Twins

Twins Fans Will Lose More Than Bremer's Voice From the Broadcast Booth

Photo Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota Twins fans are going through one of the biggest changes they’ve ever had in the 63 seasons of the franchise. There will be someone new calling play-by-play on their televisions.

Longtime play-by-play man Dick Bremer has officially retired after 40 years in the broadcast booth.

Forty years is a long time for any one job. It’s a length of security anyone would love to have for a dream job like Bremer had. In those 40 years, Twins fans grew to know the Minnesota man like them who brought a great deal of comfort and knowledge, calling Twins games at the best and worst of times.

When the news was first announced on Halloween, people naturally thought of his best calls over the years.

“The ball drops! Molitor has his 3,000th hit, and he’s chugging for third, and he’s in with a triple!” – Paul Molitor’s 3,000th career hit on September 16, 1996.

“A high blast to right field! Up, back, gone! Grand slam for Kubel! And the cycle is complete!” – Jason’s Kubel cycle on April 17, 2009, at the Metrodome.

“Did he catch that? Oh well played, Mauer!” – Mauer’s behind-the-net catch on June 10, 2010.

“Liner to short, Liriano has his no-hitter!”- Francisco Liriano’s no-hitter against the White Sox on May 3, 2011.

“A drive to left field, he has done it again!” – Byron Buxton’s walk-off homer against the White Sox on April 24, 2022.

Those are only a handful of the countless memorable calls Bremer made over the 4,972 games he had as a broadcaster. There are many more unforgotten ones from the last 40 years, but too many to include in one reflection article.

Shortly after Bremer announced his retirement, there were some extra details that came out on the matter of the retirement decision. The Athletic’s Dan Hayes reported that a team source confirmed the retirement decision wasn’t ‘a mutual one,’ and the Twins have left many fans in a flurry of frustration, especially on the Twins sub-Reddit.

Many fans couldn’t believe the decision wasn’t mutual, nor did could they understand why it wasn’t a ceremonious end for Bremer at the conclusion of the season. Had this decision been pre-determined by the team without much consultation from Bremer himself? It’s hard to know for sure.

However, there are certain things to consider when responsibly speculating on why the team made this decision. The Twins are one of 14 teams that were a Bally Sports affiliate broadcast affiliate. Bally’s parent company, Diamond Sports, is bankrupt, and their contract with the Twins has concluded.

While Bremer is a team employee and doesn’t work for Bally, the Twins did not and still probably do not know who their broadcasting affiliate will be for the 2024 season. It could be a local broadcasting group such as Hubbard Broadcasting. Or MLB could broadcast their games, as the league did for the San Diego Padres and Arizona Diamondbacks this season.

The distribution of games broadcast on TV looms as a larger uncertainty over the Twins this off-season than their options to pursue in free agency. Therefore, it’s possible that they did not want to leave Bremer in that state of uncertainty.

No matter the reasons for disagreement, ultimately, there is no ill will between Bremer and the Twins organization. He will still be a part of this team in his special assistant role. Fans can still have hope to see him taking part in public events like the Winter Caravan or TwinsFest. He might still be the MC for the Twins Hall of Fame classes each season.

In the Twins’ press release on his retirement, Bremer provided the following statement.

For 40 years, I’ve been blessed to totally immerse myself in the game that I love for the team that I love,” said Bremer. “In those 40 years, I broadcast 4,972 Twins games. Over the last year or so, I thought it would really be cool to make it to 5,000. Then, I thought to myself, how selfish would that be? A broadcast should NEVER be about the announcer. It should ALWAYS be about the game and those who play it. I hope in my final season, I proved that ‘I’ve still got my fastball’, a goal I set when I started with the Twins in 1983. I look forward to the next chapter in my life with the Twins and thank Twins Territory for 40 incredible seasons! God bless.

Many fans wanted Bremer to call his 5,000th game in 2024 and to see him have a ceremonious end to his career like Vin Scully had in 2016 when he officially retired. But for every interaction fans, staff, players, and fellow media members have had with him over the decades, one of the universal compliments heard about Bremer is his selflessness and kindness to those who love this game as much as him.

While Bremer will not have that same farewell tour around the nation and in the booth, it shouldn’t take away any of the joy he provided or the frustration he shared with Twins fans for three hours a day each summer. And he could still get his own induction to the Twins Hall of Fame as early as this upcoming summer.

On August 4, 2022, Bremer did an interview about Scully following his death two days before. You can hear the entire interview below, but it’s worth noting Bremer’s recollection of a moment he and Scully shared in the elevator before a Sunday afternoon game at Dodger Stadium in 2005.

Scully entered the elevator with Bremer in it, he asked Bremer, “Do you know what I have here?”

Bremer responded, “No, what?”

“I have a Juan Castro autographed bat,” Scully said with a smile on his face.

Bremer recalled that moment, saying:

Juan Castro had started with the Dodgers, and in 2005 he was an infielder with the Twins. Juan Castro had an appreciation for how much Vin Scully had meant to his career. Castro had signed a bat for him, and he just had such exuberance about getting this from Juan Castro. And I thought to myself, ‘This guy probably had Jackie Robinson sign a bat for him.’ But he was just as excited to get this from Juan Castro, and I think that symbolized how he treated everybody.

There are many things to compare and contrast about the careers of Scully and Bremer. But there is a universal agreement in their characters toward the people they’ve spent time with. Like Scully, Bremer has shared as much excitement about Minnesota’s stars like Kirby Puckett, Harmon Killebrew, and Mauer, as lesser-known Twins like Cole De Vries, Dave Stevens, and Castro.

Above all else, that should be the focus of Bremer’s retirement from the booth. Not the loss of the familiar, but the loss of the character, the voice of the team. Above all else, Bremer showed his strength of character like a true Minnesotan on the mic every night. He didn’t make the game about himself. Instead, it was for the fans who adored the team and the players as much as he did.

Interview with Bremer on Vin Scully, August 4, 2022

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