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The Duke Departs

The Voice of Twins Baseball no more

Minnesota Twins v Toronto Blue Jays Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

When the unexpected news dropped that Dick Bremer would no longer be the TV play-by-play announcer for the Minnesota Twins, a lot of fans were shocked. Our Twinkie Town leader penned an instant soliloquy to the Duke, which was quickly followed by Hayden’s piece focusing on Bremer’s most famous calls. For me, Bremer’s stepping down (at best) or gentle push out the door (at worst) reminded me that I’ve now been a Twins fan long enough to have a “franchise voice”.

Growing up in Twins Territory, I’d constantly hear my grandfather talk about how radio broadcaster Herb Carneal was his preferred baseball orator. I heard Herb in his final years—when the voice was a little warbled and he only did a few innings.

Herb Carneal, WCCO radio, Minnesota Twins pro baseball sports announcer. May 7, 1986, Star Tribune photo by John Croft.
Grandpa’s “Voice of the Twins”
Photo by JOHN CROFT/Star Tribune via Getty Images

If you ask my father, he’ll swear by John Gordon—Carneal’s over-the-airwaves successor—as his golden diamond voice. I can’t really argue (I also enjoyed Wally Holland), but again I caught only about half of Gordon’s booth career.

Kansas City Royals v Minnesota Twins
Dad’s “Voice of the Twins”
Photo by Bruce Kluckhohn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images

As I heard about—and heard from—such magical figures in Twins media history, I’d think “no one can possibly top those legends”. Then one day I look up and I’m 37 years old—38 next week—and I realize that my own Voice of the Twins is now in the books.

Boston Red Sox v Minnesota Twins
My “Voice of the Twins”
Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images

I almost certainly heard Bremer’s booming baritone for the first time in the mid-1990s at my grandfather’s lake cabin near Aitkin, MN. That place never had Wi-Fi and its foundation was often literally held together by strategically-placed cinder blocks and black electrical tape—but it always had a satellite dish for Grandpa’s Twins games on MSC.

From 1996-2023, the Duke was the only TV play-by-play guy I knew. Whether on MSC, Fox Sports North, Victory Sports Network (shudder), or Bankrupt Bally Sports North, Dick was rarely not on the call. Famously, his only scheduled absences were for National Baseball Hall of Fame events and the graduations of his children.

On two occasions, I heard my name out of the mouths of Mr. Bremer and his longtime broadcast partner Bert Blyleven thanks to the Email the Booth segment.

Chicago White Sox v Minnesota Twins
Dick & Bert
Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images

On one hand, I’m devastated at the news of Bremer’s transition into a franchise ambassador role. If my grandfather’s passing a few years ago taught me one thing, it was not to take great situations for granted—and Bremer was certainly that for the Twins. As Ben mentioned, I’ve probably heard Dick’s voice more times than anyone else save for immediate family members.

On the other hand, change is of course inevitable. Though I will dearly miss Bremer’s comforting cadence, perhaps a new perspective coming from my TV’s soundbar won’t be the end of the world. I’m intrigued by the possibility of Marney Gellner in the cat bird seat, I like Kris Atteberry more than most, or maybe a completely outside voice—like Corey Provus was—could grow on me.

I don’t expect you to watch the entire video that concludes this post. If you do, I’d encourage professional life counseling. But the opening minutes, at very least, are how I’ll always remember Dick Bremer—in that cramped Metrodome announcers booth with Bert, a half-empty sea of blue seats (even at the home opener!), and Brad Radke on the mound...