Ron Gardenhire and TC make the Twins look great in their spectacular new ballpark!
by Charlie Leck
We were at a Twins game again last week, enjoying our community’s breath-taking new ballpark, when my wife took notice of TC, the Twin’s mascot. She enjoyed watching him interact with the fans and especially the little kids. He’s full of energy and runs hither and yon as the stadium is filling up before the game. During a game you might find him almost anywhere – out in the right field stands, up in the third deck behind home plate, or dancing on top of the Twin’s dugout.
“Whatever is he supposed to be,” my wife asked, “some kind of animal?”
I looked at her in surprise. What kind of baseball fan is she? Wasn’t her very own father one of the movers and shakers among the powers who brought the Twins to Minnesota in 1960 – an amazing 50 years ago?
Instead of telling her the obvious, I tried singing a little jingle to her that might jog her memory…
“From the land of sky-blue waters,
From the land of pines, lofty balsams,
Comes the beer refreshing,
Hamm’s the beer refreshing!”
“Hints of lakes and sunset breezes,
Dance and sparkle in each glassful,
Hamm’s the beer refreshing,
Hamm’s the beer refreshing.”
She still didn’t get it and looked at me as if I’d slipped off my rocker just a bit. I think she was a bit embarrassed by the old singing voice, too, as people around us began to snicker. I figured they were chuckling at her for not knowing what TC is, so I continued the little jingle as best I could remember it.
She began talking to the chap next to her, pretending, I think, that she didn’t know me. So I gave up on the song. Eventually, she broke off her conversation with the dude on the other side of her and turned back to me.
“What has that song got to do with what that mascot is supposed to be?”
I shook my head. Now I was the embarrassed one.
“How long have you been a Minnesotan,” I asked. “You were old enough when the Twins came here from Washington. Hamm’s beer – our own Minnesota beer – was the primary sponsor of our new, major league ball club. You remember that don’t you? And don’t you remember all those commercials – you know, the tom-toms, the canoes, the flowing waters, and the Hamm’s bear?”
She was shaking her head now.
“I was sixteen years old – not even sixteen – and I didn’t care about baseball. I cared about horses – and ice cream – and boys!”
“Well,” I said, with plenty of pride beaming across my face, “at least you now know who – or what – TC is.”
She looked out on to the field, where TC was jogging around the bases with a couple of very small children – perhaps six year olds. She turned back to me.
“You mean that thing out there is supposed to be a bear?”
I gave up and turned to the woman on the other side of me. She, confounded, was shaking her head at my wife’s ignorance. Mutteringly, she whispered something to me.
Here’s an old black and white commercial for Hamm’s Beer. It features the Hamm’s Bear and the famous song! You’ll thank me for the memories.
By the way, the Twins are Division Champs again. They’ve won this crown 6 out of the last 9 years. It’s an extraordinary achievement by the team’s manger, Rod Gardenhire. That’s Rod in the picture leading off this blog. We don’t’ look anything alike, but I’m often confused for him when I’m out shopping or dining in a restaurant.
Two weeks ago, a fellow came up to me in the grocery store and told me I was doing a fine job with the team and wished me the best of luck in the playoffs. I told him I wasn’t Gardenhire. He laughed and shook his head.
“I’m not,” I said. “It four o’clock already. Gardenhire is at the ballpark with his team, getting ready for tonight’s game.”
“Nice try, Ron. Good luck!”
At a restaurant in Northeast Minneapolis on an evening last week, when the Twins were out of town, a woman at a nearby table kept looking over at me. Once, when I looked over at her, wondering what she was staring at, she gave me a little wave, wiggling her fingers at me. I could only shake my head at her.
I don’t have those fat cheeks that Gardenhire has. Sure he’s a great manager, but he’s not the looker I am. Granted, I’ve got some age on him, but… but…. Where was I going with this anyhow?
Congratulations to Gardenhire. As the President of the Twins said a couple days ago: “If Ron Gardenhire isn’t the American League Manager of the Year this year, they ought to stop giving out the award!”
He is! Ron Gardenhire is the manger of the year! And, TC is the mascot of the year! No doubt about it.
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