Former Twins Kelly, Blyleven to manage Future Games teams
Tom Kelly was Bert Blyleven’s manager in Minnesota for several years, including the Twins’ World Series victory in 1987. Now they’ll be facing off in opposing dugouts.
It was announced Wednesday that Kelly and Blyleven will serve as the two managers for this year’s All-Star Futures Game at Target Field. Kelly will manage the United States team while Blyleven — who was born in the Netherlands — will be at the helm for the World team.
"This is going to be a fun game," said Blyleven, who was a pitching coach for the Netherlands team during the World Baseball Classic last year. "And of course the difference between Tom Kelly and I? I can tell you right now — whoever is starting for me is going to finish that ballgame. I only need one pitcher. That’s all I need."
Blyleven, who was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2011, finished his career with 242 complete games. The objective of the Futures Game, however, is to showcase as many of baseball’s young stars as possible, so it’s unlikely his starter will actually go the distance.
Kelly, 63, led Minnesota to two World Series titles in 1987 and 1991. Managing the Futures Game on July 13 will be a different type of challenge for the former Twins skipper.
"It’s quite an honor to be asked to do that," Kelly said. "Hopefully I’ll do a good job and put the players out there and give them a good chance to show what they can do. They’re All-Star players. The big key is to try to get them all out there in the game and participate."
Two of the Twins’ top prospects — third baseman Miguel Sano and outfielder Byron Buxton — both participated in the Futures Game last year in New York. The rosters will be unveiled closer to the event in July, but there’s a chance that one or two future Twins could be playing in this year’s event at Target Field.
One thing’s for certain, though. Two figures beloved by Twins fans will be manning each of the team’s dugouts. Both Blyleven and Kelly have their numbers (No. 28 and No. 10, respectively) retired by Minnesota, and now they have a chance to be a part of the first All-Star weekend at Target Field.
"I think most of the people in the stands and watching will be looking at the players. I don’t think they’re going to be looking at me and Bert," Kelly said. "It’s a fun thing for Bert to be asked to manage the World team. He’s done yeoman’s work with his team in the World Baseball Classic and did a great job getting those guys into that tournament quite a ways. He’s going to have a whole bunch of players he can count on to do well, and I will as well. Let’s hope the players put on a real good show."
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