My six year old son has recently developed a love for baseball just like his old man. While he loves playing the game itself, he hasn't shown a ton of interest in the Twins... outside of one particular player.

The player? Relief pitcher Jhoan Duran, who can throw up to 104 mph, which is exactly why my son has developed a bit of an obsession over him. Every time we play catch he asks 'WAS THAT AS FAST AS DURAN?" after throwing it to me. The answer, of course, is always yes.

This summer we had a chance to go to a Twins game and he finally got to see Duran in person. He is known for his memorable entrances into the game and he did not disappoint on this night!

It was a late season game and a school night. As we hit the seventh inning, Charlie started getting understandably tired but I asked him to try to hold tight for just a bit.

However, I wasn't really optimistic that he was going to make it three more innings and I wasn't going to force him to stay.

Much to my surprise the bell that signals his entrance into the game tolled to start the seventh inning- the ONLY time the entire season Duran pitched in the seventh.


He was hooked at that point and a couple months later he got his first packs of baseball cards along with a Duran rookie card.

TwinsFest was coming up and I remembered going to meet the Twins at the Metrodome with my dad as a kid so I got us a couple of tickets, figuring we could get an autograph from Duran. He was pretty excited when I told him he could meet his baseball hero.

When the day came, he was pretty nervous. Like a normal kid, he wondered if he would be nice or if he would be kind of scary when he met him. I assured him that he would be very nice. On our way out the door, Charlie grabbed not only his Duran card to get signed, but also one of his own cards from little league this past summer. He said he wanted to give it to his favorite pitcher.

We waited in line for a little over an hour before getting to the table where Duran signed hundreds of autographs on a Saturday afternoon inside the Champion's Club at Target Field.

The first thing Charlie did was say "Hi Duran" as he turned around to show him his Duran shirt. The big pitcher gave Charlie a big smile, signed his card and handed it back to him. Charlie then handed him his little league card saying 'I brought this for you.'


Duran smiled and said thank you. As we started to walk away, he said 'Hey!  hey wait! You have to sign your card for me!' Charlie beamed as Duran handed him a Sharpie and Duran smiled as Charlie carefully printed his name, left to right, across the card.

They exchanged fist bumps and Duran turned to sign autographs for the rest of the folks in line. Charlie could not believe just how nice his baseball hero was and that he would want his autograph.

I have a feeling Duran's gesture is the start of a lifelong fandom for Charlie.