By Brandon Speck
MINNEAPOLIS – Even in the spacious Mall of America, the largest mall in the country, Brian Dozier’s jerseys are tough to come across.
Dozier has become a face of the Minnesota Twins franchise and his merchandise is in demand.
“He’s got the Southern twang. All the ladies love that,” said Pro Image America assistant manager Evan Milbrandt. “He seems like a really nice guy, very approachable.”
Since the All-Star push that got Dozier in his first All-Star Game, Pro Image has gone through tons of shirts and jerseys, Milbrandt said probably three reorders. The new batch of 60 was going quickly, too.
There is a picture of Dozier outside the store and on the counter.
And it’s not just the ladies. Minneapolis caught Dozier fever. One Target Field employee said Dozier, his fourth year here, has already reached Kirby Puckett and Kent Hrbek status.
That’s a high compliment.
“It’s his play and he just seems like a nice guy,” Goldy’s Locker Room manager Pat Dundovich said. Goldy’s had Dozier child jerseys.
It’s not just children, either. The #VoteDozier push helped him to the All-Star Game, where he became only the 16th player to homer in his first All-Star at-bat.
Walking through the Mall of America both in Twins shirts, Lauren Will said Steven Strauss voted his share.
“He’s definitely a nice guy. He does a lot for the community,” said Strauss. “You see different pictures of him and all of the other Twins guys going fishing with kids, community events …”
Dozier’s game has spoken for him, but he also doesn’t shy away from talking about his Christianity. That too has attracted fans, like Alec Gulseth, who had on a Dozier jersey, one his dad said was tough to find.
“It was actually,” said Jeff Gulseth. “We went to the first store and all they had was (Byron) Buxton and stuff.”
Brad Carson is a Twins fan from four hours away in the state. At Tuesday’s game against Texas, he proudly wore his No. 2 to his seat.
“When he dings one and he comes around third, first thing he does is looks to the dugout,” Carson said, “to his teammates, does it for them. I think that’s cool. He’s a got a great personality. Love him.”
Minnesota has watched Dozier and obviously likes what it has seen.
Added 15-year-old Nick Vowels: “Right now he is, I won’t call him the captain, but he’s our best player. And he’s been carrying this team.”