The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

April 1, 2013

No April Fools' joke: Twins opener chilliest since 1961

NORTH MANKATO — Considering the weather, the Minnesota Twins’ season opener on All Fool’s Day seemed fitting.

After all, who’d want to head up to Target Field Monday in sub-freezing noon temperatures that smacked of an April 1 prank?

Jeanette Winiarski, for one, and her heavily clad compatriots for a few dozen more.

The Mankato retiree was among those boarding a KTOE Radio-sponsored fan bus in the Happy Chef parking lot for the station’s annual season opener ticket-and-ride package.

That the day figured to be the chilliest outdoor season opener in club history dating back to 1961 was only of middling concern to Winiarski, who said this was her 10th season opener bus excursion.

On the other hand, Dan Leiding of Mapleton was making his maiden voyage on the charter coach trip and brushed off the suggestion that Monday was better suited for snowballs than sliders.

“I’m used to working outside,” he said before taking inventory of his apparel that included long underwear, three shirts and two jackets.

Fans Sharon and Steve Lenz of Mankato also were season opener bus trip newbies. 

How many layers Sharon?

“Let’s see ... one, two, three four ...”

“And I have this,” her husband said, modeling a cold-weather face mask that covered his nose and mouth.

Snowpants and a thick blanket also stood at their ready.

“We’re hoping to be in the sun and out of the wind,” Sharon Lenz said of seats that were neither.

Diehard fan Winiarski, who said the elements will always play second fiddle to her passion for “cheering on the boys,” said she prefers the KTOE trips to the more, uh, lively Twins bus outings sponsored by bars.

“I don’t like those. They’re too rowdy. There’s a lot of words used on those that aren’t in the dictionary.” 

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