MILWAUKEE — Carlos Gomez is an outgoing young man. If a reporter has a question, the Twins center fielder will provide the answer in his best broken English, and in a good-natured, non-defensive manner.
That changed for a moment on Saturday afternoon at Miller Park. Gomez was walking through the visitors clubhouse when he was stopped and asked: "How do you like the hotel you're in here?"
Go-Go waved a hand dismissively, issued a profanity and took off across the room.
The Twins always have headquartered at the Pfister -- a historic downtown hotel -- during their stays in Milwaukee. "It's a great hotel ... always one of my favorites," said John Gordon, a Twins broadcaster since 1987.
The Pfister also has been among the favorites for believers in the paranormal. The most-popular ghost story is that Charles Pfister, the owner when the hotel opened in 1893, can be seen overlooking the ornate lobby from the grand staircase.
Gomez has more than his share of nervous energy. That can be seen as he stands in center field between pitches chewing away on his fingernails.
Aware of Gomez's advanced anxiety level, teammates (particularly Livan Hernandez) made sure that Go-Go heard a few ghost stories concerning the Pfister before the team arrived in Milwaukee on Thursday night.
Gomez has been rooming with Alexi Casilla on the road. Casilla left the room around noon Friday. Gomez was alone. His iPod was on a table across the room.
Suddenly, it started playing tunes and vibrating across the table. Gomez turned it off, backed away, and then the iPod did the same thing.
Cold reflection of the situation would suggest it was unlikely that the ghost of Charles Pfister, a man from the early 1900s, would know much about the workings of an iPod.
Go-Go didn't have time for such a dispassionate view. He put on his shoes, grabbed the iPod, left the room, found the Pfister's cabstand and headed for Miller Park.
Once there, he found a soulmate in Jerry White, the Twins first base coach. White doesn't admit to a belief that apparitions visit rooms in certain hotels.
"I just don't like hearing all that creepy stuff," he said. "I can't sleep at night."
White admitted -- after hearing Gomez tell his tale -- that he spent the early hours Saturday with the curtains open and the lights on in his room.
"I finally fell asleep about 6 o'clock when the light started coming in the windows," he said.
The Pfister isn't No. 1 for White when it comes to restless sleep. "That place in Tampa Bay -- I don't sleep at all when we're down there," he said.
The hotel is the Renaissance Vinoy on the beach in St. Petersburg. It's a grand old hotel that opened on New Year's Eve in 1925. It fell into disrepair and was closed for 18 years. The Vinoy reopened with a grand restoration in 1992.
Five years ago, Jeff Horrigan of the Boston Herald wrote a ghost story featuring Scott Williamson. The Red Sox reliever relayed this tale of what happened during an earlier visit to the Vinoy with the Cincinnati Reds:
"I was asleep on my stomach and all of a sudden it felt like someone was pushing down on my back and I couldn't breathe. I thought maybe it was a cramp or something but then I rolled over and looked over at the window and there was this guy standing there ...
"It was a guy wearing old-fashioned clothes, like something you might see in the 1930s or '20s. He had a top hat ... and he was just looking right at me ... I jumped up and turned on the lights but he was gone."
This story made the baseball rounds rapidly. When the Twins made their next visit to the Vinoy, a conspiracy took place to further agitate White.
He was distracted in the lobby, as a Twins employee sneaked into his room, turned on the shower and wrote "Welcome Jerry" in soap on the bathroom mirror. The message disappeared, then showed up in the steam the first time White took a shower.
"It's nice, but I can't stand that hotel," White said.
The Twins don't visit Tampa Bay until Sept. 18-21. The pressure's going to be on Casilla to calm down his roommate for that weekend.
The Twins did get Gomez and Casilla a different room for the rest of this Pfister stay. Asked about his roommate, Casilla said: "He's OK; I've got it covered."
Patrick Reusse can be heard weekdays on AM-1500 KSTP at 6:45 and 7:45 a.m. and 4:40 p.m. firstname.lastname@example.org