We had that view of snow-covered Target Field last night for the Diamond Awards, an event that allows the Twins to celebrate the previous season by handing out team awards while also looking ahead to next year -- all of which while supporting the great cause of U of M medical research. Here were some of the more amusing and/or enlightening moments from an enjoyable evening:
*Newly elected Hall of Famer Bert Blyleven explained the methodology behind eating two night crawlers on air a couple years ago for charity. He took down the first one whole; the second one, though, he chewed -- he said -- because he had a moment of panic and didn't want the two worms making baby worms in his stomach. ... Upon having his No. 28 retired by the Twins at the conclusion of the evening, Blyleven quipped, "Hey Jesse: That's why you went to Chicago?" at former Twins reliever Jesse Crain, who wore 28 during his time here and was in attendance despite signing with the White Sox during the offseason.
*Hall of Famer Rod Carew lavished praise on Blyleven. But he also indicated that this picture of Blyleven is entirely accurate and that one never wants to get stuck in an elevator with the curveball master.
*Carl Pavano won the Twins' pitcher of the year award for 2010. But while most award winners (Joe Mauer, Michael Cuddyer, Crain, Blyleven, Danny Valencia, Delmon Young ... etc.) were in attendance, Pavano taped an acceptance message explaining that he was tending to a personal matter in "sunny Florida." It was a funny (in an awkward way) video that even drew a subtle (and hilarious) dig from Mauer when he got up on stage.
*We don't remember a specific thing Valencia said aside from that he and Drew Butera essentially paid for the team's post-year party via their fines in the team's Kangaroo Court, but we remember his time on stage being lively and funny. Look for him to be filling up reporters' notebooks for as long as he is in the big leagues.
*After Young took the stage and announced he'd like to win at least one playoff game, Thome followed and talked about the World Series. He was also badgered into answering the question of who he would like to hit his 600th HR off of this year. After some hemming and hawing, he decided on whoever is the White Sox closer -- an answer that certainly appealed to the masses.
*Justin Morneau was not in attendance. GM Bill Smith said the team is "optimistic" that Morneau will be ready to report at the start of spring training and that April 1 is the real target date for having the slugging first baseman full speed ahead for the season.
Nothing really controversial or newsy (aside form Blyleven's number being retired and Smith talking a little about Morneau), but that wasn't the point of the evening. The night of course led into the start of TwinsFest today-Sunday (now with 100 percent more Blaine because of the Dome roof situation). If anyone is heading up to the National Sports Center this weekend, we'd love to hear your thoughts on how the event worked up there.