The conference call had begun, and a voice in New York was slowly and deliberately taking roll, making sure each major league team was connected, could hear clearly, and was ready to start. The 2001 MLB draft was about to begin, and the Twins still didn’t have an answer.

“Cleveland … ready. Colorado … ready. Detroit … ready,” the voice over the speaker phone squawked into a large, windowless conference room in the basement of the Metrodome, the volume cranked to be heard over the clatter of the stadium kitchen in the next room. Nearly two dozen Twins scouts and supervisors were gathered in the “dungeon,” as they called it, with white-erase boards lining the walls and scouting reports spread out on the table. Air conditioning sporadically kicked on to circulate the air, heavy with the smell of fryer grease.

Joel Lepel, the Twins’ Midwest scouting supervisor, walked into the room as the roll call neared its end, having just listened in on one final round of last-ditch phone calls. As General Manager Terry Ryan and assistant GM Wayne Krivsky walked in behind him, Lepel looked at scouting director Mike Radcliff, sitting at the head of the table in front of the phone, and shook his head. No deal.

“Take who you want,” Lepel said.

Radcliff looked around the room. He looked at Ryan, who had already given his blessing. He looked at the other assembled scouts, some who agreed with him, some who did not. “I know some guys weren’t sure what I was going to say,” Radcliff says now.

The roll call ended just after noon, and the disembodied voice on the line said the draft would now begin.

“Minnesota has the first pick,” it said, and then paused, waiting.

Radcliff leaned forward and hit the “talk” button on the speaker.