crockpotThe Twins held their annual Diamond Awards gala Thursday night at Target Field. I’ve been lucky enough attend several of these events in a combination working/social capacity over the years.

On the baseball side, there are usually at least a few interesting things said by players in the midst of the evening — and getting to hear from legends like Mudcat Grant and Tony Oliva, as was the case last night, is more than an added bonus.

Also more than an added bonus: the event is a fundraiser for a cause near and dear to me — the U of M’s research into neurological diseases. That’s where I chose to get my care when I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in March of 2014, and I have been impressed not only with their treatment but also with their position as a leader in research toward better treatment and (hopefully) eventually a cure.

A centerpiece of every Diamond Awards program involves a family impacted by one of the diseases the U is working to defeat. The tales are typically heart-wrenching, with patients in far worse shape than I am (my symptoms are not my favorite and affect me in some way every day, but in the big picture they have been moderate and manageable).

That makes it pretty easy to give money at the end of the night. Last night, though, I was drawn to another form of giving: the silent auction. Whereas usually this just involves browsing and jotting down some of the best items for a short newspaper write-up on the event, this time around the magnetic pull of a particular item drew me in and wouldn’t let go.

Sure, there were the typical items — Twins tickets, autographed merchandise, spa getaways, theater tickets — but those didn’t hold any sway. No, I set my sights on a crock pot.

This was not a special Twins-branded crock pot — just a regular one like you’d find at Target or on a wedding registry. And it was not something our family really needed, having just purchased a new crock pot about 6 months ago (one not as FANCY as the silent auction crock pot, but still).

It was just so … unusual? In the midst of all the gift cards, tickets and other fun amenities, here was a giant vat in which to make meatballs and such. Don’t get me wrong: I’m a slow cooker enthusiast. But it was really the perceived strangeness that sucked me in.

So with some urging from folks on Twitter — this kind of became a social media thing last night from a lot of people who quite possibly found the crock pot drama to be a nice distraction from the real world — an opening bid of $20 was placed. Honestly, I thought that might do it. Who else would want to lug a small appliance home from a fancy event?

As it turns out, three other people — including Chrissie Bonnes, wife of Twins blogger John Bonnes. The bid climbed to $25, then $30, then $35. Clearly, I needed an actual strategy if I was going to win this thing.

So: I found out bidding closed at 7:55 p.m. and dinner was slated to start at 7:15 p.m. At around 7:14, I put in a bid for $40 and waited.

A silent auction volunteer came to our table around 7:45 and showed me that my bid was still on top. She promised to come back right before bidding closed, but alas she did not. So I had to sweat it out for more than two hours until the official business ended shortly after 10. Did I get the slow cooker or not?

If the image with the post was not enough of a spoiler/clue, I did in fact get the crock pot. It was, in fact, much heavier than I thought it would be. And I did, most would agree, look kind of ridiculous carrying it about a mile through the skyway and back to my parking spot. It’s in our house now, and I’m plotting my first slow cooker meal (after, of course, Dana Wessel’s meatballs).

But hey: $40 for a great cause, a pretty nice crock pot with such features as “locking lid” and “cord management,” and a story to tell as well? I’ve paid a lot more for a lot worse.

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