Sunday Confessional: The Stupid Reason I Loved Clete Thomas


Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Sunday Confessional: A series where Senior Editor Collin Kottke confesses something on Sundays. Seems simplistic enough, we’ll see.

Last Saturday, November 16, 2013, we all found out that Clete Thomas had left us for another. At four in the morning, he packed his things, put that four-wheel drive pickup in drive and drove until he couldn’t drive anymore. I hear that he ended up in Philadelphia, but no one at the dinner will look nonetheless talk to me at ever since he left.

If you couldn’t cut through the over-dramatic scene I just set, Clete Thomas did sign a free agent deal with the Philadelphia Phillies last week ending the Clete Thomas era for the Minnesota Twins.

I will admit that Clete Thomas is not a great ballplayer, but he had a piece of my heart for a very stupid reason.

Wish I could tell you that it was because he seemed plucky. Like a guy that came to the diamond, put his cleats on and did whatever he had to do to get the job done. No, my love for Clete Thomas goes to his walk-up song or at least what it was for the 2013 season.

I cannot claim to be a historian of Clete Thomas walk-up songs, but I know for a fact that his walk-up song for part of 2013 was Garth Brooks’ ‘Rodeo’ from his 1991 release Ropin’ The Wind. ‘Rodeo’ made it number three on the country charts and it was a number one in Canada.

Personally, I love Garth Brooks. Have since as long as I can remember. I don’t know why I was appealed to him as a child other than the fact that my mom also is a big fan, but anyway it stuck and it has to this day.

Most of the time, I can hear the walk-up songs for Twins players over the telecast on Fox Sports North and I know what I’m expecting to hear when I make an appearance at Target Field, but apparently I never caught on during Clete’s plate appearances in his four games at Target Field in 2013 prior to the day.

That day was June 14, 2013, my folks, one of my best friends Tipper and I headed to Minneapolis to take in the ballgame. Of course, the Twins lost to the Detroit Tigers 4-0, but that is not what I came away with.

Clete Thomas walked up to the plate to lead off the bottom of the third and my jaw dropped in a moment of shock and disbelief. Playing from the speakers was ‘Rodeo’ and I look at Tipper and my parents with this look of ‘Is this the real life?’ on my face. I couldn’t believe it. I was nerding out over Clete Thomas’ walk-up song.

This is the extent of my nerdgasm:

I don’t think Brandon ever asked, but I think I like the mystery about the song.

I’m going to miss Clete, a lot. Sadly not exactly Clete, but because not too many players walkup to a 1990 Garth Brooks song. I will if we ever get walk-up music in slow-pitch beer league softball.