More interesting than the Grammy's, more critically esteemed than the Academy Awards, boozier than the Golden Globes, it is time once again to reveal the winners of this year's Twinsfest Awards of Excellence.
[Note, that I did briefly flirt with the idea of changing the name of the awards to "The Twinsfest Awards of Acceptability" this year, but stuck with tradition at the last minute.]
I should also say in advance that I feel bad about letting down a commenter who specifically asked for pictures to be posted...because I realized at the end of the day that I didn't end up taking very many photos at all. This was the first Twinsfest where I didn't kill at least one camera battery. Astonishing. And a little sad.
But....onto the hotly anticipated awards portion of the evening.
Inventing new awards is sort of the schtick here, so let's start with two new categories this year:
Most Missed--Absent Player
Only current Twins players are eligible, mostly because Those Girls would have a very hard time choosing between Boof, Mike Redmond, Brian Buscher and Carlos Gomez. So, we have declared Nick Punto the Most Missed absent player. I personally had to break the news to a half a dozen groups of fans I overheard excitedly talking about what time they needed to get in Nick Punto's line. Seeing the disappointment in their faces as they learned he had gone back to AZ for some minor surgery was heartbreaking. The poor volunteer manning Corner #2 had it worse. I heard her turn away sooo many fans looking to get in line for Punto. Upon hearing that he was not in attendance this year, one particularly entertaining woman snapped back "Well, I guess I can just go home NOW then!" In spite of what a lot of folks on the internet would like you to believe, people really LIKE Nick Punto. They like him a LOT. We like him too. We like him so much, we are giving him a Twinsfest Award of Excellence when he wasn't even there.
Most Missed--Returning Player
This seems fairly obvious. Because, for as disappointed as people were without Nick Punto, they were equally and oppositely elated to see Pat Neshek again. He's been away from the game for 2 years, but it's like he never left. People are just as crazy about him now as they were during the height of the ultimately unsuccessful "Pitch In for Pat" all-star campaign. Of course, he did get some major bonus points for telling nice stories about Boof Bonser during his radio interview...and he gets further bonus points for tweeting pictures of his adorable little doggies on Twitter last night...but that's beside the point.
The Twin Who Makes Liriano's '08 Lines Look Short Award goes to Francisco Liriano again, oddly enough. Please please please, people who decide these things: Move Liriano to the Mauer/Morneau/Cuddyer/Nathan areas next time. His line clogs up the whole floor this way. I didn't even bother to snap a picture of him this year because it was too crowded and annoying.
The Best New Nickname Award is going to Trevor Plouffe, because it was at Twinsfest where I decided that I will be exclusively referring to him as "The Plouffe" from now on. Like "The Donald" but less irritating, and with much better hair. This is a development that I'm particularly excited about.
An important note as we approach the coveted "Best Dressed" award: We were only able to attend on Saturday this year. And, ON Saturday, what we mostly saw was plaid. Lots and lots of plaid. It makes me wonder if it was some sort of intentional thing. (Like how when I was young, my friends and I pinky-promised to all wear Hypercolor t-shirts on Fridays.)
It had to be coordinated. I refuse to believe that that many grown men coincidentally all woke up Saturday morning and thought "...Hmm....plaid. THAT's the ticket!" I choose to believe that someone unofficially declared it "Dress Like a Cowboy Day" at the Metrodome. Here's a quick photographic Ode to Plaid and Checks:
Not that plaid is necessarily BAD...no one really looked BAD...but when everyone dresses alike, it's hard to find someone who stands out from the crowd.
So, thank the baseball gods for JJ Hardy. Because JJ Hardy decided to skip Dress Like a Cowboy Day and chose Dress Like Your Favorite Fictional CW Network Character Day instead. Yup, Those Girls were positively delighted to find out that JJ Hardy dresses like Dean Winchester.
This is probably because he just instinctively knows how much we love Dean Winchester.
And for his thoughtful effort, he is rewarded with the prestigious Best Dressed Twin award on his very first try. All this without even putting the Twins uniform on once. Very impressive.
Of course, more impressive is the fact that he is not just taking home ONE award.
Taking a page straight out of the Nick Punto Guide to Fan-Friendliness handbook, JJ Hardy has completed an amazing feat.
He is actually taking home a trio of great awards. (And not just three funny new made-up awards we thought of at the last minute...)
No, he is taking home the Big Three.
That's right. We hereby award JJ Hardy with the Best Dressed Twin award, the award for Best Hair, AND (drumroll, please) the Golden Nose Award for the Best Smelling Twin. This former Brewer clearly brought his A-Game across the St. Croix to make a good first impression, and it worked. He is really out-Twins-ing the other Twins right now. The world is a funny place.
[Although, to be fair, he is only getting the Golden Nose on a technicality. We WERE going to award it to ourselves, actually. But the lawyers wouldn't let us, because the award is supposed to go to the Best Smelling Twin, and for some weird reason I don't understand, we are still not technically considered part of the team. But I have a new perfume that makes you smell kind of like cotton candy. So trust me when I say we were the best smelling people there.]
Although JJ was also incredibly nice, the Mr. Congeniality category was dominated by a different duo. It is a dead-heat tie this year, between Brendan Harris and Kevin Slowey. I went to Twinsfest this year with basically one goal: Get 2 very particular pictures of Kevin and Brendan for my Texas friends who love them. Both guys were very good sports about playing along, and they could not have been sweeter about it. It was very much appreciated!
AND the photos turned out perfect:
(And yes, for those of you keeping score at home, that is Kevin Slowey also sporting plaid. *sigh*)