Twins Go Out in Style

On Wednesday, September 28th the Twins ended their worst season since 1982, but they went out with a little excitement. Tied at 0-0 after Carl Pavano pitched 9 innings of shutout baseball against the Kansas City Royals, Trevor Plouffe stroked a walk-off base hit scoring Denard Span and giving the Twins a 1 to 0 victory to end the season. It also meant the Twins would avoid losing their 100th game of the season. By the celebration you would have thought the Twins had just won the division! Despite it being the end of the season, it was great to see the Twins go off on a high note and it put a smile on the faces of everyone in the stands.

Minnesota Twins shortstop Trevor Plouffe celebrates after hitting a walk-off base hit scoring Denard Span against the Kansas City Royals in the bottom of the 9th inning on September 28, 2011 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Twins defeated the Royals 1 to 0.

The walk-off win gave Twins radio announcer John Gordon a nice send off as he had previously announced that he would be retiring at the end of the season and this was his last game working in the broadcast booth. Before the game the Twins held a ceremony honoring Gordon where he rode off on a Harley-Davidson with broadcast partner and former Minnesota Twin Dan Gladden.

Minnesota Twins radio broadcaster John Gordon smiles during a pre-game ceremony honoring Gordon's last broadcast on September 28, 2011 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Twins defeated the Royals 1 to 0.

Minnesota Twins radio broadcast partners John Gordon and Dan Gladden ride off in a motorcycle during a pre-game ceremony honoring Gordon's last broadcast on September 28, 2011 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Twins defeated the Royals 1 to 0.

It may not have been the final Twins game for just John Gordon either. Once the season ended, long time Twin Michael Cuddyer officially became a free agent. The celebration quickly became bitter sweet as Cuddyer showed his appreciation by hugging everyone on the team before heading to the dugout.

Minnesota Twins right fielder Michael Cuddyer hugs manager Ron Gardenhire after the Twins won the final game of the season on a walk-off base hit by Trevor Plouffe against the Kansas City Royals on September 28, 2011 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Twins defeated the Royals 1 to 0.

Minnesota Twins right fielder Michael Cuddyer celebrates after the Twins won the final game of the season on a walk-off base hit by Trevor Plouffe against the Kansas City Royals on September 28, 2011 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Twins defeated the Royals 1 to 0.

Cuddyer also showed his appreciation for the fans by handing out several of his left over bats.

Minnesota Twin Michael Cuddyer hands a bat to fans after the final game of the season where the Twins won on a walk-off base hit by Trevor Plouffe against the Kansas City Royals on September 28, 2011 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Twins defeated the Royals 1 to 0.

A young Minnesota Twins fan reacts after being handed a bat after the Twins won the final game of the season on a walk-off base hit by Trevor Plouffe against the Kansas City Royals on September 28, 2011 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Twins defeated the Royals 1 to 0.

There is no question the Cuddyer is the leader on the Twins team and with the team seemingly only getting younger his veteran presence will be missed if he doesn’t sign with the Twins this off-season. On a personal note, I did have one direct encounter with Cuddyer at a game this season and I can say that he truly is a class-act. If you recall from back in May, I made a photo of the entire Twins team standing around a large #3 etched into the infield dirt when the team was honoring Harmon Killebrew after his passing. You can see this photo below.

Minnesota Twins players and coaches stand around a large #3 etched into the infield dirt at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota on May 23, 2011 as they pay tribute to Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew after he passed away on May 17, 2011.

Well back in July I made that photo into a large 36 inch wide print and presented it to Cuddyer simply as a gift as I know he has taken up photography as a hobby not too long ago. To my surprise, he offered to have the entire team sign a copy of the photo for me in exchange. I recently got it back from the framer and it’s truly something I will cherish for a very long time.

Michael Cuddyer helped get one of my photos signed by the Minnesota Twins team.

So although this season did not end up the way I had hoped, I still managed to witness some great moments. In all I attended 78 regular season games as well as 2 spring training games. With my photos I was able to cover a great deal of the season and I will be updating my website in the coming weeks with full galleries from each of the games I photographed. In the time being, you can see a good portion of my photos from the season on my Flickr account.

I have no idea what’s going to happen next season as far as me photographing the games, but I really hope I’m able to do it again at least in some capacity. It was an incredible amount of work to photograph so many games, but I loved every minute of it. No matter what the outcome of a season, there are always so many great and special moments that happen each season. Being able to photograph and relive those moments is truly what I enjoy. I can only hope you’ve enjoyed my photos as well. For now it’s time to watch a little postseason baseball and count down the days until pitchers and catchers report for spring training.

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