When Tim Quintana and his family moved to Brainerd in 1999 he knew about the then Brainerd Mighty Gulls of the Northwoods League but never saw a game.
When the Mighty Gulls folded in 2002 Quintana swore that if Brainerd got another baseball team he'd make it a point not to miss out.
Quintana got his chance when the Brainerd Blue Thunder came to town in 2005. And, he's been front and center at nearly every Blue Thunder game at Mills Field ever since.
But Quintana isn't you're normal run of the mill baseball fan. In fact, you can't even put him in the category of a super fan. That would be too mild.
Tim "Timmy Thunder" Quintana shouted encouragement at a recent Brainerd Blue Thunder baseball game at Mills Field. Quintana has been a season-ticket holder since the Blue Thunder started playing in Brainerd in 2005. Brainerd Dispatch
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Quintana's exuberance for Blue Thunder baseball is, quite frankly, off the charts to the point where he's earned the nickname "Timmy Thunder." And, anyone who's taken in a game the past three years can point Timmy Thunder out in a matter of seconds.
"I am the loudest fan," Quintana said proudly. "If we're starting an inning I'll yell, 'Let's get the track meet going.' My patent is stomping on the bleachers. When a batter has two strikes on him I'll get up and yell, 'Show him the funny one.'
"All the regulars know Timmy Thunder but people who haven't been to a game don't know me. But, by the end of the first half of the first inning, they know who I am."
Growing up in Santa Fe, N.M., Quintana was always around sports but he especially loved baseball. His father was drafted by the Chicago White Sox and he also had an uncle who played in the NFL.
"Our whole family on both sides is very sports oriented," said Quintana. "My mother's brother, Stan Quintana, played a season with the Minnesota Vikings in the '60s under Bud Grant so I've been around sports my whole life."
Tim "Timmy Thunder" Quintana
Family: Wife, Barbara; daughters Emiliana, 17, and Melissa, 14, work for the Brainerd Blue Thunder.
Favorite baseball team: Pittsburgh Pirates
Favorite baseball player: Roberto Clemente
Favorite ballpark food: Bratwurst, peanuts, CrackerJack
Favorite baseball announcers: Harry Caray, Curt Gowdy
Stadium where he would like to watch a game: Camden Yards in Baltimore
Major league pitchers he would like to have faced: Juan Marichal, Bob Gibson
If you won the lottery what would you do?: Help my family, give it back to the community.
Quintana played Little League baseball and has continued to play baseball to this day. He likes playing third base and is quick to brag a little that no ball gets by him.
"I grew up playing baseball and to this day I'm a member of the over-35 baseball league," Quintana said. "I like playing the hot corner at third base. I also really like the camaraderie with the players."
Quintana now channels his love for baseball to Blue Thunder games. For the first two seasons he'd tear out the bottom of a pop cup and use that as a megaphone. This year some of the host families gave him an old Twins megaphone with Blue Thunder logos on it to aid his boisterous cheers.
He became such a fixture at Blue Thunder games that when he returned from two games last season while on a camping trip his usual seat had a label on it that said, "Timmy Thunder."
And, when the ballclub needs someone to lead the crowd in the singing of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame," Timmy Thunder is first in line to belt out the tune, in key or not.
"'Take Me Out to the Ballgame' is a great song and there's no reason to be shy about singing it, even if you can't carry a tune," said Quintana. "Everyone really gets into it. It's a warm feeling to sing that song."
What about the times when Quintana gets a little too out of hand? That's when Blue Thunder owner Pam Marr will try to settle him down.
"It's fun having Tim in the stands," Marr said. "He gets a little out of hand sometimes. I've gone and sat next to him and he calms down, then I leave and he's right back to doing what he was doing. I wish we had more fans with his enthusiasm."
What's Quintana's favorite part of being at the ballpark? His answer is quite simple.
"It's baseball," Quintana said. "Having a good seat and watching these young guys play the game. I'm a charter member of this team. This is the activity of the summer for me and I also like to fish. As long as the team's here I will be in the stands watching."
And making a lot of noise.
TROY GUNDERSON may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5865.
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