Tonight, the Twins play their 162nd and final game of the 2011 regular season. And as some of us head out to the ballpark or just sit at home and watch the game tonight, we our going to say our goodbye to the Twins for the next 6 months. And we also maybe be saying goodbye to a few people, for good.
As the Twins take the field tonight, they do so with a few notable pending free agents. Michael Cuddyer, Jason Kubel, and Matt Capps all will be heading into free agency. And out of the bunch, it will be most difficult to say goodbye to Cuddy. He is the longest tenured Twins, and his versatility and leadership has made him a great example of a Twins player brought up through their farm system. And this year, Cuddy has been one of the rare few to not make a trip to the disabled list. You would have to think that the Twins will make a hard push to bring back Cuddyer this offseason.
We may also be saying goodbye tonight to the franchise's all time leader in saves, Joe Nathan. Nathan carries a $12.5 million team option for next year, but it is likely the team will take the $2 million buyout and possibly try to bring him back for next year on a one year deal. Nathan, of course, is in his first season after having Tommy John Surgery on his right elbow in 2010. Nathan struggled early on this year, then spent about a month on the DL, before returning and looking much better in the second half.
And finally tonight, we are for sure saying goodbye to the voice of the Twins, John Gordon. He has been in the Twins broadcast booth for 25 seasons, and tonight will be his last behind the mic. John, known for his signature phrase "Touch 'Em All!", has been the lead play by play voice for the Twins since his longtime friend and partner Herb Carneal passed away prior to the 2007 season. In all my life, I have heard either Herb Carneal or John Gordon call a Twins game, and it will be very different to have someone else step in and take over. For some of John's more notable calls, click here.
As I end this post about saying goodbye to 2011, I had to make one final tribute to the late Harmon Killebrew, who lost his battle with esophageal cancer in May.