True fans makes it to another home opener

  • Updated: April 8, 2014 - 7:41 AM

Kevin Samsel didn’t need an excuse to attend the Twins home opener on Monday.

The sun was out, the food was good ... and for Samsel, it was the home opener, so he knew he’d be here.

The retired Apple Valley elementary school principal stood near Gate 34 an hour before first pitch, licking the barbecue sauce off his stained fingers from the rib tips at the new Butcher and the Boar grill. Samsel, 62, said he has been a fan of the Twins since the franchise moved from Washington in 1961, and he has attended almost all of the franchise’s home openers.

“Since they’ve moved into the Metrodome, I think I’ve missed only one home opener,” said Samsel, who missed Joe Mauer’s debut in 2004 because he was in Mexico on vacation.

He plans to attend 30 games this year, but he’s expecting to witness another bad season. Samsel thinks the Twins, losers of 96 games or more for three summers in a row, will finish last in the American League Central with a losing record.

“If the Twins could play .500, I’d be ecstatic,” Samsel said.

Even with the poor home opener outing — the Twins lost to Oakland 8-3 — Samsel was glad to be at Target Field.

“I have no excuse not to be here,” Samsel said.

When reports first surfaced that the Senators would move to the Twin Cities, Samsel said he saved every newspaper article in a scrapbook.

“After two weeks, it was overflowing,” Samsel said.

His passion for baseball developed from his father, and Samsel tried to spread that same affection for the game to his students. When he struggled to get off days from teaching on Opening Day in the 1970s, Samsel said he’d stick a Twins pennant on every student’s desk that was “sick” that day.

As the principal at Greenleaf Elementary School in Apple Valley, Samsel threw a schoolwide Opening Day luncheon. He’d decorate the gym with his own baseball memorabilia and order concession items from the Metrodome — hot dogs, nachos, malts — for the students and faculty to properly celebrate the start of another baseball season.

Samsel held that luncheon for 18 years before he retired in 2008.

“I love baseball. I absolutely love baseball,” Samsel said. “I’ve endured the bad seasons, and I’ve endured the good ones.”

Master Tesfatsion

  • related content

  • Kevin Samsel didn’t need an excuse to attend the Twins home opener on Monday. He’s retired from his time as an elementary school principal and was at Gate 34 an hour before first pitch.

  • THE VIEW FROM UP ABOVEKenny Beck of Brooklyn Center held his niece Abbigale Lashuay during the seventh-inning stretch Monday at the Twins home opener against Oakland. Announced attendance was 35,837, well short of the 39,021 capacity.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions
1:10 PM ET123456789RHE
DetroitB. Farmer (0-0)000
MinnesotaY. Pino (1-5)000
Preview | Matchup | Lineup | Log | Wrap | Box
8:10 PM ET123456789RHE
DetroitJ. Verlander (10-11)000
MinnesotaT. May (0-2)000
Preview | Matchup | Lineup | Log | Wrap | Box


Chicago WSox - S. Carroll 12:05 PM
NY Yankees - H. Kuroda
Tampa Bay - J. Hellickson 12:07 PM
Toronto - M. Buehrle
Detroit - B. Farmer 12:10 PM
Minnesota - Y. Pino
Seattle - C. Young 12:35 PM
Boston - B. Workman
Baltimore - B. Norris 1:20 PM
Chicago Cubs - K. Hendricks
San Francisco - T. Lincecum 3:05 PM
Washington - J. Zimmermann
Houston - C. McHugh 6:05 PM
Cleveland - D. Salazar
St. Louis - S. Miller 6:05 PM
Philadelphia - D. Buchanan
Atlanta - E. Santana 6:10 PM
Cincinnati - M. Leake
Pittsburgh - E. Volquez 6:10 PM
Milwaukee - W. Peralta
San Diego - A. Cashner 7:10 PM
Arizona - V. Nuno
Miami - T. Koehler 7:10 PM
Colorado - J. Lyles
Detroit - J. Verlander 7:10 PM
Minnesota - T. May
Kansas City - J. Guthrie 7:25 PM
Texas - N. Tepesch
LA Angels - C. Wilson 8:05 PM
Oakland - J. Lester
NY Mets - J. deGrom 8:10 PM
Los Angeles - Z. Greinke
Carolina 7 FINAL
New England 30
NY Giants 35 FINAL
NY Jets 24
Jacksonville 12 FINAL
Detroit 13
Oakland 21 FINAL
Green Bay 31
Chicago 6 FINAL
Seattle 34
Tampa Bay 3:30 PM
Tennessee 6:00 PM
Dallas 6:00 PM
Washington 6:30 PM
New Orleans 7:00 PM
Minnesota 7:00 PM
Kansas City
St. Louis 7:00 PM
Houston 8:00 PM
San Diego 8/24/14 3:00 PM
San Francisco
Cincinnati 8/24/14 7:00 PM
Atlanta 8/28/14 5:00 PM
Detroit 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Indianapolis 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Kansas City 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Green Bay
NY Jets 8/28/14 6:00 PM
St. Louis 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Carolina 8/28/14 6:30 PM
New England 8/28/14 6:30 PM
NY Giants
Washington 8/28/14 6:30 PM
Tampa Bay
Baltimore 8/28/14 7:00 PM
New Orleans
Chicago 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Denver 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Minnesota 8/28/14 7:00 PM
San Francisco 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Arizona 8/28/14 9:00 PM
San Diego
Seattle 8/28/14 9:00 PM
(21) Texas A&M 8/28/14 5:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Wake Forest 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Boise State 8/28/14 7:00 PM
(18) Ole Miss
Tulane 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Temple 8/28/14 8:15 PM
Rutgers 8/28/14 9:00 PM
Washington St
Weber State 8/28/14 9:30 PM
(19) Arizona State
BYU 8/29/14 6:00 PM
(6) Jacksonville St 8/29/14 6:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Bowling Green 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Western Ky
TX-San Antonio 8/29/14 8:00 PM
Colorado State 8/29/14 8:00 PM
UNLV 8/29/14 9:30 PM
UCF 8/30/14 7:30 AM
Penn State
Chicago 6:00 PM
Toronto FC
Montreal 6:00 PM
Red Bull New York
Chivas USA 6:30 PM
New England
Houston 6:30 PM
D.C. 7:30 PM
Sporting Kansas City
Vancouver FC 9:30 PM
Los Angeles
Montreal 16 FINAL
Winnipeg 24
Toronto 3:00 PM
Calgary 8/24/14 2:00 PM
Saskatchewan 8/24/14 6:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Ottawa 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Winnipeg 8/31/14 2:00 PM
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Indiana 4:00 PM
Minnesota 6:00 PM
San Antonio
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters





question of the day

Poll: How sure are you that the Twins are on the road to improving?

Weekly Question