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Kirsten Brown

How Brad Radke Crosses Generations Through Spring Training

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originally posted at k-bro's baseball blog


You may have noticed that every time I talk about attending Spring Training games, I mention that I like to visit with the other fans, especially the retirees. I like the retirees because they always seem so happy. Since the game doesn't matter so much, it's pretty easy to develop a great, interesting conversation.

Such was the case on Thursday the 15th, during that 15-7 debacle against the Pirates. My husband and I, along with our friends Mr. and Mrs. P, sat in the shade down the third-base line, while our kids sat in another section. Behind us was a pair of retired couples who clearly lived in Florida (they were happy and tan). As we took our seats, always the goofballs, Mr. P and Hubby started apologizing ahead of time for the other's behavior, and our game-neighbors laughed and the guys' lame joke. The four of us had hit it off with the four of them right away.

We got the small talk stuff out of the way -- "are you from Minnesota?" "yeah, you?" "yeah, where abouts?"...etc. After a very short time of this, one of the fellows noticed my Radke jersey and asked if I was a fan of his. I confirmed that he's my favorite all-time player, and my new friend dug out a piece of paper and a pencil and asked me to write down my address. He wanted to send me a Brad Radke bobblehead. I tried to politely decline; I couldn't accept such a nice gift. He insisted, and eventually his wife plead with me because it would really be doing her a favor. Well, in that case...

I did, however, have to earn my prize. I had to demonstrate some Twins knowledge. His first question was "Who's #8?" I knew who he meant, but I wanted to play along. Jamey Carroll just happened to be running sprints in front of us, so I pointed to him. He said, "No, before that." "Nick Punto" I said with a wink. "No...Before that." Of course he meant Gary Gaetti; I was just showing off.

He asked me several other questions, mostly about the off-season moves, and I answered to his satisfaction. However, he did cheat -- he had a team roster that he printed off at home. But I did all right with the top of my head.

Throughout the rest of the game, we all chatted about all of life's important stuff -- baseball, Florida, Minnesota, food, beer, kids, knitting, Brian Dinkelman, etc. What a delightful distraction from the disaster on the field.

When we parted ways, I really didn't expect to receive the bobblehead. I wanted to give him the opportunity to change his mind (or not be able to find it, or forget) without being bummed out.

Silly me. Look what came in the mail today:
Amazing. He also included a very nice note that made me smile.

Yes. I put a handwritten thank you note in the mail -- thanking him not only for the bobblehead, but also for the happy memories.


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