Souhan: Dozier a worthy recipient of Twins' Good Guy award

  • Article by: JIM SOUHAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 24, 2014 - 6:34 AM
hide

Minnesota Twins second baseman Brian Dozier (2) fields a ground out by Texas Rangers' Leonys Martin in the first inning of a baseball game, Sunday, Sept. 1, 2013, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Brian Dozier was born in Mississippi and recently bought a house in Hattiesburg, where he works out with the Southern Miss baseball team and catches the occasional glimpse of local hero Brett Favre.

Dozier loves baseball, hunting, fishing and Southern living. So why did he spend chunks of his winter digging trenches in Nicaragua and riding in an odoriferous bus through the godforsaken snowlands of Minnesota?

The only explanations would be a poor sense of direction, or a good heart.

In November, he and his bride-to-be, Renee, volunteered to serve a mission in Nicaragua. For eight days, they slept on bunks, ate rice and beans or peanut butter and jelly and dug clean-water trenches, because so many Nicaraguans die from ingesting tainted water.

Rice and beans? Peanut butter and jelly? For a big-league athlete?

“Well,” Dozier said, “once in a while they’d find a chicken.”

In early January, he married Renee and they honeymooned in Maui.

This week, Dozier flew to Minnesota — there is as yet no evidence of threats or coercion — to voluntarily ride in a bus with other Twins representatives on the Twins Caravan through our customized version of the Polar Vortex.

The bus ride left Dozier with two options: Step outside and freeze, or stay inside and inhale the kind of noxious fumes that other current and former ballplayers find strangely amusing. Closer Glen Perkins used Twitter to accuse busmate Tom Brunansky, the Twins hitting coach, of tormenting his fellow passengers.

“I got told baseball stories I didn’t even know existed,” Dozier said, veering toward the high road.

Thursday night, in something of a culmination of his life-changing winter, Dozier attended the Twins’ Diamond Awards and received the Most Improved Twin and Media Good Guy awards.

For years, ballplayers have joined teams in Latin America to hone their skills, and they have brought back stories about wild fans and sometimes questionable living conditions. Dozier’s one winter ball experience: a trip to Venezuela two years ago that he cut short because he wasn’t getting enough work.

So why would Dozier make a five-hour flight to the Third World when the trip couldn’t benefit his career?

“Me and my wife wanted to do something before we got married, a couples kind of thing, and this mission trip came up,” he said. “We hooked up with a church from Atlanta — her cousin goes every year — and set it up. We didn’t know anybody down there.

“We both come from big Christian backgrounds. We both wanted to do mission trips. What a perfect thing to do.”

This weekend’s baseball festivities — the Diamond Awards and TwinsFest — signal that Dozier’s globe-trotting winter is almost over. He will turn 27 on May 15. He is no longer a prospect. He has entered the proving years.

As a rookie callup in 2012, he hit .234 with a .271 on-base percentage and a .332 slugging percentage.

Last year, the Twins moved him from shortstop to second base, and he hit .244 with a .312 on-base percentage and a .414 slugging percentage.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Buffalo 12/28/14 12:00 PM
New England
Cleveland 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Dallas 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Washington
Indianapolis 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Jacksonville 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Houston
San Diego 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
NY Jets 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Chicago 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
Philadelphia 12/28/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
New Orleans 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Carolina 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Atlanta
Detroit 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Oakland 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Denver
Arizona 12/28/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
St. Louis 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Cincinnati 12/28/14 7:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Washington 102 FINAL
New York 91
Oklahoma City 114 FINAL
San Antonio 106
Cleveland 91 FINAL
Miami 101
LA Lakers 86 4th Qtr 6:07
Chicago 96
Golden State 9:30 PM
LA Clippers
DePaul 69 FINAL
Loyola Marymount 72
Ohio 58 FINAL
Nebraska 71
Colorado 66 FINAL
Hawaii 69
George Washington 32 2nd Half 15:38
Wichita State 31
Central Mich 48 FINAL
Western Ky 49
Fresno State 6 FINAL
Rice 30
Illinois 12/26/14 12:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Rutgers 12/26/14 3:30 PM
North Carolina
NC State 12/26/14 7:00 PM
UCF
Cincinnati 12/27/14 12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Duke 12/27/14 1:10 PM
(15) Arizona State
Miami-Florida 12/27/14 2:30 PM
So Carolina
Boston College 12/27/14 3:30 PM
Penn State
(25) Nebraska 12/27/14 7:00 PM
(24) USC
Texas A&M 12/29/14 1:00 PM
West Virginia
Oklahoma 12/29/14 4:30 PM
(18) Clemson
Arkansas 12/29/14 8:00 PM
Texas
Notre Dame 12/30/14 2:00 PM
(22) LSU
(13) Georgia 12/30/14 5:45 PM
(20) Louisville
Maryland 12/30/14 9:00 PM
Stanford
(9) Ole Miss 12/31/14 11:30 AM
(6) TCU
(21) Boise State 12/31/14 3:00 PM
(12) Arizona
(8) Miss State 12/31/14 7:00 PM
(10) Georgia Tech
(19) Auburn 1/1/15 11:00 AM
(17) Wisconsin
(7) Michigan State 1/1/15 11:30 AM
(4) Baylor
(16) Missouri 1/1/15 12:00 PM
Minnesota
(2) Florida State 1/1/15 4:00 PM
(3) Oregon
(5) Ohio State 1/1/15 7:30 PM
(1) Alabama
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Do you like the Twins' offseason moves so far?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close