MINNEAPOLIS -- Truck Day is an annual rite of passage signifying baseball's imminent arrival. The Twins celebrated the baseball holiday on Friday, as they loaded nearly 36,000 pounds of equipment, supplies and personal items to send to their Spring Training complex in Fort Myers, Fla.
Twins pitchers and catchers report to the CenturyLink Sports Complex on Feb. 21 with the first workout set for Feb. 22. The truck, which is painted with a Minnesota Golden Gophers theme but is not owned by the university, will bring the gear over 1,700 miles south to Fort Myers with everything ready to be unloaded by Wednesday morning.
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The two-year renovation on the club's Spring Training complex ended last year, but Twins president Dave St. Peter said there will be improvements again this year to make it a more enjoyable venue for the fans.
"This is our 26th spring at the CenturyLink Sports Complex in Fort Myers, and our relationship continues to be very central to the Twins," St. Peter said. "This year, I'm very excited about two things that happened. One is that Ballpark Digest named the renovation of that complex as the major facility renovation of the year, which was a great tribute to our team with Bill Smith, Dan Starkey and others. But we also have improvements this spring. We're adding a significant amount of shade to the outfield boardwalk. So I think there's a plan to expand that over time."
Among the items on the truck are an estimated 10,800 baseballs, 1,500 hats, 600 bats, 960 pairs of socks, 400 pairs of pants and an assortment of 650 jackets. Twins players and staff also included personal items such as their clothing, golf clubs and family items like cribs and strollers. The Twins also send down plenty of medical supplies.
The Twins aren't debuting a new Spring Training uniform this year -- their only uniform change will come during the season, as they'll wear new red jerseys and caps on Friday home games. The Twins will be sized for those jerseys late in the spring as well as for cold-weather gear.
The Twins open the season on the road this year -- Opening Day is set for April 4 against the Orioles in Baltimore-- so the truck will leave Spring Training a bit later than if they opened at home. It won't depart Fort Myers for the Twin Cities until March 31, the date of the Twins' last Grapefruit League game before they head to Washington D.C., for two exhibition games against the Nationals.
Brothers Paul and Tom Luxem will be at the wheel for the drive down to Fort Myers. The Luxem brothers have been driving the Twins' equipment to Florida for the last 24 years.
Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.