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Blyleven in home stretch for Hall induction

July 18, 2011

MINNEAPOLIS — All season, the Twins have been counting down the number of home games until Bert Blyleven’s induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

That countdown reached single digits over the weekend, and was down to just five games Monday as Blyleven entered the final week before the ceremony in Cooperstown, N.Y.

It’s a big eight-day stretch for Blyleven, which began Saturday with the Twins retiring his No. 28 at Target Field, and will culminate in Sunday’s induction ceremony.

“It’s kind of a nice stepping stone to the following weekend in Cooperstown,” Blyleven said Friday on a conference call. “The honors are coming my way and it’s very, very nice.”

In the final week before his induction, Blyleven continued his usual broadcasting duties in the TV booth for the Twins during Monday’s doubleheader and Tuesday’s game at Target Field.

Blyleven also will be working on his induction speech, which he said Friday he had yet to finish. It should be a good one considering Blyleven’s experience with public speaking and doing color commentary for Fox Sports North.

“My speech, I’m still working on it,” Blyleven said. “To me, it’s a day of ‘Thank you’ to so many people that mentored me, and that’s what I’m just trying to get down.

“It’s going to be a long one, I’m thinking about going over an hour. … Just kidding.”

On Wednesday morning, Blyleven will fly out to Cooperstown to begin his busy week of Hall of Fame activities. Upon his arrival, Blyleven will have a series of meetings with the Hall of Fame staff and will go through the schedule for the weekend.

Among the things on Blyleven’s schedule on Friday and Saturday are an induction ceremony rehearsal, a Hall of Fame member golf outing, the awards presentation, the Parade of Legends and the Chairman’s party.

The induction ceremony will be held on Sunday at 1:30 p.m. ET (12:30 p.m. CT) at the Clark Sports Center, located about a mile from the National Baseball Hall of Fame Museum. Admission to the ceremony is free, and it will also be broadcast live on MLB Network.

On Monday morning, Blyleven will see his plaque at the Hall of Fame and take part in a program to share his memories before returning home.

He’ll have a lot on his schedule while in Cooperstown, but Blyleven said he’s looking forward to all of it.

“I enjoy meeting people, because that’s part of it,” Blyleven said. “Hopefully shaking a lot of hands of all the fans that come out there, taking time out of their busy schedule to come out and see myself or Roberto Alomar or Pat Gillick. It’s a great honor for me to be inducted into the Hall of Fame with those two gentlemen.

“I’m looking forward to seeing what Cooperstown is all about during the induction weekend. I heard it was a lot of fun.”

Blyleven seemed particularly excited about one particular person expected to be in attendance, flying in just to see him.

“I’m looking forward to also my mother, at 85, is flying in. Most of my family is going to be there,” Blyleven said. “Hopefully the weekend’s going to be very special for her.”

Jordan Schelling is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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