In an incident that both the Minnesota Twins and a local employment agency are terming "a mistake," Minnesota Timberwolves player Darko Milicic tried out for the Twins at Target Field yesterday. Three people were hurt, including Milicic, but none of the injuries are said to be life-threatening.
The Serbian native, currently sidelined by the NBA lockout, was apparently "just looking for work," according to his agent, Marc Cornstein. "He has plenty of money, but he's still a little fuzzy on how things work here. He figured since he wasn't working, he needed to go get a job or join the army."
Milicic went to Labor Pros, a New Brighton-based employment agency, and went through the process of applying for temporary work. "He filled out our standard forms," said company spokesperson John Radloff, "With his athletic background, it became clear that he was best-suited for a job with more physical aspects. His profound fear of forklifts made warehouse work a non-starter, so we had to find a better fit."
That fit, as it turns out, was the Twins middle infield. The franchise has emphasized that it's an open competition for both slots, with the newly-signed Jamey Carroll, Tsuyoshi Nishioka, and Alexi Casilla among the players in the mix. However, it's unclear at this time why those jobs were also listed as open to temporary laborers.
"I know about as much as you do at this point," said interim Twins GM Terry Ryan. "My guess is that one of our interns just got mixed up and listed the jobs with a temp agency. That's how we ended up with Brent Brede in '96."
What is clear is that Milicic, 26, showed up at Target Field on Thursday wearing a football helmet and asking to speak with "either one of the Twins," according to a front office source who asked not to be named. "I think we just assumed he was one of the overseas guys we've been working out, so we sent him down to the batting cages to work with the field staff."
Accounts of what happened next are still being confirmed, but police reports indicate that Milicic was given a bat and told to take some practice swings against one of the pitching machines. Minutes later, witnesses say shouts of "Time out! Time out!" and smoke began emanating from the area, and both the Minneapolis Police and Fire Departments were called.
Twins Assistant GM Rob Antony was in his office when the incident occurred. "I was at my desk when one of our sanitation workers bursts through the door," said Antony. "She said that a giant was taking BP in one of the cages, and now everything's on fire."
The small blaze was quickly extinguished. Milicic and two unidentified Twins employees were sent to HCMC to be treated for smoke inhalation, minor cuts and bruises, and what appeared to be bite marks from an unidentified animal. They are all expected to be released today.