Your Song: Twins bond with Elton John

Music legend surprises players with knowledge of baseball

March 10th, 2016
Trevor Plouffe, Phil Hughes, Joe Mauer and Brian Dozier meet Elton John. (Phil Hughes photo)

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Brian Dozier called it a night of team bonding. But then he paused and smiled, saying it was a night of team bonding with Sir Elton John.

Dozier, along with his Twins teammates Joe Mauer, Phil Hughes and Trevor Plouffe, attended Elton John's concert at Germain Arena in nearby Estero, Fla., on Wednesday night. All four players, who were joined by their significant others as well as Mauer's parents and in-laws, also had the chance to talk with John for about 15 minutes before the show and were surprised to find out he's been a baseball fan for more than 25 years.

"People said he's a big baseball fan, but I was like, 'C'mon. He's from England and all that.'" Plouffe said. "But sure enough, he's lived in Georgia for more than 20 years and watched the Braves, so that's how he learned about baseball. He became a Braves fan right as they went on that run. So he was really insightful about sports, in general. We had a cool talk with him."

As Plouffe noted, John bought a home in Atlanta in 1991, the same year the Braves went to the World Series, only to lose to the Twins in seven games. Atlanta's run to the World Series piqued John's interest in baseball, and he's been a fan since, surprising Twins players with his knowledge of Braves players from the 1990s.

"He was throwing out names like Mark Lemke," Mauer said. "You'd think he'd say like [John] Smoltz or [Greg] Maddux, but he knew about guys like Lemke."

It was the second time Mauer had met John, as he was also able to spend some time with him after a show at the same venue in 2012 with former teammate Justin Morneau. Mauer worked with Plouffe to help coordinate getting tickets, and they were both helped out by John's longtime tour manager, DC Parmet, who coincidentally is a big Twins fan.

Parmet even has the Twins logo tattooed on his chest, so he was instrumental in setting up the meeting with John and the players before the show.

"We were really taken by how down to earth he was," Hughes said about John. "He was a really nice guy. He was kinda telling us a little bit about the travel he goes through. He makes his home in Atlanta, but has places in London and France and travels around a bunch."

As for the show, John played for more than two hours, signing many of his numerous hits, and surprised the Twins in attendance by dedicating his 1970 hit, "Your Song," to them.

"We were in shock when that happened," said Plouffe, who also saw John in Los Angeles in the offseason. "It was cool."

Hughes joked that John's signature move was a double fist pump after he was done singing a song, but was amazed by his energy on stage. Dozier, who played guitar in a band while in college and can also play the piano, said he was in awe of John's musical talent.

"It was one of the better ones I've been to," Dozier said. "I love guys that can play piano and sing. It was entertaining."

The Twins clearly left the show impressed by what they saw, and John told them he's hoping for a big season from them, if only to make his tour manager happy.

"Elton says he knows how we've been doing based on DC's attitude," Plouffe said. "So he told us we need to win this summer."