Photos and Story by Gordy Jones
Every year I follow the Twins to Milwaukee and watch them take on the Brew Crew. In the many years that I’ve been going on this trip, I’ve had a lot of fun doing many different things besides watching baseball. I’ve toured the Miller Brewing Company and sampled beer. I’ve gone to festivals, Lake Michigan, parks, and cool shopping areas, but my favorite thing is meeting new friends and tailgating at Miller Park.
This year was weird, though. The Twins and Brewers played a two-game series, with the first contest being a day game on the Monday of Memorial weekend. Then the second game was a night game – but it was on the first work day after a three-day weekend…and on a school night. It didn’t help fans with families when the Tuesday-night game went 14 innings and was over at around midnight. I’m not one to whine, but all of the above really put a damper on the tailgate experience that Milwaukee is so well known for. The fact that it rained both days, and it was freezing on Monday and warm and humid on Tuesday, didn’t help matters much, either. At least they have a retractable roof at Miller Park so you know they’ll get the games in, although the roof was either leaking or dripping condensation. But that beats the snow and cold rain that I’ve sat through at Target Field.
It was still a great trip, though, because I love seeing old friends in Milwaukee. Once again I had a chance to visit with former Twin Larry Hisle. Larry retired with the Brewers and represents the team, working with young people in the Milwaukee area. He is very soft-spoken and polite. When he saw me, he smiled, shook my hand, and said very slowly and sincerely, “Well hello! How have you been?” I greeted him back, but only chatted briefly so he could finish addressing the small group he was with. He is usually seen with a group of youngsters and sometimes families, escorting them onto the field during batting practice and introducing them to the players.
Another guy I enjoy seeing is Fox Sports North’s Telly Hughes, who, before covering the Brewers, covered the Twins. I was talking with Telly, and I asked him if he missed the good times in Minnesota. He replied, “Yes, and I was just talking to Ron Gardenhire. We were just reminiscing about some things. We mentioned Carlos Gomez, and all of the funny stories back then.”
If you don’t remember, Carlos was a Minnesota Twin in 2008 and 2009. He is very pleasant, but quite excitable — almost child-like. There are many funny stories about his little rituals, superstitions, and things that scare him. Like the time he was convinced that the Twins’ Milwaukee hotel was haunted, and he wouldn’t even go back in his room to get his clothes. Once I was talking food with some players and they were talking about seafood and great steak houses when Carlos told me that his favorite foods were rice and beans, because they are good, and very cheap.
Telly went on as he smiled looking toward Gomez, who has played for the Brewers ever since being traded by the Twins after the 2009 season for J.J. Hardy. “Look at all of the success Carlos is having now!”
Then Telly pointed toward the Twins’ dugout and said, “It’s always good catching up with the guys who I worked with for a couple of seasons in Minnesota. But Milwaukee has been good, too. It’s a good organization, and a good group of guys. I’ve been very fortunate to work with two great organizations. Not everyone in my profession can truthfully say that. But Milwaukee’s been good for me and my family.”
The Twins’ radio guy, Cory Provus, has just the opposite situation. He was the Brewers’ radio announcer, working behind legendary baseball funny man and announcer Bob Uecker, only to come to Minnesota to replace John Gordon as the Twins’ number-one man. I asked Cory if he was enjoying this trip back to Milwaukee, and he said, “Yes, this is a great place. I’ve made some great friends, and they’re not just friends for three years, they’re life-long friends. Every chance I get to catch up with Uecker…those are cherished moments for me. We laugh and we rarely talk shop. It’s great coming back to Milwaukee and seeing everybody.”
Soon after talking to Cory, I was in the company of Bob Uecker. I asked him for a few comments about
Cory. “What do you want me to say?” he quipped. I told him to talk about their friendship. “I’m not his friend! That was a trick! No, seriously, Cory’s a good man. Not only is he a good man, but a good play-by-
play analyst. I hated for him to go, but I’m glad he went to take the job with the Twins. Working with Dan Gladden…they’re a good pair. They seem to be gelling really well. I listened to them the last time we were there. He and Dan are really good when they’re talking together. Cory is an outstanding play-by-play guy – and he’s a good friend. I’ve known him a long time. I knew him when he was with the Cubs, of course here in Milwaukee, and now with the Twins. I know Twins fans are happy. He’s as good as there is, and the longer he’s there, the better he’ll be. He and his wife are expecting a baby, and that’ll be another great event for him. He bought a place in Minnesota, and that’s now his permanent home. He’s a good man.”
I agree. Cory is I great guy, and an excellent play-by-play man. His in-depth and intricate descriptions include uniform styles, cap and bill colors, weather, shadows, ballpark characteristics, player mannerisms, and nearly every object and action at the park — the way a fan might see and notice every little thing on his first trip to a major league game. Well done!