He “Dazzled” his Daughter 17 May 12

Photos and stories by Gordy Jones.

He “Dazzled” his Daughter

Before every Twins game, Dan Gladden watches batting practice, then schmoozes with the players, collecting information to use in his broadcast. He is shown here with Carl Pavano.

Twins radio announcer and former outfielder Dan Gladden has a personality that resembles the way he played baseball. He is enthusiastic, but won’t tolerate nonsense. He’s a fierce competitor, but also a very nice guy. He loves to have fun, loves touring on his Harley, and loves to play golf. You can find him at most Twins-related fundraising golf tournaments. I remember a few years back, after his daughter, Whitney, tied his score at a golf event, he was very uneasy, and so was she. She’s competitive, too. They began talking smack (in a fun way) to each other. The banquet and award ceremony were about to start, and they were both still standing on the 18th green deciding who was better, having a putt-off. Finally they decided that wasn’t enough. They figured there was enough daylight to go another nine holes, and the winner would be the victor of the family crown. I went inside at that point, and the ceremony began. During the awards program, they called Danny’s name and asked him to step up to the podium, receive a plaque, and say a few words…but no one came forward. I then told the MC that Dan and his daughter were back out on the course. Everyone got a big chuckle out of that; everyone knew of their competitiveness.

When I heard Dan did something funny after Whitney’s graduation from Augsburg College last week, I had to see what happened. I knew it would be good. I asked Danny about his funny graduation story. He smiled and said, “I don’t have any funny stories. Oh yeah…that. My daughter had an old Jeep Cherokee with about 125,000 miles on it. It made noises and didn’t run well. So I purchased a car out at Feldman’s — a little Mercedes. Then I parked it at J.D Hoyt’s restaurant.”

Denard Span always plays hard!

The Gladden family and friends were to have a little celebration at the restaurant in honor of Whitney’s graduation. Everyone had the valet park their cars, including Whitney with her broken-down Jeep. After the party, the group stood outside, waiting for the valet to retrieve their vehicles. As the cars pulled up, Whitney looked and waited for her Jeep. Dan told me, “As she waited, the new car pulled up and someone said, ‘Whose Benz?’ The valet said that car belongs to a Ms. Whitney Gladden. Then she began to cry.”

Whitney graduated with a communications and foreign business degree, and promised her dad she would get a good job soon.

Keeping the Faith

Jamey Carroll moves around the infield like he's a kid.

Speaking of being competitive, all pro athletes are that way, and that’s how they made it to the pros. So I was wondering how the Twins can remain sane in a season that has started out so horribly. I thought I’d ask one of the hardest workers, and the proudest of the proud: Mr. Denard Span. He looked very serious and said, “You just have to stay positive. Baseball is a lot like life: you have a lot of ups and downs, but it’s how you deal with it that counts. It’s how you bounce back when you’re down. Everybody can be in a good mood and be happy when things are going good. A man — or any person — is measured on how they respond when things are not good. Right now things are not going the best. But we are coming to the field, working, and trying to have fun.”

Great Moves!

Jamey Carroll, who can play anywhere in the infield, is one of the few elements of the Twins who amaze me this year. It’s because he is 38 years old, makes great plays, and can move better than most 18-year-olds. He and Brian Dozier give the Twins one of the best middle infields around, one of the few things they’re best at this year. Brian is a kid, and said he has already learned a lot from his elder, Mr. Carroll.

Brian Dozier's promotion to the Majors has helped give the Twins a tight middle infield.

I asked Jamey if there is a special diet or workout routine he might be on…specialized for “mature” players. “I do everything, and eat the same as I always have,” he replied. “But this year my workout was a little more intense. I try to stay as agile, loose, and quick as I possibly can, so that I can play the infield. It’s a matter of staying on top of it at all times.” I asked him which position he feels more comfortable at. “I like playing all of them’” he said. “They all have their different challenges. I’m comfortable because I’ve played nearly everywhere for the past 10 years. Third base: I like the excitement of it. At short you’re in the middle of it all and leader of the infield. And at second; there’s nothing better than turning a double play from second base! They all have their benefits, and they all have their challenges.” He went on to say that is a good lesson for kids. They should try every position when they are young, get experience at everything, and see what they are best at. “Each and every position, and each and every sport, teaches you something different about your body. When you’re playing everything, you’ll grow into something.”

I asked Jamey how he likes living in Minnesota. “It’s a beautiful place. I’ve come in here as a visitor before. I actually got to enjoy it more as a visitor when we stayed downtown. But we’re in a great community just south of the city. Our neighbors and the city are great. I’m looking forward to the warm summer.”