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Neal: Bremer transitions to new role with Twins away from the camera

Dick Bremer, speaking from his home in St. Michael on Tuesday, commented on what is on everyone's mind here with two days to go until the Twins home opener.

"I'm just sitting here, watching the snow come down." Bremer said.

It's hard to believe baseball season is here with the white stuff coming down. But it's also hard to believe that baseball season is here without Bremer in front of a camera, holding a microphone.

Bremer has watched more snow fall here in recent weeks than he's used to, yet it's part of his transitioning into his next role. After 40 years as the Twins television play-by-play announcer, the club decided to go in another direction following the end of last season and did not renew his contract.

Officially, Bremer has retired and will become a special assistant and ambassador for the club. This has hit home for him in recent months after not being part of the Twins caravan in January. Then when it was time for baseball's annual pilgrimage to spring training, he was back in the Twin Cities. Except for the pandemic year, it was the first time he had not been to a Twins spring training in his broadcasting career.

Then came last month's snowstorm, as he had to get more familiar with his plow.

"I thought about that a lot when I went up and down the driveway on March 25th and March 27th," he said. "Every time I went down the driveway, I thought I should be in Fort Myers."

Bremer then let out a hearty laugh. He's not bitter, or he wouldn't have accepted the special assistant's role. He worked 4,972 games. While it's unfortunate that he didn't get a chance to work his 5,000th game, he has too many fond memories. For 40 seasons, his office was a broadcast booth. Announcing Twins games allowed him to tour the country. He witnessed two World Series titles. Work didn't seem like work to him.

But he will be remembered as the face of Twins broadcasts and a voice that was the soundtrack for generations of fans as they followed the team's journey.

The Twins are fortunate to be able to shift Corey Provus from radio to television to replace Bremer. Provus has television experience calling college football and basketball games. And Kris Atteberry steps in to replace Provus as the Twins radio voice following 17 years hosting pre- and postgame shows. Familiar voices remain.

While it has been strange not to see or hear Bremer in the booth, change is inevitable. Bremer himself went from being a straight man for Bert Blyleven for 25 seasons to collaborating with a cavalcade of former Twins players and managers for the past several seasons.

Now, Bremer is not quite gone. And definitely won't be forgotten.

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On Thursday, the home television broadcast booth in the Herb Carneal Press Box will be renamed the Dick Bremer Broadcast Booth. Bremer also will throw out the first pitch before the Twins game against Cleveland. It shouldn't be a problem for the 68-year-old Bremer, who has pitched in Twins fantasy camps in the past and will play in a senior league this summer. But he has been delivered a warning.

"The first pitch is going to be interesting," he said. "Rod Carew called me a couple of weeks ago and told me, 'Do not throw the first pitch from the mound.' I'm going to listen to Mr. Carew and I'll do it from the edge of the grass. I'm not going to get up on the mound."

His son, Erik, is being flown up from Pensacola, Fla., where he's the Class AA Blue Wahoos announcer. So the entire family — including wife Heidi and daughter Hannah — will be on hand for the dedication and to see if the old man can still find the plate.

After being part of an Opening Day that will be unusual for him, Dick Bremer will move forward into his new role as club ambassador.

"I'm in transition, right?" Bremer said. "I'm too old to hook up with another team. And I'm too young to run for president."