The All-Star Game was the ultimate experience for baseball junkies and writers in Minnesota, but for one local insider, it was bittersweet because of a tragic anniversary in his life.
For Brandon Warne, being at Target Field with his brother as the best players in baseball faced off in the midsummer classic was a dream come true. Yet, while the kid from Roseau who fell in love with baseball at an early age will cherish the memories, his heart is full of pain this week as he remembers the moment that forever changed his family.
IN HIS OWN WORDS: 20 years later
The 28-year-old Warne is a child at hear when it comes to the national pastime.
"It's a big part of everything I do," Warne explained. "At my wedding, I had a baseball-themed cake."
Warne writes about the major leagues, blogs about the latest stats and Twins prospects, and still plays the game with an adult league in town.
"I started playing when I was 12," he told Fox 9 News.
That's why getting the chance to attend the All-Star Game was truly the stuff of boyhood fantasy.
"I went to every Twins home game last year, and I still had that awe and wonderment I had as a 12-year-old kid," Warne reflected. "My heart was up in my throat."
Sadly, however, baseball isn't the only thing that defines Warne's childhood in Roseau. A car crash that shattered his family does too. It was 20 years ago today -- July 17, 1994 -- that his step-father was killed. He suffered a broken spine, and his younger brother, Cody, was paralyzed below his neck at just 6 years old.
"I severed my spinal cord," Cody Warne explained. "Due to that, I am now ventilator-dependent."
Both the Warne brothers dread the day each time the anniversary nears.
"Think of what that means to an 8-year-old kid -- to see your best friend and 6-year-old kid brother basically teetering on the brink of death," Brandon Warne said.
A quick look around Cody Warne's apartment shows the brothers' shared passion for baseball and all things Twins. On Tuesday night, they were able to just be kids again, and they're trying to hold onto that joy.
"The game was amazing," Cody Warne said. "It's just unbelievable. I've watched every All-Star Game for the last 20 years. It's way different in person."
Now, they say the only thing that could top it is taking another photo at Target Field with the Twins in the World Series.