Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Lost Tony Oliva Interview

While at Target Field earlier this year, we got a bunch of interviews for my online pieces at Global Traveler magazine. One of our successes was Twins legend Tony Oliva. Unfortunately, the video of that interview was lost. That happens sometimes. My videographer (who shall remain nameless) is usually top-notch. One little slip doesn't change that. The important thing is that I remember several of the big points.
Oliva was quite lively. His eyes had a sparkle as he talked to us. The man is 72, but as he spoke, I could envision the much younger version of him playing with the Twins. Oliva talked about the Pfister Hotel in Milwaukee. Supposedly it was haunted. Despite the rumored paranormal activity, Oliva still liked staying there, much better than the newer hotels. The Pfister, and hotels like it, have character and personality.
Oliva moved on to discuss Target Field. For a man like Oliva, Target Field is like a dream. It is worlds away from other baseball fields Oliva has encountered in his lifetime.
I love talking to men like Oliva. He clearly loves baseball. He isn't bitter about changes, but he respects the past, while embracing modern luxuries. I think Oliva would be just as happy with a simple field, but he knows things change. He just seems to be enjoying himself.
Oliva reminisced about playing in cities like Milwaukee and Seattle. He loved going to eat in Chicago and New York. He also liked finding Cuban restaurants in various cities.
The interview was fairly long (especially for us). To be honest, the details pale in comparison to the general feeling. I walked away from Oliva simply feeling good about things. I couldn't ask for anything more from a day at the ballpark.
Tony Oliva in the Twins dugout in Minneapolis, MN-August 2010.


Anonymous said...

Tony O was an outstanding ballplayer, and a truly nice guy.

thecomputerwiz said...

he played on the original Charlotte Hornets minor league baseball team in 1962.