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BEST BARTENDER Minneapolis 2003 - Freddy Latenville at Rally Room

In just their second home game of the season, the Minnesota Twins have managed to force extra innings against the Toronto Blue Jays. The beer vendors, however, have already called it a night, so what's a parched fan to do? Those in the loop make a beeline for the Rally Room, the secret bar tucked away on the first-level concourse of the Dome, to keep drinking and root for the home team while watching the game on the tube. Bartender Freddy Latenville, a wiry man nearing 70 who has slung drinks here since the dome opened in 1982, is handling the rush like a Gold Glover. One young man in his early 20s balks when Latenville gets to him, unsure of his order. "Come on, come on," Latenville says, waving his upturned palms toward his midsection. "Ya gotta know what you want when I get to ya." With Latenville, this is not so much an admonishment as a simple fact of life--he's the only bartender working the room, and there are now more than 100 folks vying for his attention. Freddy's served plenty of fans and players alike as a bartender around town for more than 45 years, and in the Rally Room's quieter moments, he'll gladly spin yarns about old-time ballplayers. Latenville is both classy and unflappable; the man, after all, spent considerable time serving Billy Martin, a notorious barroom brawler. And this is the guy who counts famous vendor Wally the Beerman as one of his loyal patrons. But Freddy's always happy to serve you too. He's not a mind reader, though; know what you want when he gets to your end of the bar.

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