It's been decades since the family's patriarch bought the city's Major League Baseball team, a century-old original American League franchise that relocated into a different time zone after World War II and now plays its home games in a jewel of a ballpark on the edge of downtown.
The team has enjoyed mostly loyal support, despite ownership's occasional dalliance with moving again, and despite relatively little success on the field. In fact, much of the fan base wasn't alive the last time the team reached the World Series, and its few postseason appearances in this century most memorably produced an embarrassing streak without winning so much as a single game.
Through it all, the family has watched the team's value multiply many times over; it's now worth in the neighborhood of $1.5 billion more than the original purchase price. Meanwhile, ownership has been passed down to a younger generation, and last week, the current owner in charge disclosed his plans for the team's future.
Oh, wait. Two of them did.
Baltimore owner John Angelos, son of original buyer Peter Angelos, announced he is selling the Orioles, whose history is remarkably similar to the Twins', to a pair of private-equity billionaires for $1.725 billion.
"We are not considering [selling]. We are in it for the long term," the 41-year-old executive said. Will the Pohlads still own the Twins a decade from now? "I expect us to. I hope we do. We are not looking to do otherwise."
Plans can change, especially when several family members own a stake and have a say. But the Pohlads — Carl's three sons and their seven children — don't view the Twins as just another investment, Joe Pohlad said.
"This is something that brings our family together, something we enjoy being a part of. We love getting together at the ballpark," Pohlad said. "And not only is it a family asset, it's a community asset. We take that seriously, being part of the community and stewards of the team."
The family doesn't depend upon baseball for their livelihood, after all, unlike Calvin Griffith, the Twins' original owner who moved the Washington Senators to the Twin Cities in 1961. Griffith, who had inherited the team from his uncle, Hall of Famer Clark Griffith, sold the Twins to Carl Pohlad for about $44 million in 1984. The Pohlads' fortunes were built on banking, real estate, auto dealerships, soft drinks and other ventures, affluence that Forbes magazine estimated to be worth in excess of $3.8 billion — and that was in 2015.
Since then, among other projects, the Pohlad Companies have developed the 37-floor RBC Gateway building in downtown Minneapolis, which opened in 2022 and includes a Four Seasons hotel. And Joe's uncle Bill Pohlad has produced more than two dozen major studio movies, directed three others, and been nominated for an Oscar.
"As a family, we're involved in a lot of different industries. [Baseball] is just one," said Joe Pohlad, who took over from his uncle Jim Pohlad as the Twins' day-to-day supervisor in November 2022. "When we made this transition for Jim to leave, that would have been the time to consider [a sale]. Now that that's over with, it's not something that interests us."
Joe Pohlad's interest and ascension to the executive chair makes it easier for the family to retain control for the foreseeable future, pointed out Dave St. Peter, the Twins' president since 2002.
"I sometimes wondered over the years if the family would get to a point where they would sell, but when Joe came along, you could see that this was a generational asset that means something to the family, and they wanted at some point to pass it on to the third generation," St. Peter said. "Joe is the one who raised his hand, and made it clear he was interested in taking a leadership role, and I think his siblings and cousins appreciate that."
It's not unusual for baseball teams to remain within one family for generations. The Orioles will be only the fourth MLB team to change hands over the past decade; two other teams, the Washington Nationals and Los Angeles Angels, were put up for sale over the past two years, but their owners have so far rejected all offers.
Have the Twins ever been contacted by an interested buyer?
"Not that I'm aware of," Pohlad said. "If we were, I think I'd know about it."
Instead, as the family enters its fifth decade of ownership, Joe Pohlad says he is focused on making the team more successful, both on the baseball diamond and the balance sheet. He began working in a variety of roles with the Twins while they were still in the Metrodome in 2006, shortly after college, and learned about marketing, broadcasting, fan-experience roles and finances over the years.
The handoff from his uncle was planned for years, with Joe regularly sitting in on important meetings — including, President of Baseball Operations Derek Falvey said, his interview for the job in late 2016.
"Without them even telling me, I got a sense right away that this is what the succession plan would look like. So it's been seamless," Falvey said. "They've been in every key meeting together for close to seven years now."
"The change wasn't me suddenly moving in. It was Jim separating himself from the operation," Joe Pohlad said. Jim Pohlad, now 70, still represents the Twins in MLB ownership meetings, but his nephew expects to inherit that responsibility as well. "He prepared me for this. … I would say my proudest [accomplishment] in Year 1 is that we kept the trains on the track. We want this organization to be steady and stable, and I think it was."
Pohlad certainly doesn't act like someone who doesn't plan to be around for decades more, St. Peter said. For one thing, he has a Target Field office next to St. Peter's, down the hall from Falvey, and shows up to work every day. His grandfather and uncle never had stadium offices, but relied on regular updates from the front-office leaders to stay abreast of the team's operation.
The years ahead
Falvey always made a point to visit the owner's box during home games, just to stay in touch with his boss. That's no longer necessary, he said, "because we see Joe every day. He knows what we're working on. The best advice I ever got was, 'Never let the owner be surprised,' and Joe makes that easy."
He even visits the Twins' clubhouse and Rocco Baldelli's office occasionally, which the manager said he appreciates.
"I have a very good relationship with Joe. He's interested in all facets, and he wants to learn," Baldelli said. "I'd anticipate him being a tremendous leader here for a long time."
That seems to be the timeframe, his employees agree.
"Joe has been doing a lot of thinking about what our long-range plans are. How do we look five, 10, 15 years from now? Media could be part of it, real estate could be part of it, other strategic investments could be part of it," St. Peter said. "That's been a push for Joe — we are baseball at our core, it will always be that, but it's a very strong brand in the community. So what do we do with it? How do we have an impact?"
His first year with the title of executive chair included a Central Division championship, the end to the Twins' 18-game postseason losing streak, and their first postseason series victory since 2002. "One thing I know for sure: It's a lot more fun around here when the team is winning," he said with a smile.
On the business side, Pohlad instigated and oversaw the Twins' rebranding, modernizing the uniforms and logos that become so familiar during the season. Attendance rose by 9.6% and TV ratings took a 34% jump — but the team also dealt with the bankruptcy of Diamond Sports Group, which owns its TV carrier Bally Sports North and missed a rights-fee payment in an effort to terminate its contract.
All with a rookie, so to speak, in the executive suite.
"There was a lot going on, but Joe put his mark on our organization in many ways," St. Peter said. "He's very humble, but the transition was smooth because Joe grew up in this organization. He was here 15 years before moving into this role, so he had a much deeper understanding of the business than someone walking in from outside."