The outfield walls at Target Field, the home of the Minnesota Twins, are lined with plants that occasionally eat home run balls. Last month, current Orioles designated hitter Jim Thome hit the 607th home run of his career while he was with the Philadelphia Phillies and seemingly lost the ball forever in the vegetation.
This mattered a little bit more for Thome than it would for the regular ballplayer, because the 41-year old has been collecting every home run ball he has hit since hitting the 500th of his career in 2007.
The Twins needed a harness and a brave employee to recover the ball from the depths of the plants, theoretically so they could send it over to Thome.
Instead, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire is holding the ball hostage in his desk, waiting for Thome to do something nice to get No. 607 back. Which is a little weird.
Gardenhire wasn’t specific about what he wanted, instead hoping for something creative out of the veteran slugger who has just so happened to hit 61 career home runs against Gardenhire’s club.
From the Pioneer Press:
"He's got to do something to get this ball. I know that," Gardenhire said. "He hurt our feelings. So if he wants the ball back, Jim, make my day."
What does that mean?
"Thrill me," Gardenhire said. "I'm not talking about on the field. I want to see something that helps one of our favorite charities."
The Twins are currently 15 games under .500 and have an estimated 0.00 percent chance of making the playoffs this year. Gardenhire has to do something to keep his mind off the field, right?
And it sounds like a Minnesota charity could potentially find itself a couple thousand dollars richer thanks to Thome and his hostage negotiation tactics.
(h/t to Big League Stew)