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Thread: Article: Why Baseball? Why The Twins?

  1. #21
    Neither my brother nor I were very big physically, growing up in a small town in South Dakota. We played every sport we could, but baseball was the great equalizer. He could play second base and I could play RF, 1B or pitch, because I was left-handed, even though we weren't as tall or fast or big as other kids. Baseball also gave an advantage to the kid who understood the game the best - hitting the cutoff man, positioning, understanding the strengths and weaknesses of all the players on the field. Even now, in our 50s, we can not see each other for six months, and lapse instantly into baseball conversation, whether reminiscence or discussion of our beloved team.

    We'd play hot-box in the backyard with a neighbor kid, alternating who was in the middle of our endless run-downs. We had a makeshift baseball field down the hill from our house, so we could play in the evenings and weekends. My sister got roped into pitching once, and the first pitch she got hit with a line-drive to the forehead. She's still not a huge baseball fan today. We played from the first year they would let us, underhand softball pitched by the coach, then little league and scratchy wool uniforms, then Teeners and Legion. No high school team. Mom was a teacher and loved it, sitting in the wood bleachers. We'd freeze the bottom quarter of a milk jug and fill it with water every day for games. We'd ride our bikes along the railroad tracks to get to the field. Our town had a Basin League team in the 60s and 70s, and John Stearns and Bobby Cuellar played for the Mallards. I got to be the batboy once in awhile, or else chase foul balls for a dime, and the whole town came out to watch.

    Baseball meant spring; it meant the winter was coming to a close, and that school was getting out (and when you live in a town of 2,000 people in rural SD with two TV channels and 3 or 4 radio stations, last day of school was better than Christmas and your birthday all wrapped together). We listened to WNAX out of Yankton to Twins games, fishing with my grandpa. It's great background, non-interruptive but engaging at the same time.

    And the Twins were the only team there was. No TV games ever until the post-season, as we only got CBS and PBS and baseball was on either NBC or ABC. Rod Carew was, and remains today, my favorite player. I still have a poster that he signed when my brother and I went to our first game in the 70s when my sister was having scoliosis surgery (unrelated to the line-drive, I'm pretty sure).

    Now, I just can't or won't let it go. Baseball is like life, with unfair bounces, ups and downs, no clock, and a chance for anything to happen. And you get to do it again tomorrow. It was being alone bouncing balls off the wall of my garage, being part of a team and doing my part to help us win. It was also being part of something much bigger and far away from my town, knowing that somewhere out there, big cities and amazing stadiums and perfect grass existed.

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  3. #22
    Twins Moderator MVP ashburyjohn's Avatar
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    For me it's probably the sense of "belonging" to something much greater than myself.

  4. #23
    Senior Member All-Star Sconnie's Avatar
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    I've loved the game and the Twins since I was little. I grew up watching Hrbek and Puckett play the game. I watched or listened to many games with my father and grandfather. If it was a day game we'd listen while doing chores in the barn, night games were frequently watched on TV if the farm work permitted, and listened to if it didn't.

    Today I listen in my office to day games, watch a couple night games per week. I still love to have the game on the radio while I'm puttering around in the garage on the weekend (usually brewing beer, yeah I love beer and am from Wisconsin, sue me if I fall into a stereotype) and I hope my daughter loves the Twins the same way I do when she's old enough to understand what's going on.

    Some of my love is from tradition. Some of it nostalgia. I love a lazy summer day at the ballpark, having a couple bears and watching the game.

    Most of what I love about Twins baseball is anticipatory. I love that feeling of waiting expectantly for the next pitch, because any pitch can become a game changer, but most are not. I love the intensity of a playoff push. I love the offseason and all of the anticipation for the future with the chess maneuvers and roster changes.

    That's why these last couple off seasons have been so trying on my soul. The immediate future has been bleak, and the future out a season or two, is becoming two or three.

    But I am heartened by this off season. The Twins front office has been active, and with some of the activity today, I am hopeful for an impactful trade. Because isn't that what this is all about? Waiting for the next move is the best part.

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  6. #24
    Growing up, baseball was always the sport that captured my attention the most, despite playing other sports. The Twins have always been it to me. I remember my old man telling me the story of how him and his buddies drove down and scapled tickets to see Game 6 in 1991, and how much they regretted not buying the Game 7 tickets when they had the chance. My personal career only lasted through high school, but some of my best memories came from playing legion ball. Growing up, I was a first baseman, so naturally being that this was the early 2000's, Doug Mientkiewicz was my favorite player. And he still is. How many baseball fans would say that? Anyways, being a fan of this club has always came easy despite the down years they've experienced. We have a farm system that is one of the best in baseball. We have the best prospect. We have a front office that seems to genuinely care about this team, the state, the fans, and the communities in it. It's only a matter of time before they get this right and the "fair-weather" fans come back. But you have to suffer through the bad times to appreciate the good times, and man will that be sweet.

    Great article, thanks.

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  8. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by spycake View Post
    Otwins: Star Lake, between Pelican Rapids and Perham? My family has been going there for years too (in my lifetime, mainly to the Galaxy Resort).
    Don't know if you will want to vacation up here this year. Not sure if the ice will ever leave any of the lakes...

  9. #26
    Wow, Seth. You really know how to do this. I look at the number and length of the many posts and I am amazed. You have struck a chord with your readers (again). This is an overwhelming amount of heart-felt posts which are an absolute pleasure to read. I was one of the guys who posted the first time you posed, "Why Baseball" and I still feel and relish what I wrote then. I've revised it a few times over the years and thought of reposting. I decided not to because there is so much new and wonderful reading here already. Thanks for bringing out the joy of this again, and so often. You can retire after I die.

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  11. #27
    I have always been connected to the Twins from back in the day when my Great Aunt and Great Uncle had a $1 bet on every game and she always took the Twins and Killebrew. Even when I moved away from MN I still followed the Twins. But I really became a fan because of my son. Cuddyer had tried to play 3rd base with only marginal success and was on the Twins Caravan that winter. The Caravan stopped at the Rotary club and Dan Gladden at the end said anybody who knew how many HR's Cuddyer hit that year would get an autographed baseball and I knew it was 12 so I got the ball and brought it home to my 8 year old son. He TREASURED that baseball. We HAD to watch the Twins every time they played. That summer he had to have the same number as Michael Cuddyer. He had to play right field because that was where Michael Cuddyer was playing that year. I finally had to sit him down and have a talk with him because his coach wanted him playing 2nd base and he was arguing that he wanted to play right field just like Michael. I was so glad that Cuddyer turned into such a good player and such a positive playing baseball role model. My son and I to this day are still connected to the Twins and it has more to do with the autographed Michael Cuddyer baseball than it does with the time he spent playing baseball. He doesn't play baseball anymore because his talents took him a different direction but we still watch and talk Twins baseball and I am far bigger fan now than I ever was before "The Autograph".

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  13. #28
    Owner MVP Seth Stohs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fire Dan Gladden View Post
    Don't know if you will want to vacation up here this year. Not sure if the ice will ever leave any of the lakes...

    To think that "Perham" is considered "way up north." That's where I'm from, and yet now, I live almost 4 hours north of there. Uggh... Snow, not fun.

  14. #29
    Owner MVP Seth Stohs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TMitchell View Post
    Wow, Seth. You really know how to do this. I look at the number and length of the many posts and I am amazed. You have struck a chord with your readers (again). This is an overwhelming amount of heart-felt posts which are an absolute pleasure to read. I was one of the guys who posted the first time you posed, "Why Baseball" and I still feel and relish what I wrote then. I've revised it a few times over the years and thought of reposting. I decided not to because there is so much new and wonderful reading here already. Thanks for bringing out the joy of this again, and so often. You can retire after I die.
    Thank you... one of the reasons I enjoy writing things like this is beyond just sentimental. Honestly, I always want these to bring out people and their opinions, but what I find shouldn't surprise me. Most of the responses on articles like this come from people who don't normally comment. It's from the fans that just want to read and enjoy the game... For the most part, those that took the time to share their comments on this article are not the ones who whine and complain about every little thing. It's good to read that there are still people who just enjoy the game without feeling the need to judge everything. We all have opinions, but I like reading the stories.

    I have had so many people e-mail me today to say thank you for this article. There are a lot of great baseball fans who choose not to comment because of the handful of squeaky wheels that make the comments/forum not as much fun. And for that, I thank those of you.

    And I've enjoyed the stories. Hopefully people will continue to add their stories.

    To add to mine, baseball cards were another huge part of my love of baseball. It's honestly how I learned math. It's how I learned names. It's how I learned numerical order, stats, reading, alphabetizing, etc.

  15. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Otwins View Post
    When I was little we use to vacation every year at Star lake way up north in Minnesota. We could listen to the Twins on an old scratchy radio. Harmon Killebrew was my favorite player. Tony Oliva, Bob Allison, Don Mincher, Jm Kaat, Mudcat Grant, Dean Chance, Zoilo Versailes.
    Got hooked then and can't seem to shake 'em. You are correct that the worst major league player is an outstnding baseball player. Thanks for the article
    I think you meant central Minnesota, not way up north. Geography tells me Star Lake is central Minnesota, and Minneapolis is in the southern third of Minnesota. (I grew up on the Iron Range and take offense to anyone who says anything 30-90 minutes north of the Twin Cities is way up north!) :-)

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  17. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seth Stohs View Post
    For the most part, those that took the time to share their comments on this article are not the ones who whine and complain about every little thing.
    As I was reading thru this post that EXACTLY what I was noting, very few of the normal suspects have posted. Interesting.

    Seth, thanks for the uplifting post, it was getting discouraging reading all the other posts about how bad the Twins are going to be this year even before the season started. I followed you over here from SethSpeaks and have learned so much about the minor league players, info that I never even thought about 10 years ago.

    I never played baseball, I'm just a fan, I like having the Twins on the radio when I'm barbecueing or mowing or in my shop or sitting around the campfire. I try to plan my activities according to the Twins schedule so I'll be within reach of a radio. I hate when they play on the West coast, the games just get too late.

    Go Twins!!

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  19. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by jm3319 View Post
    I think you meant central Minnesota, not way up north. Geography tells me Star Lake is central Minnesota, and Minneapolis is in the southern third of Minnesota. (I grew up on the Iron Range and take offense to anyone who says anything 30-90 minutes north of the Twin Cities is way up north!) :-)
    To be fair, on the DNR web site, I count 5 lakes named "Star Lake" in Minnesota. That's bound to happen, with 10,000+ and some uncreative namers...

  20. #33
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    1. Itís beautiful. Eric Davis just throwing out Carney Lansford at third. Kirby Puckett leaping higher than he should be able to leap. Short stops making backhanded stops. Home runs hitting the tops of flagpoles.
    2. History. Baseball goes back to the Civil War and hasnít changed much since the end of the 19th Century. I can read Ring Lardner stories from 100 years ago and know just what heís talking about. Itís Americaís First Game.
    3. You donít need to be a physical freak. You just need quick strong wrists. You donít need to be taller than 6í5Ē or weigh over 350 pounds.
    4. No clock. No tenth-of-seconds. No hundredths-of-seconds.
    5. No penalties. No free throws, no power plays.
    6. You can never stop learning. Whether itís advanced stats, or just something you didnít care about when you were younger. Thereís always something you donít know. Thereís always something to take note of.
    7. It takes place in the summer.
    8. Itís played outside, on grass.
    9. No bone-on-bone. We donít have to watch our most physically talented young people intentionally ruin their futures, like in contact sports.
    10. The ebb and flow. Whoever said itís like real life, slowness interspersed with bursts of action.
    11. Baseball is for lovers. Thereís not the martial spirit in fans as you see in football and other sports.
    12. The dimensions. 90 feet to first base is perfection. Should be enough time to make a throw to first. Unless the defender double clutches and the runner is hustling.
    13. No padding or body armor. Baseball caps instead of helmets hiding faces.
    14. No tie games.
    15. Itís a family game. The tickets are more affordable than in other sports and you tend to see more older and very young people.
    16. Itís every day. Thereís always another game to look forward to.
    17. Itís a literate game. So many good stories, from Dan Gladden on the radio to Patrick Reusse in the newspaper, to fans on the Internet.

  21. #34
    Senior Member All-Star Hosken Bombo Disco's Avatar
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    Grew up in suburbs. Many trips to Met Stadium and metrodome and other ball fields. Baseball ran in the family. Learned to keep score from my grandfather. When going to a friend's house for the first time I always sized up his backyard for whiffle ball potential. I bounced a tennis ball off my back steps just like many of you did (but stood closer than 30 feet, which allowed for long fly balls over the outfielder's head.. Loved reading box scores in the paper. Found friends to play catch. Had a grade school teacher who genuinely didn't understand why the boys were better on multiplying the 7 on the multiplication tables than girls (hint: football). I played ball for as long as I could, until I couldn't anymore.

    It is so true: every player that is discussed on Twins Daily is the best of the best and in almost all cases, they deserve to be talked about in the best possible light. Which they often don't get. The discussion threads often get divisive and unreasonably critical but I think that gives the site credibility; I think the moderation works; and I think the positive voices at Twins Daily are the soul of the site and the moral compass. The site would fall apart without them. I wish I had been here from the start of Twins Daily but am thinking this might still be the beginning.

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  23. #35
    Member Single-A Sarah's Avatar
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    Why the Twins? My parents tell me the story of sitting on the floor when I was 4-5 years old sorting out my baseball cards and listening to Herb Carneal and Joe Angell and the Twins games during the summer.
    I have almost the exact same story- my mom says I used to go into the TV room and turn on the Twins game when I was a little girl. She says one time when I was about six my dad came in and said, "Sarah, how can you watch this? They are so bad." I don't remember this but according to my mom I replied, "Oh, I don't care if they win- I just like to watch them play."

    And some of you who have mentioned the lack of a clock in baseball might enjoy this quote from Earl Weaver:

    "You can't sit on a lead and run a few plays into the line and just kill the clock. You've got to throw the ball over the goddamn plate and give the other man his chance. That's why baseball is the greatest game of them all."

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  25. #36
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    Thanks for starting this thread, Seth- this is truly community work!
    Also: there are some truly great stories and even poetry on this thread. These experiences are the non-analytic "stuff" that makes baseball the greatest sport ever.

    There's more than enough negativity right now, and much of it for good reason. However, one of the great things that makes baseball such a beautiful game is the fact that while we can project (and baseball must be the stat-friendliest sport) we will never be able to predict. Case in point: the 2012 and 2013 Bosox. Hope is never unreasonable, even if unlikely.

    My own story: my maternal uncle was the Little League coach in small town South Carolina, and bought me my first bat, glove, and ball. Every summer when we went to visit them, he'd just add me in to his team. I'm 45, so this was the early 70's, and he was the local tobacco-spitting champion (43 feet, if I recall). Anyway, the chaw, the pinetar (this was all wood bats & tons of tar-style Little League) the smell of the dirt, the grass, and the pines will never leave me. Through him, I discovered that being a lefty is a blessing. Where else would you get that?

    He is a diehard Braves fan, and so I remember watching Hammerin' Hank do his thing, watching with him. We also marveled at The Big Red Machine and the We Are Family Pirates- my first Bert experience- though Kent Tekulve's delivery made a bigger impression at the time.

    Later, my family moved to Europe and did primary school in Brussels, Belgium. I played Little League there, and that was an anchor to me. When we went back to the US for summer vacation, I always had ball to talk with my uncle. Stranger in a strange land, but I was good.

    A few years later, we moved back to MN, and that was the Butch Wynegar/Roy Smalley period. I think I had a Ron Cey bat at the time. The Twins were not good, but that wasn't the point. Your team is where your heart and home is, and even with all the moving, Minnesota was my home. Case closed.

    In '87, I was in my freshman year at college, and from where I was in the Wedge on 24th St., I could hear the cheering from downtown. In '91, my team was pitted against my uncle's team. What a dream come true!

    Now I am teaching in China, but still avidly following the Twins every day. I'm truly concerned about the state of the club. However, baseball is The Great Leveler- another beauty of the game. Just look at the injuries in Spring Training. If Verlander goes down and Cabrera has some sort of lingering injury, then the AL Central is wide open. Sometimes, that's all it takes.

    Anyway, I am teaching US Culture this semester, and I've made baseball the centerpiece. I don't think you can grasp America if you can't grasp baseball. I've set up a simplified fantasy league, am holding clinics, am teaching all the baseball idioms that make American English what it is, and next week will have an opening day party. At the end of the semester, we'll have a scrimmage, followed by a tailgate party. Gotta do it right.

    Many other posters have made great points about the uniqueness and beauty of the game- that's all in the lesson. Certain memories stick in my mind though. Moving from Chicago to LA after graduation, and listening to games all through the night, even in New Mexico... 2001 working in Ventura and having the choice of listening to Scully or Jon Miller. Watching the D-Backs beat the Yanquis post 9/11...

    In the end, I guess it's all about tradition, culture, family. I love the history (I'm a historian) and stats, but there's so much more. Listening to a game while driving cross-country through the night is sublime... where else do we get extended story-telling in our culture? What is more quintessentially American than listening to a ball game while you are On The Road?

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  27. #37
    Senior Member Triple-A Jerr's Avatar
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    Great article and thread!

    I was 8 when the Twins first arrived and baseball was the sport in that world of mine. Never played any organized ball. Just neighborhood pick up games as little league wasn't in my Minneapolis neighborhood.

    We played baserunner on the sidewalk with the lines being the bases and one would try to get as many bases without making an out from the 2 catchers. Record was 36 held by me.

    Also threw a ball against the cement steps for hours, used a tennis ball as the flies off the cracks or line drives were coming back fast. Had a large barn like garage with a huge roof where we threw the ball to catch high fly balls.

    Plus hours of pitcher and catcher with all the dreaded Yankees coming to the plate. Catcher would call strikes and balls and throw hits to field.

    And baseball cards, that I gave away after I grew up. I can cry as I had cards from the 1950's! It really hurt to take my son to Twinsfest and see those cards for hundreds of dollars a piece!

    So many memories and baseball endures for so many of the reasons in this thread. The mind games, no time, any thing can happen, along with all the great stories and memories from games gone by.

    Up north on Kimble Lake each Summer, with just Herb Carneal calling a game as we fished and swam. Only interruption would be to find a station playing the Beatles new release.

    Thanks all for bringing back so much and firing me up for that next pitch!!!
    Last edited by Jerr; 03-29-2014 at 10:50 AM. Reason: added spaces to make reading easier

  28. #38
    Senior Member Big-Leaguer sampleSizeOfOne's Avatar
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    (Short version, as I don't know if/when I'll get to long version, and I want to get this in before the game starts)

    Why baseball?

    Nothing is better to pass the time than playing catch. And running down fly balls at the edge of one's range is worth it.

    I played in high school. I got the nickname "Skud" ("back in the early 90's, just about the time of our conflict with Saddam and the Iraqis" as the movie says) because, both at bat and in the field, when I threw/hit the ball, you didn't really know where it was going, just that it would hit hard. It was a load of fun, to say the least.

    Why the Minnesota Twins?

    I lived in Rochester, MN during '87. We moved during the summer of '89, but retaining sports loyalties have since become a point of pride, if nothing else.

    Why TwinsDaily? (I know it isn't part of the original question)

    At least for me, amongst all the discussion, opinions, reporting, I think I see something of the atmosphere I grew up in back in the 80s. Anyway, I do enjoy following what's here.

    For what it's worth. (While this thread has fallen off the top listings, and I haven't taken the time to read everything before me, I will come back to it. This is one of those threads that isn't really time sensitive. And maybe I'll give a more in depth response.)

  29. #39
    Senior Member All-Star JB_Iowa's Avatar
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    Why Baseball?

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/article...-baseball.html


    There are reasons why some people are paid to write. I wish I had Mike Barnicle's turn of phrase.

  30. #40
    First post so I'll keep it (reasonably) short. The easiest answer to why I cheer for the Twins (coming up on 31) is that my Dad is a western Minnesota native and he and my mom met at University of Northwestern - St. Paul. I was born to cheer this team on.

    Why baseball? Because no other sport can compare:

    1) Mike Trout being an obvious exception, for the most part you can't come into the majors and dominate from the get-go. While 18-20 yo kids have regularly come into the NBA in the last 15 years and instantly become the best player in the league or close to it (what's that tell you about the quality of that sport), the typical ROY in baseball has what, a .270/20/70 line?

    2) It's a thinking man's game. Watching the NCAA tournament games just reminds me that about 95% of basketball is genetics. Baylor had 3 guys over 6'8" this season. The strategy was pass the ball down low, and let that guy throw his weight or height around until he got close enough to lay it in. That's not skill, that's genetics. With some exceptions, football is the same. It's about size and speed. Meanwhile, baseball has had all kinds of stars in all shapes and sizes. Whether at the plate, on the mound, or in the field, it's about knowing your opponent's tendencies, the situation at hand, and being prepared.

    Best game in the world!
    Last edited by mattjc1983; 03-31-2014 at 11:21 PM.

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