Dick Bremer has been broadcasting Twins games for nearly 20 years. He is one of the most respected and knowledgeable broadcasters in the majors.
The Staples High School graduate has been with the Twins three years longer than Tom Kelly has been their manager. In his tenure Bremer has developed respect and admiration for the job Kelly does.
Bremer, 44, concurs with the club's decision to give Kelly a 1-year contract extension despite having presided over eight consecutive losing seasons and only four winning seasons in 14 years. Bremer is convinced Kelly and his coaches are the hardest-working staff in the majors.
"It would have been a shame if the hard work all of them have put in trying to make these guys major-league players would have been interrupted," Bremer said. "They really work these guys. They spend an awful lot of time with them."
Bremer said it has been disappointing to hear some current and former players criticize Kelly's style.
"When I watch games all I see is Tom's skills as a manager," Bremer said. "Nobody is better at managing a baseball game than Tom Kelly. Given the tools to work with he is capable of winning the Twins another two or three World Series. I don't know whether it is his job to develop players.
"When Tom took over full time in '87 he had established players. Most of the last five years he has had players promoted from the minor leagues. Maybe the minor league system needs to be improved so guys are ready when they come up."
Bremer concurs with the proposal to retain general manager Terry Ryan for another year. He thinks Ryan's job may be more difficult than Kelly's, being saddled with a minuscule payroll, and trying to put a representative team on the field.
"Trying to go out and get experience at bargain prices is a crapshoot," Bremer said. "You could end up with John Jaha, like Oakland did last year, or with Butch Huskey, like the Twins did this year. It's a high-risk venture. I don't envy the job Terry has had the last couple years. My assumption is Terry will be back. That is justified too."
Like Kelly and Ryan, Bremer is also involved in a contractual situation. FoxSportsNet has purchased Midwest Sports Channel but doesn't assume ownership until January. Bremer has been told not to be concerned, that it will take time for the dust to settle.
"I'm hoping to get something established in the next couple weeks," he said. "People who are in charge right now have assured me they are working on trying to get something worked out for me, at least for one year."
Bremer, a native Minnesotan, intends to return.
"It would be very disappointing not to see this thing through to the end after what we have gone through," he said.
Power hitting has been one of the Twins' biggest disappointments. The average number of home runs hit by an American League team this season was 191. The potent Twins hit 116.
"If you win 90 games you're probably in the playoffs," Bremer said. "The Twins won 69. If somehow you can find someone to put in the middle of the lineup who could hit 30-35 home runs the whole complexion of the team changes. This team hasn't had a 30-home run hitter since '87."
Bremer said the Metrodome is another of the Twins' shortcomings. He doesn't think the Vikings deserve a stadium until players begin losing punts in the ceiling.
"I don't care if you're in the fourth grade or you are the governor -- anyone who thinks that baseball can succeed and be played properly in the Metrodome is kidding themselves," he said. "The age of the stadium to me is irrelevant. Who owns the club is irrelevant. We have people in Minnesota who don't know what it's like to go to a major league game outside. The problem is who pays for it."
The Twins finished this season at Comerica Park in Detroit, one of the latest in a line of retro parks.
"The Tigers were out of the race," Bremer said. "They had a disappointing year on the field but the atmosphere and the excitement level before and during games is unlike anything you typically see at the Metrodome. I don't know why we are so reluctant to get back to that."
Bremer said in the Twins' history they have never had their own major-league facility. Met Stadium in Bloomington was a minor league park that was expanded to accommodate a major-league franchise. The Metrodome was built for the Vikings.
"We have never had a Camden Yards or a Jabobs Field, something built specifically for Major League Baseball," he said. "For a good part of their 40 years the Twins were in the upper level of baseball attendance. This is a great baseball area, yet we have never had the opportunity to go to a cozy, intimate ballpark and watch a major-league game."
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