Being Josh Donaldson: Tiny town welcomes star

What do they think about their team's new star signing?

January 16th, 2020
Tom Forget /

The Twins made one of the biggest splashes of the offseason when they agreed with third baseman Josh Donaldson to a four-year deal that guarantees at least $92 million, according to a source.

Located 372 miles from Target Field, on the border of North Dakota and Canada, sits the tiny town of Donaldson, Minn. There's not much there -- the town is basically just the crossroads between U.S. Route 75 and Minnesota State Highway 11. As of the 2010 census, only 42 people were living within the hamburg's 0.69 total square miles.

Yes, there are not enough people in the city to field two complete baseball teams. So, naturally, we tried to call as many people as possible and find out what Donaldson residents think about their team's new star signing.

After a few hours of calling old, disconnected phone numbers, reaching voicemails that were full and sending out hopeful texts to people who may or may not still have those numbers ... we reached five. Hey, that's more than 10 percent -- if we talked to 10 percent of the city of New York, you'd say that was an amazing feat, perhaps even a Guinness World Record.

Sheila, who works at the post office -- pretty much the only thing in town -- said, "Honey, I have no idea what you're talking about," while the familiar beeping sound of her scanner could be heard. She then revealed that while she works in Donaldson, she's not from there. So, moving on.

Mylan Losse, who hauls grain, had "no idea" what we were talking about. Turns out, Losse is not a sports fan at all, instead spending his free time hanging at home and working on his truck. Completely unaware of the signing, he couldn't fathom why we were calling and asking about the city when we could have just Googled it.

So, while there is plenty of "good land," for grain, sugar beets and canola oil production, "if there wasn't a stop sign, you probably wouldn't even remember you went through [the town],” Losse said.

Oddly enough, in a world of eight billion people and a town with just 42, just an hour after speaking with Losse, we learned that he was Twins sportswriter Brandon Warne's birth father. Huh.

We reached a city council member who was wise enough to simply tell us that, no, he was not interested in speaking with us. Probably for the best.

Travis Bogestad spoke to me through direct message on Twitter and was ecstatic about the signing.

"Last year the 'Bombas' as we call them were flying out," Bogestad wrote. "Now to add the accomplished bat of Donaldson to them? Gonna be a fun season. He brings the swagger and will fit in well. Also, getting [Miguel] Sanó away from 3B will help the team defense."

Pretty cogent baseball analysis. As for the city?

"Donaldson, as a town, is basically nothing. It says population 42, but probably closer to 30. Only a post office left,” Bogestad said.

That's true, too. While the city was never what you would call booming, it once boasted a population of 167 in 1920, and, save for a few small spikes, has only dwindled since then.

Obviously, there was only one person we still needed to speak with: Mayor James Larson, who has called the town home since 1975.

Donaldson (the town) is getting "smaller and smaller every year," Larson said.

As for Donaldson (the player): "I hear he’s a pretty good ballplayer. I wish [The Twins] the very best."

"I’d like to see [the Twins] win [the World Series] again," he continued. "Honestly and truthfully, I would. We seem to have a tough time with the Vikings, we’ve had a tough time with the Wild and of course we have the Lynx and the Timberwolves. I’m very happy with the way the women played. But we haven’t reached what our full potential is, and I’d like to see us go all the way and do something for a few years."