As most of you are probably now aware, this weekend is Twins Hall of Fame weekend, and the team is looking to induct the one and only Johan Santana into their shrine. I realize that I am old now, and that a lot of younger Twins fans may not even remember the days when Johan pitched for the Twins, which is a shame. There’s really nothing quite like having the best pitcher in baseball on your team, and getting to watch him every fifth day. Johan was like a deity. Having a pitcher who legitimately scares the living daylights out of every team, including the Yankees — there’s nothing like it.
I knew Johan hadn’t been back to the Twin Cities for some time before now, but I didn’t realize just how long it had been. Darren Wolfson asked Johan about it at his charity bowling tournament Thursday night.
Johan Santana is back in the Twin Cities for the first time in 10-yrs for a very worthy reason. I caught up w/ him as he enters the #MNTwins Hall of Fame tomorrow. Much more from Johan on Scoop podcast ep. 164: https://t.co/53FC1tgv6A pic.twitter.com/RdOSQ5cBsU— Darren Wolfson (@DWolfsonKSTP) August 3, 2018
Johan Santana has not been back to Minnesota since he was traded to the Mets in 2007.
I was sitting at Target Field on Friday night, looking at my Johan Santana Twins HOF pin, when I realized what that meant: Johan Santana has never been to Target Field.
Of course, my absolute dream would be for Johan Santana to pitch the first inning for the Twins tomorrow in their game against the Royals, but it doesn’t sound like that’s going to happen. The idea was that by pitching one inning, Santana would then be put back on the HOF ballot in five years, and maybe fare better than he did last winter (he didn’t do well, and won’t be on the ballot next year). It would also, I don’t know, just be kinda cool. I mean, he’s only 39-years-old! And Santana himself continues to claim he has NOT retired yet.
Santana told the Rhett Bollinger this:
“Coming back, being here again, seeing my old friends — being inducted into the Hall of Fame is something I never would have thought about back then,” Santana said. “Now it happened and I was like, ‘Wow.’ Hard work pays off. That’s basically what it is. I’m very excited, looking forward to enjoy this time and see my friends, and just hang out and enjoy this.”
Indeed, many of Johan’s old friends are here with him, including Torii Hunter, Cristian Guzman, Juan Rincon, Luis Rivas, Brad Radke, Terry Ryan, Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, Michael Cuddyer, and many more.
I know Johan Santana will probably never make it into the Baseball Hall of Fame, but he was so incredibly magical. I feel so honored for him to finally come back to Minnesota for the event this weekend. I hope he comes back here for more events too. Don’t be a Brad Radke, Johan! I mean, as in, the never-coming-to-TwinsFest sense (speaking of which, what’s your deal, Brad Radke?).
I don’t know if this all came out right.
In any case, I love you Johan Santana. I am so excited to see you again after all of these years. Congratulations.
Heave, sob cryings this morning over Dan Hayes’s piece in The Athletic.
On the drive over from Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, Santana marveled at U.S. Bank Stadium while feeling nostalgic about its predecessor. He was then greeted by more than a dozen former teammates and key Twins personnel from over the years.
“I couldn’t believe the Metrodome wasn’t there,” Santana said. “That was home. That’s where everything happened. That’s where all the magic happened. … All the great memories we made happened there.”