Bill Evers is looking forward to traveling to Scotland and Ireland with his wife, brother and sister-in-law some day. There, they’ll golf, enjoy some beverages and take in the sights.
He’s looking forward to watching his grandkids play Little League games. Maybe he’ll throw some batting practice.
He’s looking forward to spending more time with his wife, Patricia. The pair will celebrate their 40-year anniversary at the end of this month. But for much of their married life, he has been gone.
The longtime coach, who has been with the Twins for the past three years, will retire at the end of this season, the conclusion of a more than four decade coaching career in professional baseball.
To this day, his wife still asks him if he’s sure now is the time to retire. But after what he called “a lot of soul-searching,” and plenty of conversations with his wife, Evers, 67, is confident that it is.
“The biggest factor would be my dealing with 2020 and the pandemic and realizing just how much my wife has gone through,” Evers said. “It was time that you realize how much she has put into this and what we went through and how many times we moved and all that good stuff and how supportive she has been.”
Evers was not with the team last season due COVID-19 risks, away from the game for a summer for the first time in decades. Instead, he followed along from his home in Florida.
As a player, Evers was drafted in the sixth round of the 1976 draft. But his playing career never took him further than Triple-A. Shortly after his retirement, he found a career in coaching, first with the Chicago Cubs, then the New York Yankees, San Francisco Giants, Tampa Bay Rays and now Twins. Evers spent most of his career with the Rays, spending 23 years in the organization.
“I’ve been very blessed that in the course of this whole time, getting fired five times, my wife has enjoyed not missing a paycheck. So that’s a good thing, and I feel very fortunate in that respect,” Evers said. “The biggest, most rewarding part for me is to see players succeed. Not only get to the big leagues, but to become citizens of the community they live in and have good jobs and take care of their families.”
One of the players he managed was a young Rocco Baldelli, who at age 20 in 2002, played for Evers while with the Triple-A Durham Bulls. Years later, when Baldelli was hired to manage the Twins, he brought Evers with him to Minnesota.
“Bill is one-of-a-kind with what he brings to the table and really how he approaches his role on the staff,” Baldelli said. “I think people look to him in a different way with maybe some reverence and respect, and understanding that he has experiences and knowledge that are different and maybe more vast than the rest of us here.”
Evers, who works with the Twins’ catchers and has the title of “major league coach,” can often been found at Baldelli’s side, in his ear during games, sharing some of the knowledge he has accumulated during his decorated career.
While he has done plenty of managing along the way, he hasn’t done much of it at the major league level, filling in once while Baldelli served a suspension earlier this year and previously for Joe Maddon while with the Rays for a pair of games.
He’ll have one more chance to do that this week ahead of next month’s retirement when Baldelli briefly steps away from the team.
“I think it’s going to be fun. I want to do the best job possible, and Rocco has afforded me this task. Not so much a task, but I really love to manage,” Evers said. “I have managed a few games in my career. I’m looking forward to it, and with the help of the coaching staff as well as the players, it should be fun.”
Evers will get the opportunity because Baldelli is taking paternity leave during the early part of this week as he and his wife, Allie, welcome their first child, a daughter.
While the team headed to Cleveland on Sunday, Baldelli returned home to Minneapolis for the birth. Baldelli is not yet sure how long he will be away from the team, but it could potentially be for the entirety of the four-game series in Ohio.
“There’s nothing better than this,” Baldelli said. “I’m incredibly excited.”
Miguel Sanó was out of the lineup on Sunday after bruising his shoulder during a collision with Mike Zunino on Saturday, but Baldelli said Sano was doing OK and moving around fine. … The Twins reinstated Luke Farrell from the 60-day injured list on Sunday morning after he missed the past couple months with a right oblique strain. To make room on the roster, they optioned starter Andrew Albers to Triple-A. Albers gave up nine runs in his short start on Sunday. To make room on the 40-man roster, the Twins designated reliever Derek Law for assignment.