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First, the good news: On Monday, I watched the Twins home/season opener on my TV here in Idaho (thanks to a newly purchased MLB.TV subscription and a brand-new HDMI cable running from my laptop to my TV).

Now, the bad news: On Monday, I watched the Twins home/season opener on my TV here in Idaho (thanks to a newly purchased MLB.TV subscription and a brand-new HDMI cable running from my laptop to my TV).

I knew when I accepted my new call and moved out to Idaho there would be changes, but as I was watching the game from the comfort of my new living room (being the boss has its advantages, including taking a half day off on a Monday afternoon) those changes were driven home to me in a powerful way.

Ideally, of course, I would have been at the Twins opener – near freezing temperatures notwithstanding. I had been to the last two, and I had been looking forward to many more. Now, I’m watching it on long-distance TV. I had been attending about a dozen games a year at Target Field; now the best I can hope for is a rookie-level team an hour up the road that won’t even start playing until mid-June.

It is new and uncharted territory for me. I know that many others also struggle with being ardent fans from a distance, but having just moved away from Minneapolis I find myself all too aware that it just will not be quite the same. There’s something about being at the park that can’t be replicated; there’s something about seeing the players in person that gets lost on television. So I find myself learning to adjust, adapt, change. I will continue to watch the Twins remotely when my schedule permits, of course. But there will be more needed to fill the gap. So what will that be?

First, it looks like that will be the Colorado Rockies. While both Seattle and Denver are equidistant from me, after getting my cable setup and reviewing the channel listings I find that the regional sports channel I receive is from Denver and not from Seattle. I’m actually not that disappointed with this, as it might be kind of novel to watch national league baseball on a regular basis. Granted, the Colorado Rockies might not have been my first choice, but at least it’ll be a regular fix of MLB play.

And then yesterday another key piece of the puzzle fit into place. I was driving down the road, happening to pass the local “stadium” on my way back from the church, when I noticed the full parking lot. Turning in, I walked through the open gates (no admission) and took a seat in the moderately filled stands. For the next hour or so, I take in the last part of a local high school team playing a division rival. The game is not pretty (the home team gets shellacked 13-0 and the game is called after five innings due to a mercy rule), but it is baseball! Indeed, there’s something energizing about watching the raw game in itself, full of warts and without the polished sheen of professionalism. There’s something captivating about it. Watching the opposing fielder turn toward the wall as a ball sails over the fence for a home run is exhilarating regardless of the level of play. Seeing the rueful smile on the face of the batter when he realizes he got fooled on that last pitch for strike three to end the inning – it resonates even here.

The high school season will only last about another month or so, but it gets me thinking. There are bound to be other opportunities this summer. There will be amateur leagues in town; there will be baseball. No announcers, bare-bones scoreboards, no names on the backs of the jerseys. But there will be baseball, and it will be fun to watch.

I’ll still follow the Twins, of course; I’ll face to the east (toward Target Field) when I say my baseball prayers. But even here, in Pocatello, there will be baseball. Live baseball. Real baseball. And suddenly things don’t seem quite so bad.

Updated 04-03-2013 at 07:35 PM by IdahoPilgrim

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  1. Jim Crikket's Avatar
    Excellent! I'd also suggest finding the local Little League (or whatever they call it there). I honestly enjoy watching those games more than I do high school games (when I can tune out the parents, anyway).
  2. ashburyjohn's Avatar
    It should be a national law that all local baseball diamonds be located on main highways and other arterial streets. I've done the same as you, stopping to take in an inning or two when I spotted a game in progress and didn't have to be someplace urgently. It's cool.
  3. IdahoPilgrim's Avatar
    I imagine I'll end up following the local Legion teams (I think they sponsor three of them).
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