The ticket box office at Hammond Stadium opened Saturday morning for the Twins’ 30th spring training in Fort Myers, Fla. There were 100-some people waiting for the 9 o’clock start, with the Twins providing the traditional coffee and doughnuts for this version of an opener.

Patty Creem, in her office in the ticket facility, waved toward the 150 yards-plus of parking lot between the big-league and minor league clubhouses and said: “There were years when people were lined up to the minor league facility when we opened. We’d get here at 4 in the morning, and people would start knocking on the windows, asking, ‘When are you going to bring out the coffee?’ ”

Creem has been with the Twins since that first spring training in 1991. Her business card reads: Spring Training Box Office Supervisor. “IDK; ask Patty’’ might be a better title.

“We moved down here in 1986 and I was bored out of my mind,’’ Creem said. “I called the Twins as soon as it was announced in 1989 that they would be moving here for spring training.’’

Patty was put through to Tom Mee in media relations. Tom’s answer was, “We don’t need anyone.’’ Then, Joe Mee, ticket manager and Tom’s son, went to Fort Myers and found a vacuum in preparation.

Tom Mee suggested that he call “that woman who has been bothering us all the time.’’ Thus was the start of Ask Patty.

“My first job was answering phones,’’ she said. “Five lines, going constantly. The Twins were moving here and people wanted information about everything.’’

Creem went to work in the ticket office — then a tiny room with four windows — in 1992. The Twins were defending World Series champions. People were lined up for two football fields.

“Most of our tickets are sold on the internet now,’’ Creem said. “We used to open the box office here a half-hour before internet sales started. For the last two years, the Twins have started selling online in December — one reason being, people wanted spring training tickets to give as Christmas presents.’’

Ask Patty smiled and said: “It’s a big change, especially with the coffee-and-doughnuts order.’’

PLUS THREE

Twins’ Fantasy Camp notes:

• Stan Dickman promoted and ran his 12th Twins Fantasy Camp the past week. Four teams, 47 campers when Dickman started had reached 10 teams and 119 campers in 2020.

• Twenty-four former Twins were coaches. Rookies included Eddie Guardado, Glen Perkins and Mark Salas. “This is a blast,’’ Perkins said Saturday.

• Dickman, on rumors he might retire? “I usually start those myself. I’d like to make an agreement with the Twins for three more years.’’

 

Write to Patrick Reusse by e-mailing sports@startribune.com and including his name in the subject line.