All Access: Ronny Turiaf's First Pitch At Target Field

Wolves center Ronny Turiaf’s good friend at Gonzaga, Josh Monroe, was a pitcher on the Zags’ baseball team. And when he got the chance, Turiaf would spend some time playing catch with Monroe, learning the game and even taking part in some of the chatter synonymous with the sport.
“I loved going in the dugout when I was in college with my friends with the score, the lingo, the deuce-deuce, the ‘Here we go two-four, here we go two-four,’” Turiaf said. “It’s fun.”
On Monday at Target Field, Turiaf got the chance to relive those old memories when the Twins asked him to throw out the first pitch before their game against the Detroit Tigers. It was not Turiaf’s first time throwing out a ceremonial first pitch—he said he did it once before in Oakland—but that didn’t mean he wasn’t nervous about it.
For instance, he wasn’t sure what type of pitch he was going to throw. Monroe taught him several back at Gonzaga, and he was prepared to toss a two-seam or four-seam fastball as well as a curve.
When it came time to toss his first pitch, which he threw to infielder Trevor Plouffe, Turiaf decided to keep it simple. He threw a two-seam that crossed the plate a little high and tight but certainly respectable for Twins fans looking on.
“I’m going to tell you straight up, I’m very happy about my pitch,” Turiaf said. “Doesn’t matter if it’s a ball, if it’s a strike. It got there.”
There are a couple more reasons why Monday’s trip to Target Field was special to Turiaf. For one, he said he’s felt incredible support from Minnesota fans since he arrived in town last week. He watched Sunday’s Vikings game against Cleveland at the Metrodome, and when he’s been out and about in the community he’s felt embraced since Day 1.
“I’m really looking forward to meeting my personal goals on the court with the Timberwolves and just being out there in the community and embracing the community the way they’ve embraced me,” he said. “I’m excited about that.”
Turiaf was also excited about making his trip to Target Field because it’s the home of Twins catcher Joe Mauer, a player Turiaf greatly respects. Turiaf said he’s played a fair amount of video game baseball over the past few years, and one of his favorite players is Mr. Mauer—he always refers to the Twins’ All-Star catcher as Mr. Mauer.
Mauer did not play on Monday—he is sidelined for the rest of the season after suffering from concussion-like symptoms—but Turiaf still talked about the respect he has for him after throwing out the first pitch.
“I’m a big fan of people who are great at what they do,” Turiaf said. “I like to see how they carry themselves and go about their sports. And when they go through adversity and when they succeed, what it takes for them to be successful. I really wanted to see him play, I’m not going to lie. And it’s an opportunity for me to get out of the house and see what Minnesota has to offer.”
As for picking up Mauer’s sport of choice, Turiaf said he isn’t so inclined to make the move from the hardwood to the infield.
“I’d like to stick with what I like to do,” Turiaf said. “Catching the basketball, dunking, blocking shots.”