My Experience As A Twins Fan In Washington State
Before you brandish your pitchforks, do know that I was born in Wisconsin and most of my family has roots in the Midwest. I also practice good Midwest traditions like saying “ope” whenever I’m trying to sneak by someone and describing something I enjoy as “not too bad” or “could be worse”. Throw in my incredible passive-aggression and I might as well be a resident of Edina right now. So calm down.
My family moved to Washington when I was just six, so my early memories of the Midwest are fairly limited beyond playing Gameboy games and getting lost in the snow. Because of this, I don’t really have an understanding of what it means to be a “normal” Twins fan.
My normal is being forced to watch the team on TV for 158-159 games out of the season outside of the one time they come to Seattle every year. This means that my family has to be a bit more resourceful when it comes to following the team. We have to plan to go to these games months in advance instead of having the opportunity to make a spur-of-the-moment decision to go to the ballpark.
This does offer some benefits. Or, at least, it used to. Players are more inclined to give autographs to fans in away cities and so I collected autographs ever since we started going to Safeco Field. At home, I have three baseballs filled with autographs from Twins legends like Bert Blyleven, Justin Morneau, Michael Cuddyer, and Torii Hunter. I also have some autographs from some absolute non-legends like Casey Fien and Kevin Jepsen, but you can’t win them all.
Unfortunately, I had to give up acquiring autographs a few years back because no one wants to sign for a sad-looking 18-year-old. Still, I will always have the memories of getting to the ballpark right when it opens just to stand near the third base dugout and politely ask (harass) players to sign for me. There was also that one time I hauled ass across the stadium just to get a signature from Kevin Slowey. True story.
Luckily, the status of the local team (Mariners) more or less forced the home fans to create a welcoming environment for fans like me. I mean, what kind of crap can a Mariners fan talk? Instead of harassment, we are usually met with kindness from these fans and I have had a number of pleasant interactions with Mariners fans even during games where they’re getting smoked. Seriously, my family was at the game last season where the Twins won 18-4 and we honestly stopped cheering around the 10th run because it just felt cruel.
TV watching is a bit different as well. I don’t get Fox Sports North, so I have to consult either MLB.TV or other, more questionable means to get my fix. This usually results in missing some legendary local commercials (save big money at Menards, anyone?), but it’s just the small price I pay for living in this state.
In fact, I would argue that my ritual for watching games on the West Coast is superior to what most of you all go through in the Midwest. The game starts two hours earlier so I never have problems with having to stay up late and the occasional extra inning nightmare fest is quite tame for me. While you all were dying a thousand deaths during that one Red Sox game last year, I was more just mildly inconvenienced by the debacle. Also, by the time the Twins game is typically over, I can switch to watching Mike Trout and the Angels or Cody Bellinger and the Dodgers and still be finished with those games before bedtime.
Despite these differences, I feel a connection among Twins fans at almost all times. The internet has allowed me to be in contact with other fans at all parts of my day to the point where the distance disparity isn’t even a problem. Yes, I can’t catch as many games in person or go to cool events like the Winter Meltdown, but I have survived so far and still am a part of this awesome fan base.
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- Blake, h2oface, Hoosier_Twinsfan and 4 others like this