FORT MYERS, Fla. — As Max Kepler walked past in the Twins' clubhouse this morning, I stopped him with a compliment. "Nice catch," I said.
"Thank you," he replied politely. But he had a puzzled look on his face. The games haven't started yet.
"Your bobblehead," I told him. "You're making a diving catch. Impressive."
Kepler's face lit up. He hasn't seen the prototype for the Twins' giveaway this summer (pictured above) — but he's excited about being immortalized in bobblehead form for the first time.
It's funny how gimmicks like that captivate the players. Eddie Rosario talked enthusiastically about the promotion — the Twins are planning bobblehead giveaways at Target Field, themed around Kepler's quote last year that "Nothing falls but raindrops" in the Twins' outfield. The dolls depict Kepler making a diving catch, and Byron Buxton reaching over the wall to rob a home run.
And Rosario? "Sliding catch," he said with a smile, then demonstrated the position of his glove. "Very nice."
As with most bobbleheads, the faces resemble their models only in the most generic sense, but Rosario said he was very satisfied with how his looks. Well, it might be better if his cap had come off, he mused, so you could see his hair. But the unique nature of the likeness clearly makes him happy.
"Someday, one with me hitting, too," he promised.
Beyond the talk of bobbleheads, it was a quiet morning in Twins camp, but it promises to get much louder, since Kennys Vargas has arrived. Jorge Polanco is in uniform now, too, so Buxton, Brian Dozier and Miguel Sano are the only regulars still to check in ahead of Monday's first position-player workout.
Those who are here mostly spend the mornings taking batting practice on a minor-league field, and the atmosphere is loose. Eduardo Escobar entertained his teammates yesterday with his obvious attempts to hit home runs during BP — and he succeeded a few times, too.