It’s no big secret that I am a baseball fan. Perhaps, even a fanatic.
I love the statistics, and the probabilities inherent in every match-up. Warm June evening games and late October pennant runs. Over-priced hot dogs and world-weary stadium vendors. The clutch hit that wins the game, or the diving stop that’s guaranteed to be on ESPN later.
I grew up with baseball, and I credit Cal Ripken, Jr. and the late 80s/early 90s Orioles for teaching me the great American pastime and making me love it with a devotion that’s far outstripped any sort of other relationship to date.
I root for the Twins these days, because I’ve now lived longer in Minnesota than anywhere else – but my feelings about baseball haven’t changed.
It’s still the best game in town.
I went to my first game of the season tonight, and I don’t know that I could have asked for better. A ludicrously gorgeous spring day giving way to the kind of evening that makes you realize they were right to make Target Field without a roof. What else could be our reward for surviving one of the snowiest winters on record? My body produced Vitamin D all on its own for the first time in months … and all this fresh air might be making me a little drunk.
And the game. A ten inning affair with all the trappings of high baseball drama: rookie heroics, Jim Thome pinch-hitting in the eighth [to the wild delight of all, myself included…] trying to break a tie, Joe Nathan tossing the most effortless 1-2-3 ninth seen in a long while, a throwing error and a dropped center field fly …. all culminating in a walk-off tenth inning single with the bases loaded.
It was piranha baseball in a way the Twins really do best.
And I loved every minute of it.
They may well break my heart with another first round play-off exit at the hands of those dastardly Yankees come the fall … but tonight I will just love them.