La Velle E. Neal III has covered baseball for the Star Tribune since 1998 (the post-Knoblauch era). Born and raised in Chicago, he grew up following the White Sox and hating the Cubs. He attended both the University of Illinois and Illinois-Chicago and began his baseball writing career at the Kansas City Star. He can be heard occasionally on KFAN radio, lending his great baseball mind to Paul Allen and other hosts. Mark Rosen borrows him occasionally for WCCO-TV.

Twins-Tigers: The Soul Patrol lives on

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: June 30, 2010 - 11:42 AM

(In-game update: Twins RHP Kevin Slowey left the game after the sixth inning with a right ankle contusion and is day to day.)

Delmon Young, during a conversation with our Joe C., talked about how he was part of a Soul Patrol lineup with the Rays. It went Carl Crawford, B.J. Upton, and him,

``You know about the one that used to be in Minnesota,'' Joe C. asked him

``Oh yeah,'' Young replied. ``That's the original one.''

Torii Hunter, Jacque Jones and Matt Lawton were the original Soul Patrol. The nickname was penned many years ago by a slightly husky African-American sportswriter who was urged to do so by former Twin and current radio voice Dan Gladden (go figure).

Gladden was all over me one spring training to call them the Soul Patrol. I was nervous about backlash. I even ran it by Hunter, who grimaced and said, ``Man, I don't know.....''

At the time, the Twins had the only all African-American outfield in baseball. They started the season well. I figured I'd give it a shot. I wrote it.  It stuck. The trio had t-shirts made. They referred to themselves in the clubhouse that way.

As time went by - and Shannon Stewart replaced Lawton -  Doug Mientkiewicz, Corey Koskie, A.J. Pierzynski and coach Rick Stelmaszek started calling themselves, `The Pole Patrol,' out of jealousy. The infielders were jealous of the outfielders having a nickname and called themselves. ``The League of Nations - Koskie (Canada), Cristian Guzman (Dominican Republic), Luis Rivas (Venezuela) and Doug Mientkiewicz (America).

I digress, but nicknames and baseball belong together. The 2010 Twins need more nicknames.

Anyway, Young is batting third today. We were surprised. One thing I've learned about Gardy is that he'll deny, deny, deny then change his mind.

``We have the Soul Patrol leading off,'' Gardenhire said. ``We have Span, Hudson and Delmon and that was self-proclaimed by Delmon Young, the Soul Partol  the top three in the lineup. He used the Soul Patrol...and he was moonwalking while he was doing it.''

Gardenhire said that Young has been swinging well, there's a lefty on the mound today and this allows him to keep the rest of the lineup intact.

``You guys all want him up there anyhow...or the bloggers.'' Gardenhire added what seemed to be a half-joking tone. ``So we'll put him up there. He was really pumped, so we'll see how he does.''

Tigers (41-35)

1. Austin Jackson, CF.
2. Johnny Damon, LF
3. Magglio Ordonez, DH
4. Miguel Cabrera, 1B
5. Brennan Boesch, RF
6. Carlos Guillen, 2B
7. Brando Inge, 3B
8. Gerald Laird, C
9. Danny Worth, SS

Andy Oliver, LHP

Twins (42-35)

1. Denard Span, CF
2. Orlando Hudson, 2B
3. Delmon Young, LF
4. Justin Morneau, 1B
5. Jason Kubel, RF
6. Michael Cuddyer, 3B
7. Jim Thome, DH
8. Nick Punto, SS
9. Drew Butera, C

Kevin Slowey, RHP

 

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