OAKLAND, Calif. – The game was over, the kids were asleep, and Sam Fuld was getting ready for bed last Wednesday night in Kansas City, Mo. The road trip was going well — Fuld collected a hit in both of the first two games against the Royals, made a nice running catch, and all in all he was enjoying having his wife and kids around on the Twins’ annual bring-your-family road trip.
Then the phone rang. Next thing he knew, Fuld was in a remake of “Family Vacation,” driving across the Midwest in a van with three kids, all under 5 years old.
“We were expecting a six-hour drive,” Fuld said of his unscheduled trip from Kansas City to Minnesota. “It turned into more like nine or 10 with all the stops.”
The glamorous life of a ballplayer, huh?
Fuld had to make the impromptu trek up Interstate 35 because that phone call was from Rob Antony, the Twins assistant general manager, informing him late the night of July 30 that he was about to become property of the Oakland Athletics once more. The Twins the next day make the trade — Fuld for lefthander Tommy Milone — official about five hours before the trade deadline. By that time, Fuld was already nearing Des Moines.
“That was a trip down memory lane,” Fuld laughed, because he spent parts of the 2008, 2009 and 2010 seasons with the Iowa Cubs. But he and his family finally reached the Twin Cities in their rented van, so Fuld could fly to Oakland while his wife packed up for yet another move.
The move caught him by surprise, the 32-year-old outfielder said, because he was settling in with the Twins. He noticed that Oakland backup outfielder Craig Gentry had broken his hand, but “when I got that phone call, I was caught off guard a little bit.”
Not that he’s complaining. He went from the last-place Twins to the first-place A’s, a team he began the season with before being waived in April during a roster squeeze. “I can’t ask for a better situation than here,” he said. “It’s fun, a great environment, and I feel like I fit in well.”
Fuld wasn’t in the lineup Thursday, but he had played in each of the six games before it. He had hit .217 over those six games, but with three stolen bases. He singled off Grant Balfour, stole second and scored the winning run in the 10th inning of Monday night’s 3-2 victory over the Rays.
Fuld also made a highlight-reel catch-and-throw Saturday to nail the Royals’ Alex Gordon at the plate, a play that got national attention because he somersaulted to the ground from the force of the throw.
“I expect I’ll be moving around here, playing all three [outfield] positions, stuff I’m used to,” Fuld said. “I’m excited.”
He will miss Minnesota, though. “I loved the city. It was a privilege to play in that new ballpark,” Fuld said of Target Field and the Twins. “I really enjoyed my time there.”
He’s not the only Fuld who will miss his three-month team, though. “They’re used to packing up and traveling,” he said of his three small children. “But my 2-year-old is upset — no more TC Bear.”