MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - Walking, driving and fishing on ice is a foreign concept to members of the Minnesota Twins who aren’t from this state or this region.
Imagine the surprise of Jose Berrios and Eddie Rosario - both from Puerto Rico - outside on a southern Minnesota lake in the bitter January cold, sitting on a bucket trying to catch fish. Add in new manager Rocco Baldelli and radio voice Kris Atteberry, and you’ve got the ice fishing version of the Twins Caravan.
The four spent Monday on Madison Lake, just outside Mankato. They retreated to indoor ice houses when needed, but experienced an outside winter tradition in Minnesota.
Ice fishing – it’s a one-day, one-time experience for the boys of summer.
“It’s too different, it’s awesome the experience,” Rosario said. “I love to see something different, but that’s too much different for me. I’m from Puerto Rico, but I love it. I love it maybe for one day.”
It’s a chance for players and members of the organization to see their fans outside of the traditional baseball setting at Target Field. It’s also more personal, with the chance for autographs and pictures.
“This is all new to me too. I like fishing but I’ve never done anything like this out here. Everyone is having a good time and they’re catching a few fish,” Baldelli said. “I think any time you get to be outside for the day, it’s a nice day.”
The Twins Caravan is in its 59th year and stops in more than 40 communities between Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Iowa.
Monday’s stop on Madison Lake was for the second-annual Twins Ice Fishing Classic. It’s safe to say Rosario and Berrios have never been out on a frozen lake to catch fish.
“That’s awesome, I’ve never seen that in my life. People love fishing to stay here for this weather,” Rosario said. “Not me, 100 percent. But it’s fun, I like it.”
“It’s a good experience for us walking on the lake, freezing. Watching the young kids, family doing ice fishing. We don’t see that in Puerto Rico,” Berrios said. “I enjoy it when I’m here only for a minute, not for hours.”
The Twins Caravan wraps up this week with stops across the state Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday before TwinsFest starts Friday afternoon at Target Field.
Friday at TwinsFest will include an autograph session with recently retired catcher/first baseman Joe Mauer. He will also have a photo session Friday night, and another autograph session on Saturday.
Baldelli comes into lead the Twins to replace Paul Molitor, who was dismissed after a disappointing 78-84 season and a second place finish in the American League Central Division in 2018. He has yet to manage a game, but Baldelli has already found out Twins fans are passionate about their baseball.
“One thing that I can see is that people care. The people care about the Twins, support the Twins,” Baldelli said. “We all appreciate it, I appreciate it. It’s very easy to see, but it helps us get excited as well when you see it.”
While we battle snowfall and subzero temperatures most of this week, remember that Twins pitchers and catchers start Spring Training workouts in Fort Myers, Fla., on Feb. 13. The first full-squad workout is set for Feb. 18.