Dan Gladden's former Twins teammates called him "Wrench" for his aggressive play and blue-collar work ethic.
Now that the former outfielder has moved upstairs to the Twins' broadcast booth, his partner John Gordon affectionately calls him "Dazzle" for the charisma and insight he brings to a broadcast.
Gladden also brings knowledge of the game to youngsters. Along with former Twins Tim Laudner, Gene Larkin and Scott Leius, he operates Dan Gladden's Big League Baseball Camp, which will be in Brainerd June 7-8 in conjunction with the opening of the Brainerd Mighty Gulls fifth season.
The 44-year-old Gladden and his former teammates will conduct a 2-day clinic for area players at Adamson Field. They provide specific position instruction in two, 2 1/2-hour sessions.
Gladden works with outfielders, Laudner with catchers, Leius with middle infielders, Larkin with corner infielders and former Twins minor-leaguer Jeff Satzinger with pitchers.
Gladden, who played 11 seasons in the majors, conducts his camp like major league spring training. Many of the drills and fundamentals his camp offers are taught by big-league teams.
"It's more or less how to practice and how fundamentals should be taught," Gladden said from Kansas City where the Twins played the Royals last week. "We're all parents. We all have kids in sports. We're frustrated parents.
"When I go to my daughter's basketball practice, and I watch what they do, it frustrates me. They don't work on basic fundamentals, like dribbling and shooting. In baseball it's catching, throwing and hitting.
"That's why we put this together, plus we still have a passion for the game."
Gladden and his former teammates will bring their passion to the Mighty Gulls' June 8 game against the St. Cloud River Bats. They will throw out the first pitch, sign autographs and mingle with fans.
"At some point, we all played in these leagues," Gladden said. "This is just a reminder of where we came from. There's nothing wrong with going back. If anything, you show up, let the players know they're going in the right direction, and say, 'Best of luck to you.'"
As for the Twins' future, Gladden believes luck is on their side. He doesn't believe Minnesota will be one of the franchises that will be contracted, as has been threatened by Commissioner Bud Selig.
"They will not contract the Twins," Gladden said. "I can see the Montreal Expos moving. I was there when Selig made the announcement in Chicago. He said baseball would look at teams that have not historically raised 'X' amount of revenue and baseball does not potentially see them raising it. The Expos never have.
"The Twins were the first team to draw 3 million fans. They drew 1.8 million fans last year. The Twins don't fit that criteria."
Gladden says the Twins need an outdoor stadium. As a player and announcer, he has seen virtually every major-league park and has seen what a new stadium can do for a community, as well as for a franchise.
"It's more than going to watch a baseball game," Gladden said. "It has to be fan friendly, a nice atmosphere. Are the Twins leaving? I don't believe that, but the Twins need a stadium.
"You can look at every ballpark, even Milwaukee, and it has taken them 5-7 years to negotiate for a stadium. We're at the end of that 7-year period. We're coming down to the last month for people to make a decision."
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