Minnesota Twins have looked into their past to help the team’s future with three prominent members of the 2000’s golden era.
The Twins have a proud history of taking care of their own in regards to past players. There’s a unique bond between the organization and those who’ve contributed to the team’s rich history. Looking at left field, you’ll see the iconic retired numbers. All over Target Field you’ll see tributes to the great teams of the 60s and the ’87 and ’91 championship teams. That brings us to today; a new wave of former players are carving out their role for the present and future of the Minnesota Twins.
Torii Hunter, Michael Cuddyer, and LaTroy Hawkins all joined the Twins in advisory/special assistant roles to help in a variety of ways. It’s encouraging to see these three return to guide young players at spring training and work as scouts for the imperative upcoming June draft.
Many question what teams advisors actually do so let’s take a moment to evaluate each one’s role and impact on the team.
Torii Hunter’s Enthusiastic Personality
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I’m sure I’m not alone being most excited about Torii Hunter returning. For obvious reasons, Hunter’s presence can only help Byron Buxton’s progression as a dominant center fielder. Torii has been seen working with Buxton on routes to the ball in center being able to efficiently take the right path to hard hit fly balls. He’s also worked with Buxton’s hitting tactics pre-game, even going back to the basics hitting off a tee.
Hunter wants greatness out of Buxton and sees a lot of himself in him when he was a wet behind the ears rookie tracking balls down in the old Metrodome. Aside from Buxton, Torii Hunter has established a unique relationship with potential top pick Hunter Greene back home in San Diego. He’s been everywhere promoting Twins baseball and sharing his wisdom to young players within the organization.
Most notably, fans have enjoyed some of Hunter’s commentary on FSN with Dick Bremer. He brings us his interpretation as a hitter what to look for in certain counts. Every time he said there would be a breaking ball down and away on a certain count, ironically he was right each time. It’s a joy hearing his input for the entire broadcast. He injects some new life into what can be a long game at times.
Michael Cuddyer’s Charisma
The newest member of the Twins HOF, Michael Cuddyer, has long been a fan favorite. He had a great reputation as a clubhouse leader over his 14-year major league career. Along with his infectious enthusiasm, Cuddyer was also one heck of a hitter for Minnesota. I had the opportunity of meeting him and he was as genuine as they come. Cuddyer hasn’t been able to work as much during the season, but he was extremely active during Twins camp as an instructor. Additionally, his presence alone is a positive influence for anyone trying to learn the game.
LaTroy Hawkins’ Longevity
Lastly, LaTroy Hawkins is the third member to join as an advisor. He’s actively taking part in getting more African Americans to play baseball through RBI programs and working in inner cities to endorse the game. His calming influence is ideal for his goal to change the lopsided baseball demographics. Hawkins has also worked with the minor league affiliate Kernels about the mental approach to pitch.
There’s plenty of flamethrowers who top out at 100 mph but they’re not pitchers; they’re throwers. LaTroy’s job is to aid them with pitch control and location. His track record speaks for itself with his 21-year long career. LaTroy Hawkins is in the perfect role to keep him involved in the game. He is also helping undeveloped pitchers make their presence felt.
These three gentlemen embody the traits of the winning culture the Twins need to take the next step. It’s great to have them back constantly teaching and devoting their energy to construct an eventual playoff product on the field.