Before Wednesday's game, the Twins held the long-awaited ceremony to recognize manager Ron Gardenhire for winning his 1,000th career game on Saturday in Cleveland. And they presented him with a gift that any cigar aficionado would love — a custom-made humidor and 1,000 cigars.
"Gardy kept saying last year, 'I need a new humidor,' " said Dustin Morse, the Twins director of baseball communications and player relations, "and bells went off."
Twins president Dave St. Peter approved the project, and in early September, Morse contacted his friend Bob Emfield, a Minnesotan and one of the founders of the Tommy Bahama clothing store and restaurant chain. Emfield is friends with Rocky Patel, whose cigars are smoked worldwide. And the Twins were able to make the huge order, with each cigar lasered with the phrase "1,000 Wins" on the side.
Next was the humidor. Glen Perkins' father-in-law, Kurt Weber, is a teacher at Lakeville South High School but also is a master woodworker and owner of Custom Vision Design. He accepted the challenge — but the Twins gave him only two weeks to build it. And there were times he worried about missing their deadline.
"Every time they would lose, I would get excited because I needed more time," Weber joked.
But the Twins couldn't stop losing in September, falling two wins shy of getting Gardenhire to 1,000.
Weber completed the humidor, which stands 78 inches tall, is made out of Spanish cedar and contains a remote-controlled humidifier.
Then everyone was worried about Gardenhire not being brought back, which would have killed the project. But Gardenhire was given a two-year extension.
They had the cigars. They had the humidor. Suddenly, they had plenty of time. They hid the humidor at Target Field during the offseason.
But cigars needed to be stored at or near 72 percent humidity, that wasn't not feasible at Target Field, and the cigars could go bad. That would be a lot of bad cigars.
Laurie Emfield, Bob's wife, called Todd Ramsburg, owner of Cigar Jones in Minnetonka, one of the popular cigar shops in the area. All winter, about 50 boxes of Gardenhire's stogies sat in one of their two humidors as customers walked past them.
"They wondered what the heck it was," Ramsburg said. "They were on the top row and it was a lot of cigars."
Actually, Cigar Jones still has some on site. Although the humidor is taller than Joe Mauer, it can hold only 500 cigars. The rest eventually will be delivered to Gardenhire.
He better get to smoking 'em.