Photo by Eliesa Johnson
Jason DeRusha eats with Dave St. Peter
RANDOM FACT: St. Peter is a huge University of North Dakota hockey fan. He’s still smarting from the team’s last-second playoff loss to the Gophers back in April.
Dave St. Peter may be the Twins’ biggest all-star. He’s been with the team for 25 years, starting as an intern and working his way up to be one of 30 Major League Baseball club presidents. The 47-year-old single dad has three sons: a 17-year-old and 16-year-old twins. He also has one World Series ring; he wants another.
What does the Twins president actually do? Somebody has to be responsible for the business of the Twins. That includes the baseball side, ticket sales, marketing, finance. Ultimately, I work for [owner] Jim Pohlad. I do a fair amount of liaison-ing with MLB; the civic, corporate, and media partners; and the fans.
The Restaurant: We ate at The Loon Café, which has held its own at the same spot near Target Field since 1982, long before there was a Target Field.
What We Ate: The Loon Addict is one of Dave’s favorite sandwiches: a lightly breaded chicken breast topped with melted Swiss cheese and fresh mushrooms on a toasted onion bun. I had the Pecos River Red Chili—you can now buy it at Target Field.
My Lunch Date: St. Peter is a bit of a foodie. His Target Field food faves: Murray’s steak sandwich, Kramarczuk’s Polish, Mac’s Fish and Chips’ walleye, Killebrew root beer float, and El Burrito Mercado’s Walk A Taco.
You were a Yankees fan as a kid growing up in Bismarck, North Dakota, right?
I’ve been cured of that affliction.
You moved from North Dakota to the Twin Cities with a degree in public relations.
I got an internship with the North Stars in the summer and fall of 1989 and absolutely was bit with the professional sports bug. Then I got an internship with the Minnesota Twins. Halfway through, the Twins offered me a full-time job, running the pro shop in Richfield.
I learned more about people, about hiring and firing, about customer service in retail. It was a great experience. I worked as hard as I could and moved into the front office in February of 1992 as communications manager for the Twins.
What would you say to that young person starting out?
I would say nobody’s entitled to anything.
Do you have more job security than, say, the hitting coach?
The Twins organization breeds continuity and stability, much to the chagrin of some people in the general public. It’s a trait the Pohlad family has cultivated. I think at the end of the day it’s led to a lot more success than failure.
The team has been awful.
I’ve been in the game for a long time. You always appreciate the successful periods because you know it doesn’t last forever. The same can be said for the down periods.
The fans still show up.
This is a great baseball town. The challenge is how do we continue to make it relevant among our youngest fans? Every sport has this challenge: Younger kids have so many options in terms of video games and extreme sports. It’s not a given the four major sports will continue to be so popular.
Are your sons Twins fans?
They learned at an early age: the better the Twins do, the better mood Dad’s in. They get more trips to Dairy Queen when the Twins are winning. [Laughs.]
You’re huge on Twitter—@TwinsPrez has more than 21,000 followers.
If you’re not on Twitter, no way are you as informed as people who are on Twitter. Beyond that, if you can filter out the crazy stuff and the people who are looking to push buttons, you can make a real connection.
Are you telling me @TwinsPrez isn’t actually just an intern?
I do it. Nobody else.
Do you have friends who talk to you about things other than the Twins?
[Laughs.] I make a point to have friends who maybe care very little about the Twins or baseball.
You went through a divorce recently.
Two-and-a-half years ago. I’ll say it: The last three years have been a humbling period in my life. My divorce was painful. Happy to say my ex and I get along, my boys are doing well. But combine that with the challenges on the field, and it has been a struggle. I believe the challenges have a lot more to do with defining you as a person. Now I’m a better man, a better father, a better friend. Hopefully a better employee and a boss, too. Life throws you curveballs. You try to foul them off and live for the next pitch.
Jason DeRusha anchors WCCO-TV’s morning and noon news. He also asks some really good questions.