MINNEAPOLIS -- It's been one of the coldest winters in recent memory in the Twin Cities, and the Twins are ready to leave the cold weather behind and head to sunny Florida for Spring Training.
The first sign that Spring Training is near came Friday, as the team's clubhouse staff helped pack up a semi-truck that left Target Field en route to the club's Spring Training home at the Lee County Sports Complex in Fort Myers, Fla.
The truck was filled with 36,000 pounds of equipment, training and administrative supplies and personal items, and is set to arrive in Fort Myers on Tuesday night, with the unpacking scheduled for Wednesday. Twins pitchers and catchers are set to report on Feb. 16, with the first workout slated for Feb. 17.
Among the items are an estimated 900 dozen baseballs, 1,500 hats, 50 dozen bats, 80 dozen pairs of socks, 400 pairs of pants and an assortment of 650 jackets. Twins players and staff also sent down personal items such as their clothing, golf clubs and family items such as cribs and strollers. The Twins also send down plenty of medical supplies for their time down in Florida.
This year differs from last year in that there's no World Baseball Classic, so the truck is leaving a few days later than last year. The Twins also open on the road in Chicago against the White Sox this year after opening at home last year against the Tigers.
But Twins clubhouse manager Rod McCormick said there's not much difference in packing with the Twins opening on the road this year.
"If you open at home, your truck goes home early so you work out of your road gear until you get home but if you open on the road, the truck leaves the last day and you leave with all your road gear," McCormick said. "So we just bring it all down there."
One new change will be new hats for the Twins, as the club will debut its All-Star Game patch on the side of the cap. The Twins are set to host the All-Star Game at Target Field on July 15.
Other jersey-related items also get shipped to Florida, as players are sized for their official big league uniforms and hats later in Spring Training, including cold-weather gear for the early part of the season.
The job of driving the truck down to Fort Myers belongs to brothers Paul and Tom Luxem of Berger Transfer. The Luxem brothers have been responsible for driving the Twins' equipment to Florida for the past 22 years.
Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger.