The starting left fielder for the National League in tonight's MLB All-Star Game at Target Field is Carlos Gomez.
Gomez, who was a Twin for just two season (2008-2009), is now in his second consecutive All-Star Game with the Milwaukee Brewers.
Last year he played at CitiField, home of the New York Mets. Ironically, Gomez was traded by the Mets to the Twins in the Johan Santana blockbuster; so he's playing in back-to-back All-Star games at the home ballparks of his two former teams.
"It's a dream come true," Gomez said, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "Not everybody gets the opportunity to play in the All-Star Game in the places you used to play.
"To be in New York and Minnesota in back-to-back years is fun. Last year, me and wife talked about, 'What if you make the all-star team next year and you have to come to Minnesota? That would be fun.'"
Gomez is hitting ninth in the NL batting order. He believes it could help him win some hardware.
"When you hit ninth, you'll stay in the game longer," he said. "They replace the guys in the top of the lineup first. Sometimes it's good. I can go for the MVP."
Gomez was just 22 and 23 years old when he played for the Twins. Now 28, Gomez has turned into one of the most dangerous players in the game.
His maturation as a player was highlighted in a cover story by Sports Illustrated this spring. Gomez said he never would have turned the corner if he continued listening to coaches who told him to take advantage of his elite speed by hitting the ball on the ground.
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire, who will serve a role as an assistant coach at tonight's game, told reporters on Monday that he never told Gomez to hit the ball on the ground. 1500 ESPN has the details:
"He wasn't told that here," Gardenhire said Monday. "We just told him to swing and hit the ball. We basically called him a Loose Cannon, he was going to do what he wanted to do.
"All we wanted to do with Go-Go was to get him out of fake bunting, fake swinging, fake bunting in the same at-bat -- on the same pitch. Because he would fake bunt, fake swing, [then] bunt. We just said, 'if you'll just make up your mind on a bunt or swing, we're happy.' You know what, we didn't try to limit the guy at all, I can tell you that right now."
As the Pioneer Press notes, Gomez immediately showed "slivers of stardom" after coming to Minnesota in the Santana trade.
He continued to show slivers for two years in Milwaukee before bursting onto the scene in 2012, then more so in 2013 and even more this season.
Gomez enters the All-Star Game hitting .304 with 14 home runs, 48 RBIs and 17 stolen bases.