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Front Page: Back in Love: How I Found My Passion for the Twins Again

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#1 Nash Walker

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Posted 29 November 2019 - 11:30 PM

The definition of passion is “strong and barely controllable emotion.” That would be an understatement for how I feel about the Minnesota Twins. How did this happen for me after so many years of tuning out?The date was Oct. 6, 2009. The Tigers and Twins battled in game 163 for the American League Central at the Metrodome. I am lucky enough to have a dad who brings me to the biggest games. I watched as Alexi Casilla bounced a grounder through the right side of the infield to score Carlos Gomez in the 12th inning, and Joe Mauer raced the pennant around the diamond. I was nine years old.

I grew up in Plymouth and played hockey, football and baseball. I was often asked which sport was my favorite and it usually depended on the season. My attention on Minnesota sports was similar. In the summer, my dad and I would go to a handful of Twins games. In the winter, we would find our way to Vikings games, or usually just sit inside and watch NFL Redzone next to the fireplace.

I’ve always been enamored with sports. I love the competition. I crave that feeling of winning. Hockey was the main focus for many for my friends, but I’ve had a special passion for baseball. I fell in love with the battle between a batter and a pitcher. I idolized Jacob DeGrom, Stephen Strasburg and Nelson Cruz through my teens, but my relationship with the Twins was more complicated.

We’ve always supported the team and gone to games, but over the last 10 years, my Dad and I would mostly scoff at the Twins. We were frustrated. We wanted to be competitive. We loved the organization, but our passion was lost in the midst of many horrendous seasons. I wasn’t aware of the young talent in the ranks. I knew Jose Berríos had electric stuff, and I remember seeing Max Kepler grow and adapt to the majors. I didn’t expect the 2019 breakthrough, but who really did?

I was surprised when the Twins signed the greatest slugger of the last decade in Cruz, knowing they usually didn’t make noise in the offseason. In early March, I was at the airport and decided to buy the 2019 MLB Season Preview from USA Today. As I read the Twins preview in my airplane seat, I felt a slim glimmer of hope for the first time in a long while.

As the season went on, I became more and more engaged. I became a patreon of Gleeman and the Geek and started dancing to the opening theme song, I followed the likes of Ted Schwerzler, Seth Stohs and Tom Froemming on Twitter, and I planned my summer waitering job around Twins games. I was in love again.

I am studying at the University of Missouri and acquiring a degree in sports broadcast journalism. I often miss home. The 2019 squad was outstandingly enjoyable, and they also connected me to my state. I felt comfortable and warm watching my hometown team.

It may sound cliche, but I truly become more invested in baseball and the Twins every single day. Baseball-Reference has become my most visited website, I frequently check Darren Wolfson's Twitter replies for scoops, and I constantly think about the Twins and their affiliates. My passion for the club grew into writing at Twins Daily, and I’m lucky enough to have an audience on this incredibly interactive and impressive platform every Friday.

My ultimate dream is to become the TV play-by-play broadcaster for the Twins. I’m confident and driven to achieve this goal, and attending a premier journalism school was step one. I am focused on following in the great Dick Bremer’s stead.

Thank you for reading my story. I am very grateful to be a contributor for Twins Daily, and I can not wait for the future of the Minnesota Twins.

How did you become a Twins fan? Comment below!

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#2 AZTwin

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Posted 30 November 2019 - 03:52 AM

For me my first game was when I was a youngster. Pretty sure it was the season after Puckett had to retire because I remember being told about that and being disappointed not getting to see him. I did get to see chuck Knoblauch in person though because I remember him being one of my favorite players just based on how the PA guy would say his name.

The early games I remember are a blur but there is one that stuck out as most memorable. I’m trying to remember the specifics of the game but even that’s is a little hazy. I think we were playing the Red Sox. Come the 9th inning (or perhaps extra innings?) and the bases were loaded, possibly 2 outs, and Pat Meares hit it over the shortstop for a walk off hit. I was hooked. Big fan of Meares after that even after he went to Pirates. I watched a lot of games. I was in Wisconsin (on the border) though so when I couldn’t get them on the TV, I would listen on the radio. Listened to many games on the radio. Remember the bad teams but you knew the young guys like Guzman would bring the team to the playoffs one day.

By the time I was in 6th or 7th grade I was ****posting on the ESPN boards with guys like yarnivak, ofx1 and rocketpig and following the minor leagues quite closely

Edit: found the game I was referring to. I would have been 9 years old as well for this game. Pat Meares had a huge day

https://www.baseball...199805140.shtml
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#3 Michigan Twins Fan

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Posted 30 November 2019 - 04:20 AM

I was in middle and high school in South Dakota in the 90s. I loved baseball, but those Twins teams were awful. I went to college in Michigan, and the 2001 team was exciting and helped tie me to home. The 2002 team had me hooked. I got MLB.TV in 2003, and I haven't looked back since. Even in the 90s remix AKA 2011-2014, 2016, 2018, I would still listen to a few a innings a night on my phone--to the chagrin of my wife. This past year I deployed to the middle east, and the team really helped keep me upbeat. In the summer of 2017, I was watching the previous night's game in the morning while my toddler was eating breakfast. It was a ritual for us--I'm a teacher so have the summer's off. After a month or so of watching morning games together, she looked at me and said, "Daddy, will you take me to the baseball game?" I was on Seat Geek (Sponsered by Gleeman and the Geek) immediately, and two weeks later we were in Comerica Park, bedecked in Twins gear and her with her Build-a-Bear in a Twins uniform. Awesome. 

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#4 ewen21

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Posted 30 November 2019 - 07:23 AM

Excellent read. I wish I had more than a phone right now.
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#5 Vanimal46

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Posted 30 November 2019 - 08:31 AM

The 1998 home run race between Sosa and McGwire sparked my love of baseball. I would try to stay up past my bed time and watch Baseball Tonight on ESPN... If I couldn’t do that I’d read the box scores in the paper every morning.

My family attended Twins games but they were irrelevant in those days. I remember the first Twins game I ever went to Bob Tewksbury was throwing beach balls down Broadway.

Didn’t truly become a Twins fan until 2001 when the kids finally started gelling together.
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#6 ewen21

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Posted 30 November 2019 - 08:43 AM

I’m in Florida now and flying into Albany early tomorrow morning. When I get home I will add my story since I’m not a Minnesotan. Been in upstate NY all my 53 years so it’s not common for someone in my region to be a Twins fan

#7 goulik

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Posted 30 November 2019 - 08:43 AM

I feel sorry for you youngsters that didn’t know the 87 Twins (as Im sure my elders feel sorry for me missing out on the 65 team). I was hooked by Kirby Puckett in 1986. It was a good time to get hooked because I caught every game of 87 on the radio, tv, and my first live game in May of 87. I was in college and had evening classes so the most I missed of any games were games 3,4, and 5 of the World Series. It was killing me to be in class but attendance was mandatory.
I can still name the 25 man roster from memory. (At least a version of it as rosters Change throughout a season) What a dream ride those playoffs were because the regular season wasn’t as impressive as one would think. We only won 85 games. Chip chair and a chance they say. I say, Kirby Puckett and Sweet Music Franky Viola. An ace and a once in a lifetime player. Puckett swung at and hit EVERYTHING for high average. Guess that’s why I like Astudillo. Reminds me of the free swinging Puckett even though the results are nowhere close to the same.
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#8 Tom Froemming

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Posted 30 November 2019 - 12:47 PM

This is fun, thanks for sharing. I suppose a lot of my story is a bit similar to yours, just set in a slightly earlier era.

 

I was born in the mid-80s, so it was pretty easy to get wrapped up into World Series fever. Being a kid in Minnesota around that time, Kirby Puckett was right up there with Batman and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as your favorite superheroes. 

 

I always remained interested in baseball, but my family's interest in the Twins specifically tailed off in the mid-90s. The strike hurt, but the Twins being completely irrelevant was probably the bigger factor. 

 

I personally started getting back into the Twins a bit in 1999, then attended a bunch of games the next season. You could get in the Metrodome for $4 in 2000, so it was never too difficult to find somebody interested in going, and I'm sure my parents were thrilled to get me out of the house :)

 

It just so happened that 2000 club was also a really fun team. Really bad, but really fun. A lot of the core guys in that group developed into the next winning Twins team. To have followed that progression was a really rewarding fan experience. Witnessing the 2002 team beat contraction, essentially sticking it to the man, was a kind of thing that leaves quite an impression on a teenager. I have the same feelings toward that team as a lot of people have with their favorite band/musicians from their teenage years.

 

I'd say I was a Twins fan by birth. Both my parents and my brother and sister enjoyed baseball. My grandpa listened to every game, so Herb Carneal and John Gordon were basically the background music of my summers growing up. But, it was all the time I spent as a teenager at the Metrodome from 2000-02 that really pushed things beyond casual fandom for me.

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#9 tarheeltwinsfan

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Posted 30 November 2019 - 01:57 PM

I was born in Washington DC in 1944 during WWII while my father was in the army overseas. My first major leafue game was the Senators and Tigers in 1954. Of course the Senators lost.My brother and I got some of the Washington Senators' players' wives autographs. They were sitting behingd us. Mrs. Clint Courtney was my favorite.I used to write Herb Heft, the Senators information director. He was so generous to this North Carolina boy. I got decals, pictures and yearbooks from him. I wrote the players and got pictures from them.My grandfather moved to North Carolina, but continued to subscribe to the Washington Post and saved the sports pages for me I was in college when the Senators moved to Minnesota, but I remained loyal to my franchise. The Charlotte minor league team was a Senators'/Twins' farm team, so I kept up with many of the minor leaguers by reading the Charlotte Observer. I requested and got Camilo Pascual's jersey number when I played high school baseball. I was a terrible pitcher, but I loved the game. I tried out for the UNC baseball team, but only lasted until the first cut. Played softball off and on. Lost track of the Twins during my time in the army (Sept 67 to June 69). Mark Davidson was from my hometown and played on the '87 World Championship team. I flew to Minneapolis in '87 and '88 to see Mark and his wife, Linda. Sat next to Mrs. Mark Davidson,Mrs. Kirby Puckett and Mrs. Greg Gagne. (I guess Iwas stillinterested in the players' wives.) Mark introduced me to Tony O. and Harmon Killebrew. Twins Daily has been an amazing addition to insatiable thirst for daily knowledge about the Twins. Thank you owners, writers and contributors for your dedicated and informative writing about the Twins. 

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#10 goulik

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Posted 30 November 2019 - 06:51 PM

Again, need to bring back the “buy that man a steak” button

I was born in Washington DC in 1944 during WWII while my father was in the army overseas. My first major leafue game was the Senators and Tigers in 1954. Of course the Senators lost.My brother and I got some of the Washington Senators' players' wives autographs. They were sitting behingd us. Mrs. Clint Courtney was my favorite.I used to write Herb Heft, the Senators information director. He was so generous to this North Carolina boy. I got decals, pictures and yearbooks from him. I wrote the players and got pictures from them.My grandfather moved to North Carolina, but continued to subscribe to the Washington Post and saved the sports pages for me I was in college when the Senators moved to Minnesota, but I remained loyal to my franchise. The Charlotte minor league team was a Senators'/Twins' farm team, so I kept up with many of the minor leaguers by reading the Charlotte Observer. I requested and got Camilo Pascual's jersey number when I played high school baseball. I was a terrible pitcher, but I loved the game. I tried out for the UNC baseball team, but only lasted until the first cut. Played softball off and on. Lost track of the Twins during my time in the army (Sept 67 to June 69). Mark Davidson was from my hometown and played on the '87 World Championship team. I flew to Minneapolis in '87 and '88 to see Mark and his wife, Linda. Sat next to Mrs. Mark Davidson,Mrs. Kirby Puckett and Mrs. Greg Gagne. (I guess Iwas stillinterested in the players' wives.) Mark introduced me to Tony O. and Harmon Killebrew. Twins Daily has been an amazing addition to insatiable thirst for daily knowledge about the Twins. Thank you owners, writers and contributors for your dedicated and informative writing about the Twins.
Once again, I say we need to bring back the “Wants to buy you a steak” button! Liking this post does NOT do justice to my love for this post! Thank you for sharing your story! Do your kids and grandkids also follow the Twins or have they adopted their own teams?
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#11 Sconnie

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Posted 30 November 2019 - 07:03 PM

I was born in Washington DC in 1944 during WWII while my father was in the army overseas. My first major leafue game was the Senators and Tigers in 1954. Of course the Senators lost.My brother and I got some of the Washington Senators' players' wives autographs. They were sitting behingd us. Mrs. Clint Courtney was my favorite.I used to write Herb Heft, the Senators information director. He was so generous to this North Carolina boy. I got decals, pictures and yearbooks from him. I wrote the players and got pictures from them. My grandfather moved to North Carolina, but continued to subscribe to the Washington Post and saved the sports pages for me I was in college when the Senators moved to Minnesota, but I remained loyal to my franchise. The Charlotte minor league team was a Senators'/Twins' farm team, so I kept up with many of the minor leaguers by reading the Charlotte Observer. I requested and got Camilo Pascual's jersey number when I played high school baseball. I was a terrible pitcher, but I loved the game. I tried out for the UNC baseball team, but only lasted until the first cut. Played softball off and on. Lost track of the Twins during my time in the army (Sept 67 to June 69). Mark Davidson was from my hometown and played on the '87 World Championship team. I flew to Minneapolis in '87 and '88 to see Mark and his wife, Linda. Sat next to Mrs. Mark Davidson, Mrs. Kirby Puckett and Mrs. Greg Gagne. (I guess I was still interested in the players' wives.) Mark introduced me to Tony O. and Harmon Killebrew. Twins Daily has been an amazing addition to insatiable thirst for daily knowledge about the Twins. Thank you owners, writers and contributors for your dedicated and informative writing about the Twins.

agreed with goulik, fantastic post!
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#12 tarheeltwinsfan

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Posted 30 November 2019 - 07:39 PM

 

Again, need to bring back the “buy that man a steak” button

 

Once again, I say we need to bring back the “Wants to buy you a steak” button! Liking this post does NOT do justice to my love for this post! Thank you for sharing your story! Do your kids and grandkids also follow the Twins or have they adopted their own teams?

 

Thank you. My son and his son are Cardinals fans.


#13 goulik

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Posted 30 November 2019 - 07:49 PM

Thank you. My son and his son are Cardinals fans.


That may have made 1987 a little awkward but I cannot argue with St Louis... I lived there for a little while and enjoyed many a game at Busch Stadium watching Ozzie Smith. They are my NL team.
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#14 Harry

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Posted 30 November 2019 - 08:47 PM

I was born in 1951 and grew up in Winnipeg. During the 1965 season my parents took me to my first MLB game at Met Stadium. It was a hot summer night and the Yankees were in town and Dave Boswell was on the mound. For me, it was a magical evening and I fell in love with the Twins.I don't think I've missed a box score since! Even though I never attended another home game I've had a wonderful time as a fan.In the late 70's Calvin Griffith invited my wife and I for coffee after a game in Seattle. (I've lived in Vancouver most of my adult life). Calvin and I spoke, by phone every Spring training when he was in Orlando.And, for me, the icing on the cake was this past March when my two sons (now Twins fans) took me to my first Spring Training in Ft Myers.It's been a great ride and I've loved every minute of it.During the past summer my son

also took me to Target Field and during that trip had the pleasure of meeting Aaron Gleeman and John Bonnes @ Mall of America,Thank you so much to the terrific writers who run and contribute to TD. It's such a pleasure compared to the pre-internet days when I subscribed to the StarTrib and waited weeks for outdated mail!  

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#15 sdangus

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Posted 01 December 2019 - 09:46 AM

I have been a Twins fan for well over 50 years, and even in some of the bleakest years of the 70's and the 90's, there was still something to cheer about. 

 

If you didn't follow the Twins during those 70's, you missed prime years of Rod Carew and Bert Blyleven, the early years of Roy Smalley, the best days of one of the Twins better pitchers, Dave Goltz. Or Larry Hisle's entire time with the Twins. And Butch Wynegar, maybe the best Twins catcher not named Joe Mauer.

 

Gave up on the Twins in the 90's? You missed most of Brad Radke's better years. And Chuck Knoblauch before he imploded. You missed the 3000th hits of Dave Winfield and Paul Molitor. The final years of Kent Hrbek and Kirby Puckett. And you missed the early days of the 2000's teams, back when you could see the talent budding even if it hadn't clicked yet. Torii Hunter, Dougie Alphabet (Mientkiewicz), Corey Koskie, Jacque Jones, Christian Guzman, Johan Santana, Eric Milton and lest we forget David Ortiz.

 

I know most of the people reading these pages are fans year in and year out, but a good many fans are fair weather only. Every year has it's special moments, and many games in every year have memorable moments. 

 

I've missed very few games over the last 50 years, and I'm glad I followed through good and bad.

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#16 tarheeltwinsfan

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Posted 01 December 2019 - 03:02 PM

 

That may have made 1987 a little awkward but I cannot argue with St Louis... I lived there for a little while and enjoyed many a game at Busch Stadium watching Ozzie Smith. They are my NL team.

They are my NL team also. Through the years when my son was young, I had taken him to lots of Tar Heel games, Final Fours, Atlanta Braves, Hickory Crawdads and Baltimore Orioles games. Several years ago, he took me to several Cardinals games. I particularly enjoyed it because he planned the trip and drove most of the way. Once when he had just gotten his driver's license we went to a Final Four in Indianapolis. We stayed in Bloomington in a hotel on the Indiana University campus. We were driving from Bloomington to Indianapolis for the 1991 Final Four Championship between Duke and Kansas. Two days earlier, Kansas had eliminated our Tar Heels. I had graduated from UNCand my son graduated there years later. We were not happy about the Jay Hawks having beaten UNC.However we hate Duke (or Dook) as we call the college which is less than 12 miles away from our alma mater, UNC. We were talking about who we should pull for in the Final game...whether we should support the ACC and pull for Dook, or pull for the team which had just eliminated the Tar Heels. Our car had a personalized UNC license tag and Tar Heel banners in the rear window. As we were driving on the 4-lane highway, discussing which team to pull for, a large SUV passed us. My son was driving. He said: Dad look!"The front passenger in the SUV had his bare rear end hanging out the window at us. We had been mooned. As the SUV sped away, we saw the Dook stickers and banners on it. We pulled for Kansas. We were ashamed that we had even had any thoughts of possibly rooting for Dook.

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#17 IndianaTwin

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Posted 01 December 2019 - 05:22 PM

I don't remember ever not liking baseball, and it was sealed by being a seven-year-old in 1973 as Hank Aaron chased Babe Ruth. I remember coming home from school each day to check the paper and see if he'd hit another. 

 

My older brother was a Cardinals fan, so I started in that direction, with Lou Brock as my favorite. Sometime during the 1973, the man who would become my brother-in-law convinced me that the Twins were a better team to follow, and tuned me in to WHO Des Moines ("coast to coast, border to border, and then some"), which was a key cog on the radio network, and I latched on to Tony Oliva as my new favorite player, since Paul had dibs on Rod Carew.

 

I was a die hard as a kid during the 1970s, with a particular highlight on June 26, 1977, that I wrote about in a Game Thread intro at: http://twinsdaily.co...dt/?hl=thread.

 

Interest waned a bit for me during high school in the early 1980s, but I was sucked back in in 1987 and will go on record as saying that I was optimistic enough in spring training 1991 to have changed my answering machine to provide daily updates on how good they were going to be that year.

 

Though being a Twins fan has been a constant since then, things were certainly cemented when my first son was born. My wife was working evenings at the time, so that gave me the opportunity to teach my son the alphabet by explaining that "B is for Bostock, C is for Carew, D is for Disco Dan Ford," etc. It worked, and he's become even more of a geek than me, though living in northern Indiana where Cubs games were on so many days when he came home from school has sentenced him to that lifetime of misery.

 

I would be remiss, however, in not taking the opportunity to also give props to Twins Daily. This web site has taken a Twins fan to an entirely different level. Thanks, all. 

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#18 tony&rodney

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Posted 01 December 2019 - 07:48 PM

Never lost the love. Baseball is a drug. I bought a subscription to BA (a guy named Simpson, not Homer was editor I think) in 1983 and remember finding Twins' fans writing about 15 years ago (was either SethSpeaks or Gleeman - was click #11 on their counter) on the internet and have loved the coverage ever since. I never missed a pitch selling beer in the Dome for 3 years and have always found something positive to hold onto, even in really depressing seasons. Last season was pretty exciting and like everyone else I am hopeful for more. 

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#19 ewen21

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Posted 02 December 2019 - 08:40 AM

 

I was born in 1951 and grew up in Winnipeg. During the 1965 season my parents took me to my first MLB game at Met Stadium. It was a hot summer night and the Yankees were in town and Dave Boswell was on the mound. For me, it was a magical evening and I fell in love with the Twins.I don't think I've missed a box score since! Even though I never attended another home game I've had a wonderful time as a fan.In the late 70's Calvin Griffith invited my wife and I for coffee after a game in Seattle. (I've lived in Vancouver most of my adult life). Calvin and I spoke, by phone every Spring training when he was in Orlando.And, for me, the icing on the cake was this past March when my two sons (now Twins fans) took me to my first Spring Training in Ft Myers.It's been a great ride and I've loved every minute of it.During the past summer my son

also took me to Target Field and during that trip had the pleasure of meeting Aaron Gleeman and John Bonnes @ Mall of America,Thank you so much to the terrific writers who run and contribute to TD. It's such a pleasure compared to the pre-internet days when I subscribed to the StarTrib and waited weeks for outdated mail!  

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#20 ewen21

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Posted 02 December 2019 - 09:55 AM

Born April 1966 in upstate NY.My dad grew up in the Bronx so he was a dyed in the wool Yankee fan (who also had a soft spot for the Green Bay Packers).I could not really get into the Yankees and my dad did not mind that.I could not relate to all the old folklore.It all seemed dated and black and white.Like they were ghosts.BY the time I was born the Yankees run was over and when I was old enough to become aware of baseball it was my brother who had the bigger influence on what team I would support.He was born 15 months before me (Christmas 1964) and he became a Met fan in about 1972.That was about when I was collecting baseball cards and following baseball.MY dad took my brother and I the old Yankee Stadium that actually closed after the 1973 season.We took the two hour ride down there a few times over the course of the 1972 and 1973 season.The first game we saw there was against Detroit in May of 1972.The significant thing that happened in that game was that Billy Martin ran onto the field (he was coach of the Tigers then), picked up a number of fly balls that had not been shagged and tossed these arcing rainbows into the stands while the organist played some calliopie music.He probably threw about four or five balls into the stands but the crowd cheered him loudly as he ran off the field.The whole thing was a little confusing because he was on the other team.I will never forget that.I got to see Al Kaline.My dad took us to Shea in 1972 also and we saw the Phillies.I remember Rusty Staub and Bob Boone having some words around home plate because I think Rusty had his tower buzzed.I remember the crowd screaming BOBBBB BOOOOOOONE!!! (like that Vavoooom! character from whatever cartoon).I also remember some scrub on the Mets named Dave Schneck hitting a triple in this game.

 

By 1973 I was into the Mets because my brother was and so were the older kids on my street.I lived in a small town between the city and Albany and my dad took us to several Mets games with the help of coupons cut out from milk cartons offered by Dairylea milk.I got to see Henry Aaron, Willy Mays. Willie McCovey, Jimmy Wynn (a favorite of mine), the starts on the Reds and others.My dad and my uncle also took my brother, myself and our cousin John (born February 1966) to see the Yankees play he Angels in a night game that season (and I got to see Frank Robinson).Roy White hit a home run both lefty and righty in that game and he robbed Bob Oliver of a home run by jumping into the stands.I still talk about that with my brother and with my dad up until his death in November 2000.The wall was only a few feet high in the left field corner at the old OLD Yankee Stadium.How else could Roy White have landed in the crowd sprawled out on his back?I am very glad I can say I was at the OLD Yankee Stadium and I cherish those memories.

 

So as a youngster I was a Mets fan.I also played in a couple of baseball leagues and collected baseball cards.We lived down the road from a school and in my small neighborhood made up of about five or six streets surrounding this elementary school there were enough kids to play four on four pickup games at the school.A lot of times it was only three or four of us but we'd take batting practice for hours if enough kids didn't show up (and that was a lot of the time).We would also play in the woods near the school and adventure.We would sometimes pick blackberries, (in later years we'd build forts, start campfires and have cases of beer in those woods) and in the winter we would play hockey on this small pond that was near a field next to an old abandoned apple orchard.No one had fences, dogs chased cars, and we played in the street since my road wasn't what you would call a thoroughfare.We would watch baseball, too.In 1973 I was so upset when the Mets lost to the A's I cried.When Wayne Garrett popped out to end game in a 5-2 loss.That was where it started and I remained a Mets fan all the way up until the time of the last strike.  

 

To be perfectly up front, I always had a soft spot for the Twins.I loved the uniform and I liked Metropolitan Stadium.The path from the batter's box to home plate said TWINS.I thought that was so cool.My brother and I still laugh about how Bob Casey would say "First base!Jim! Holt!".I guess my dad was watching the Yankees and we caught that. Rod Carew might have been my favorite player as a kid.I had Baseball Digest and Sports Illustrated and was a paper boy who devoured the box scores in the late 70s so I followed both him and George Brett.When Rodney went through all that BS with Cal Griffith and was tradedI was actually sympathetic toward the Twins.Coincidentally, it also happened that my pony league team in 1979 was called the Twins.That was the year Roy Smalley kicked butt in the first half.I read in Baseball Digest that he went on a Nautilus program durig the off season and right at about that time a gym opened in my town.It had racquetball courts and weights and that was when I started with weights.Because of Roy Smalley.

Fast forward to the two WS runs:We played STL and ATL.As a Mets fan I could not stand those two teams since we had so much trouble with them.I was into the Twins BIG TIME during those WS runs, but I did not have the wherewithal to follow them during the season.

 

The baseball strike KILLED baseball for me.At that time in my life I was searching for stability, barely getting by and probably doing things I should not have been doing.I turned away from baseball and focused my energy on the NHL.I went to about 10 Ranger games (the train ride to the city with friends was part of the allure), but I also went to several Hartford Whaler games (listen to Brass Bonanza and tell me if that isn't the best fight song in sports).

 

I guess I got into baseball again when the Mets got Mike Piazza.Even so, I was not really over the top.By that time I was starting my teaching career and I discovered my dad had cancer.The summer of 2000 was the summer where I took care of my dad.He had inoperable brain cancer.He wanted to watch the Yankees whenever he could and I would watch with him.We went from golfing together in early June (I knew something was not right) to him being diagnosed with glio blastoma in early July.Being a teacher I was off during the summer and I took care of my dad.My parents live only 15 minutes away so I was there literally twice a day.So I got back into baseball that summer and I got into the Twins thanks to the internet.By the summer of that 2000 season I was posting daily on the ESPN message board and conversing with a guy known as "Rocketpig" and that whole thing was a nice respite from the terrible feeling I had knowing I was losing my dad just after his 60th birthday.If ever a guy got screwed it was him.He grew up in terrible conditions in the Bronx in a family of 10.He worked all his life and was set to retire early....I am still mad about that today.He was the one who fostered my love of baseball.

 

 

My dad died that November and I think his death and that summer of watching baseball with him made me the fan I was before the strike.I also reasoned that the Twins were the team with the lowest payroll and I could follow them.This is when I started going to Yankee Stadium to see the Twins play.I also used gameday to follow them and if they played in Cleveland or Toronto at night I could get the games very clearly on my car radio (not sure why I can barely get Boston and get Cleveland so clearly).I moved in September of that year to be closer to my school and as it turned out the condo I bought was next to a sports bar that had satellite coverage of lots of games.A guy named Dennis who worked there was a Twins fan and I went there to watch the final games of the season.

 

 

By 2002, I was an everyday watcher thanks to MLB.That was one heck of a season, but in 2003 I purchased a flat screen to go along with my MLB package.I had accumulated a bunch of Twins apparel and honestly I have been a fanatic for this team since the end of the 2000 season.  

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