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Bye Bye Bert: Blyleven's 25-year run as a Twins' television analyst comes to an end

Bert Blyleven
National Baseball Hall of Famer Bert Blyleven, arrives for an induction ceremony at the Clark Sports Center on Sunday, July 30, 2017, in Cooperstown, N.Y. (AP Photo/Hans Pennink)

Bert Blyleven’s run as an analyst on Twins’ television came  to an end on Wednesday night with Minnesota’s 8-1 victory over the Chicago White Sox at Target Field. The former Twins and Hall of Fame pitcher tweeted Wednesday afternoon that “sad to say” Minnesota’s game against the White Sox at Target Field, “will be my last Twins broadcast.”
This was Blyleven’s 25th season in the booth, working alongside play-by-play man Dick Bremer, although Blyleven’s schedule had been cut back in recent seasons as other analysts were added to the mix on Fox Sports North. That has included former Twins Justin Morneau, Roy Smalley, Jack Morris and others. Because of the fewer number of games Blyleven had been working in recent seasons, this decision does not come as a big surprise.
Blyleven will remain part of the Twins’ organization as he takes on a special assistant position. His duties will include engaging with fans and partners by making special appearances on behalf of the organization. Blyleven also will continue to serve as an on-field instructor for the Twins during spring training.
“Bert is a guy, first of all, that I would like to just thank for all of his contributions,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said Wednesday when asked about Blyleven. “In the short term I’ve been here, his contributions go so far into Twins history and the amount of people that he’s touched. I can’t even think about it or even imagine the impact that he’s had on a number of people. Getting a chance to spend more time around Bert in spring training settings, listening to his stories, listening to him as he interacts with our pitchers in the bullpen. … Things that he’s learned over the course of his baseball career, as a player and as a broadcaster and being around players. … Just being around a guy with that type of knowledge and that type of experience. He makes you want to keep your ears open.”
Blyleven, 69, pitched in the big leagues for 23 seasons and had two stints with the Twins. He broke in with Minnesota at the age of 19 and was traded to the Texas Rangers during the 1976 season. Blyleven returned to the Twins during the 1985 season and pitched for the franchise through 1988. He was a key member of the Twins’ 1987 World Series championship team.

Blyleven became a full-time analyst on Twins’ games in 1996 on Midwest Sports Channel, which eventually was purchased by Fox Sports North. Blyleven’s time in the booth probably best will be remembered for his penchant for circling fans by using a Telestrator. The “Circle Me Bert” phenomenon began in 2002 and soon fans were bringing signs to Twins’ home and road games asking Blyleven to circle them. This eventually became a way to raise funds toward developing a cure for Parkinson’s disease, along with other charitable donations.
Blyleven’s No. 28 was retired by the Twins on July 16, 2011. He was selected to the team’s 40th season anniversary all-time Team in 2000, inducted into the Twins Hall of Fame in 2002 and named one of the “50 Greatest Twins” in 2010. Blyleven was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2011.