was across my chest represented each and every one of you. I hope I did you proud in the 11 years I got to wear your uniform. You all always will be very dear to my family and me, and I thank you for being so supportive.
There are countless others who have helped make the last 15 years of my life so enjoyable, and I appreciate everyone’s impact on my experience here. As difficult as it is to leave, I am extremely excited to be a part of another wonderful organization in the Colorado Rockies. I am really looking forward to developing similarly substantive relationships and giving everything I have as a player and a person to them, just as I have with the Twins. Minnesota always will be a part of who I am and what I stand for. For that, I thank you.