They Always Go Home 27 Mar 14

They Always Go Home

Photos and Stories by Gordy Jones
 
Twins relief-pitching prospect Michael Tonkin was sent to Triple A this week, and it was announced that his brother-in-law and roommate, Jason Kubel, would stay with the big club. Jason’s bat hasn’t lit up yet, as he has been hitting around .220, but Jason is healthy and the team has confidence that he’ll come around. He says he feels better at the plate each day, and he has proven himself before – the first time around with the Twins, prior to his departure after the 2011 season.

Jason Kubel is pretty quiet, except with his bat.

 

Jason is a strong, confident, experienced ballplayer who is usually steady as a rock. He’ll be a fine DH, and would be an asset to any clubhouse. I remember many occasions when the game was on the line and Jason calmly stepped up to win it. He had eight grand slams, too, including one against Mariano Rivera, and a walk-off grand slam against the Red Sox.  Tonkin is a confident young pitcher, long and lanky, with a release that looks as though it’d be difficult for the batter to see. If I had to guess, I’d say he’ll be in Minneapolis pitching before the end of July — maybe before that.

 

Before these roster moves were announced, I had a chance to talk to Michael Tonkin about his hopes for the future, and life with “the Kubes.” He said, “I was in the fourth grade when Jason starting dating my sister (Blake).  I started playing baseball when I was 5. I’ve been a huge fan of baseball, so it was basically my life at that point — it was my main hobby, so it was pretty cool.” I asked him if Jason guided him on the road to the pros. “Jason’s pretty quiet, but I’d get bits and pieces of what it’s like and what to expect. He wouldn’t really teach me baseball, but he gave me an opportunity to hear what was happening or what he was going through. It’s exciting being in the same organization as him. It’s a dream come true. When I first signed, he was in the organization, then he left – but now he’s back, and we’re even in the same clubhouse, so it’s that much better.” He enjoys rooming with him in Florida, too. “He’s a great roommate,” he said with a smile. “Like I said, he’s pretty quiet.”

 
 
 
 

I love being at Hammond Field in the month of March.


I wished him luck, and said that I hope he and Jason can both make the big club. He replied: “Yeah! Obviously that’s the dream. It’s what we’re both shooting for, and it would be pretty
 exciting for our families.”
 
It’s time to leave baseball in paradise and head back to reality. I am obviously blessed to have been here. I did all of my favorite things. Most days on my way to the park, I stopped at Sun Harvest, down the road from the field, and sampled their fresh-squeezed juices, fresh-picked citrus, and ice cream. It’s my ritual. Then I renewed old friendships at the park, made some new ones, watched the Twins and their minor league affiliates

Michael Tonkin will be in Minneapolis sometime this season…..I hope!

play ball, enjoyed great food and beach time, and shot a lot of photos and wrote some stories for you. Now I’m heading north, knowing at this point the Twins are tied for first place, and just hoping they can play some entertaining and competitive baseball. Time to go home.