John's Journal
Student Media Day With The Twins: Given a Chance9/26/2012
(This article was written by one of the high school students who attended a Minnesota Twins game through the MSHSL Student Media program. Four students received media credentials for the Twins-White Sox game on Sept. 15 at Target Field.)

By Jared Rubado
Brainerd High School

When an MLB manager calls a person into his office, the outcome is 50/50. The player never knows the outcome, but he knows that he will be given a chance. The person could get the chance to impress the manager on the field, the chance to play for a different team, or even get second chances. It’s safe to say that you don't know what to expect when you walk through those doors. There were four of us, and from the beginning we knew exactly what we were getting into. We were given a chance. The chance of a lifetime.

My name is Jared Rubado, I am a junior at Brainerd High School. I am a part of the MSHSL Student Media program. My goal in life is to be a sports journalist for a website such as Grantland (ESPN), or a magazine such as Sports Illustrated. John Millea, our Student Media coordinator, set up an opportunity for four Student Media reporters to go to a Minnesota Twins baseball game. I was interested from the beginning, along with three other students across the state. In an email, John told us, “We will be on the field before the game, in the press box during the game and will observe postgame media interviews.” That alone would have been an amazing experience. Little did I know that I was in for way more.

I have been a Twins fan my whole life. I make the most out of every game I go to. I get to the game hours before the first pitch, just to get a glimpse of the pregame warmups. I have always seen kids get the chance to walk on the field themselves. I have envied them for years. When I got the news that I had been accepted for the Student Media day at Target Field, it was a dream come true. The Twins would be playing the Chicago White Sox on Sept. 15 at 12:10 in the afternoon.

I walked into the Target Field plaza at 9:45. The day was scheduled to start at 10 a.m. I met the other aspiring journalists and John at Gate 29. We waited 15 minutes until Chris Iles from the Twins corporate communications department (also our guide for the day), gave us our credentials. We left our parents behind with two free tickets to the game. As we walked in, our day had officially started.

Our first stop was the Twins clubhouse and we were escorted inside to the center of the players’ locker room. I personally had never seen a locker room so nice in my 16-year existence. We were allowed to have a private pregame interview with Twins manager Ron Gardenhire before the professional media came in. We asked our questions and listened to him talk about many different things. He talked about, baseball, college football and how he spends his off days. The most interesting thing was when he told us that if he had not gone into baseball, he would have gone into the military.

When the media came in, it was a bit daunting. They were nice, but they were there to do business. Their serious presence was overwhelmingly exciting for me, knowing that they get to do this on a day-to-day basis. It was then and there that I knew for sure that I was going to pursue a journalism career.

After the pregame interview, we went to lunch. We were introduced to the Fox Sports North crew. They were very relaxed, especially Bert Blyleven. He was cracking jokes left and right. We ate our lunches and then we were escorted onto the field. We couldn't go on the grass but we were allowed to observe from the backstop. When I looked into a fan’s eyes, I saw a bit of jealousy, I could only picture that’s what I have looked like when I looked at other field-goers from the stands.

It was time to take our seats in the press box. I have never seen such a perfect view of a sporting event in my life. We were seated on the far right of the press box. When I turned my head for the first time, I saw everybody that we had met during the day. The game started and I had never felt so comfortable at a Twins game before. The main rule of the press box is you are not allowed to cheer. I thought that would be difficult for me because I always cheer enthusiastically, but it wasn’t.

We watched for the first inning, but during the second inning we had a surprise. We were taken into the radio booth for the top half of the inning. Cory Provus was broadcasting the game and then, out of nowhere, he said our names on the radio. For the bottom half of the inning we were given the chance to talk to Terry Ryan, the Twins general manager. During games he carries a stopwatch to time various things such as delivery of the pitcher or the speed of baserunners. He explained, “In these last few weeks of a season, some players may be fighting for a spot on next year’s team.”

We returned to our seats in the press box for the rest of the game. The Twins were shut down by former Twins pitcher Francisco Liriano. They were down 4-0 until the seventh inning when Trevor Plouffe hit a two-run home run. The Twins were down 5-2 in the ninth inning. They got the bases loaded but were only able to get one run.

For our last event for the day, it was back to Gardy’s office for the postgame interview. We observed the reporters ask their questions once again. Then all of them filed out and we were alone with the manager for the last time. At that moment we didn’t know what he was going to say, but we know it had to do with chance.
Student Media Day With The Twins: We Will Never Forget9/25/2012
(These two articles were written by high school students who attended a Minnesota Twins game through the MSHSL Student Media program. The photos were taken by Zach Burnside.)

By JoNathan Chartrand
Chisago Lakes Area High School

On Saturday, Sept. 15 I joined the MSHSL's John Millea and three other student journalists who arrived early in the morning for a media day at Target Field in Minneapolis. After a quick get to know you, I was admitted with a full media credential into Gate 29.

From the gate we rode the elevator down to the belly of the beast. We first went to the Twins clubhouse and looked around; Kent Hrbek was chatting up a few current players. Then we got to interview skipper Ron Gardenhire. After the interview we watched the beat writers interview Gardy at his desk, more informal than I thought it would be.

Then we went from the clubhouse to the cafeteria, where we were fed a variety of items from bacon to salad to yogurt. As we were eating and watching College Gameday on ESPN, we all gathered for a picture, but sneaky Hall of Fame pitcher and Fox Sports North announcer Bert Blyleven added to the mix. He welcomed us with, “Good morning.” We then introduced ourselves. As we finished up eating, our guide informed us that a picture of us with Gardy was on the Twins Twitter account. Everyone quickly pulled out their phones to look.

We then traveled out on to the field for a more perspective view of it all; so large, from the stands it doesn’t seem so far, but from the plate to no-man's land in center field or the Jim Thome region of deep in the stands of left field it was breathtaking.

As the game was about to begin, we were escorted up to the press box to watch the game, but that wasn't the case. We watched the first inning, taking notes and pictures, but as the second inning rolled around we were once again on the move going into the Twins Radio Network booth, where Dan Gladden handed me his headset and I was hooked up to radio, LIVE. Cory Provus announced our presence in the booth to all the listeners and explained who we were and why we were there.

As the top of the inning wrapped up we traveled a long ways (three steps) into the Twins general manager's booth for an interview with Terry Ryan. We asked him about putting Joe Mauer on waivers. He responded with a no comment to the “top secret” status but said not to worry about his status as a Twin.

After returning to the press box to watch the rest of the game, we were the subject of many more pictures taken by John Millea. The Twins lost and we headed back to the clubhouse for Gardy’s post-game interview session; we didn’t get to ask questions this time, just observe. This activity closed out the day at the stadium for us. All four of us -- Jared, Zach, Nick and myself -- will never forget this day.

Gardenhire And Guillen Talk About ‘Spam’

By Zach Burnside
White Bear Lake High School

Before the game, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire was asked if he missed coaching against former White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen.

"Ozzie and I still talk on the phone and text each other about whatever,” Gardenhire said. “He can't speak English very well, and he definitely can't spell. I got a text a couple months ago and Ozzie said ‘What would you want for Spam’(Guillen was referring to Twins outfielder Denard Span).”

Francisco Liriano, the White Sox starting pitcher and former member of the Twins, allowed just a couple walks and no hits through the first six innings. Trevor Plouffe made a defensive gem to record the second out in the top of the seventh inning, and then when he came up to the plate in the bottom of the inning he smacked the first pitch he saw over the fence for a two-run homer to put the Twins on the board.

The Twins mounted the start of a rally in the bottom of the ninth, started by that guy Guillen wanted, “Spam.” The rally came to an end early, however, and the Twins fell to the White Sox 5-3.