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Opening Day There was no snow on the ground when the baseball season started in Minnesota this year.The air was bright and warm for a change, and, for another change, the advance ticket sale promised a large crowd for the Minnesota Twins' game against the Oakland A's.A television crew came in to interview him for a local "magazine" show, and he showed them a baseball autographed by a left-handed pitcher named—as he pronounced it—"Fie-del Castro." He explained that Fie-del had been scouted by the Senators in the forties but didn't have a major-league fast ball; the ball had been obtained by two of Griffith's Cuban players, Pedro Ramos and Camilo Pascual, and the FBI had visited his office once to have a look at the signature.
In the summer of 1979, he committed his club to a thirty-year stay in the Metrodome, and then, over the winter of 1980-1981—to give Minnesota's apparently dwindling population of baseball fans something to see in the place—he signed Butch Wynegar, a strong young catcher, and Roy Smalley, a hard-hitting shortstop, to long-term contracts estimated to be worth a total of $4,650,000.
This was quite a departure from Griffith's stripped-down, Mom-and-Pop, cash-on-the-barrelhead style of operation, and the local press, which for years had been describing him as an anachronism, a cheapskate, and, occasionally, a Neanderthal, reacted with self-satisfied shock.
Griffith exchanged Opening Day good cheer with the rookie owner, telling him he'd have a lot of fun with his new ball club and assuring him that the Kansas City Royals, who had beaten the A's for the Western Division championship in 1980, couldn't possibly have as good a year in 1981.
He gripped the phone by its shoulder holder and held the mouthpiece a few inches from his lips—he tends to talk rather loudly on the telephone—and when the conversation was over, he hung up muttering to himself: "Mmmm.
Next season, if construction continues apace, the Twins will move from the "Met," a tidy, comfortable park in the suburban sprawl just south of the Minneapolis-Saint Paul airport, to the Hubert H.