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Article: Why Baseball? Why The Twins?

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#1 Seth Stohs

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Posted 26 March 2014 - 10:38 PM

You can view the page at http://twinsdaily.co...l-Why-The-Twins

#2 Otwins


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Posted 26 March 2014 - 11:39 PM

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

#3 clutterheart


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Posted 26 March 2014 - 11:58 PM

Baseball was the only sport I couldn't play well. Basketball, I was OK, football I was good, track I was fine.
But I couldn't hit worth a damn.
Therefore I loved it more.

#4 ScrapTheNickname


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Posted 27 March 2014 - 12:19 AM

Great, great column, Seth. It is so good to step back for a moment. Thanks.

I am totally invested in being a bystander ... of professional baseball (the Twins in particular) and this strikes me as odd. No matter how much I love watching, it seems that winning is now the most important thing. And I'm only watching. This is kind of strange.

But when I was playing it was all about the fun, competition, and camaraderie and I miss that. I'm 56 now and I remember the grassy smell on the end of the bat, riding bike 5 miles into town every day to play Little League, the bitter ending of the 1967 season when the Twins went on a slide and The Red Sox went on a tear, and I blame Rod Carew for ruining my career because he was so cool I had to imitate his stance but he had the wrists of a Baseball God and I didn't. The town I grew up in was very small so I was able to be a starter for 3 years, then I played one at a junior college.

And now on a deeper level too - as a close observer of the Twins - I invest a lot of hope. It is quasi-religious, I think. Baseball is a very practical, but giving religion. There are a lot of people who can't wait for the Twins game to come on the TV or radio so they can disappear into it for two or three hours.

Thanks, Seth.

Edited by ScrapTheNickname, 27 March 2014 - 12:21 AM.

#5 TwinsTakes-RD



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Posted 27 March 2014 - 12:30 AM

Why baseball? It's an easy game to watch and one of the greatest things about baseball is it will lull you to sleep in a way and then, at any given moment, something exciting will happen, be it a home run, a great defensive play, a big hit, a comeback, a strikeout, a bad call that the manager doesn't agree with, etc... I think it's best summarized as:

In any inning of any game, any player can make the big play, offensively or defensively, and be the hero of the game.

I remember plays like when pitcher Bobby Korecky had to hit because the Twins lost the DH spot in the lineup and he got a hit in his only major league at-bat.

It's funny you have Tommy Watkins on there because I remember him as having a great little run with the Twins too.

Why the Twins? They are my team and always have been. Some injuries and some questionable moves have them in this bad run of baseball for the past 4 or so seasons and I think it's because they started thinking the wrong way about developing players from within. Maybe it was the rise in payroll or the GM at the time but it appears they've gone back to "The Twins Way" and it's only a matter of time to see this team consistently battle for the division and playoffs again.

I'm like you, Seth. I'm a positive fan. I think the Twins can win anytime and anywhere.

Is this the season they get out of the basement of the Central Division?

#6 CRArko


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Posted 27 March 2014 - 04:49 AM

Played a bit in Jr. High. Nearsightedness ended that run.

What I love about baseball is that it's a team sport that features great individual matchups. Plus, it means it's Summer.

Lifelong Minnesotan, hence the Twins. I remember when they were on WTCN, sometimes preempting the Mel Jass Matinee Movie.

#7 tharasix



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Posted 27 March 2014 - 05:23 AM

I played summer ball in a community league for about a decade until my junior year of high school. That last year, I was the best starting pitcher on the team and batted .667 with a significantly higher OBP, but I got no respect from the team or coach, who consistently batted me last. That soured me from pursuing the game personally, along with the fact that my studies were always a bigger priority for me. That being said, I enjoy the nuances of the game. I enjoy knowing the intricacies, and there's always a deeper level to explore. That's part of the reason I love lurking on this site. There are so many folks here who are so much more learned in the game than I am.

I can't say why I'm still following the Twins, other than the fact that baseball has always been my #1 sport, and the Twins were my childhood team. I defected to being a Colts fan when I was living in Indiana and the Vikings were having boat orgies, but I have never considered being anything but a Twins fan. Maybe I should see a doctor about that.

#8 TKGuy


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Posted 27 March 2014 - 07:03 AM

Baseball was the only sport I was any good at. I played all through high school and we made the state title game before Chris Weinke and CDH beat us in the finals. I went onto a Division III program and decided that I didn't want to put in the long hours it took just to play on a Division III team, so that was the end of my "playing career." After that, I have continued to coach baseball and now umpire baseball games.

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. When it was time to go to bed, my parents allowed me to listen to the games as I was falling asleep. In the days of no internet, I would always get up and turn on the radio/TV and see if the Twins won. All that was on TV for baseball were the Braves for me on WTBS, back when Dale Murphy, Bob Horner and the like were playing. I didn't go to many Twins games at Met Stadium except for the yearly Park and Rec bus trip. Then Bob Kurtz and Harmon started to broadcast games on KMSP and my interest soared.

While everybody remembers the playoff and WS games, some of the regular season games stand out to me still to this day. I remember with anguish losing the 10-0 lead in Cleveland on a Jamie Quirk HR and blowing the division title in front of about 2 fans in Cleveland. I remember the Ron Davis - Fred Lynn meltdowns night after night in Baltimore. I remember fondly the Twins comeback in Oakland after David West gave up 5 HRS to Dave Henderson and Mark McGwire in 1991. I was at the last home game against the Royals in 1987 when the Twins clinched a tie of the division title. I still remember the look on Tim Tschida's face when Joe Niekro tossed the emery board out.

Even into college, law school and as an adult, I always make time for Twins games. I was such a fanatic that I wired a headphone up my sleeve so I could listen to the Twins games while taking night classes at law school. This blog has ramped up my interest because I can follow the minor leaguers up the system and find so many knowledgeable people that can discuss the Twins on the same level that I can.

The one thing about this site that always bothers me is the constant bashing of the Pohlad family. I remembered in horror that Calvin or his family were going to sell the Twins and move to them to Tampa Bay if I remember correctly. At that time Carl Pohlad swooped in and stopped the Twins from moving. Even into the threat of contraction, I understood the Pohlads motivation. The Metrodome, while I have fond memories indeed, was not suited for baseball, and the Phil Krinkie's of the world kept stopping a new stadium from being built. Finally, the legislature passed the bill and Target Field was built and the Twins franchise was secure in Minnesota. People are still complaining about not spending more and more money and say that is why we are losing. Well the Twins are spending a heck of a lot more money now, so spending stupidly is not going to buy you the titles. I guess I will always remember with gratefulness that the Pohlad family stopped the Twins from moving.

Finally, why baseball in general? I always paid attention to the details of the game and tried to figure out what TK was going to do, he was actually the person I loved to follow. Sure Kirby Puckett will always be my favorite player, but TK was a genius in my mind (thus the moniker on this site). I was the type of player that wasn't talented enough to play even in college, but I always hustled and played the game the "Twins" way, which was a TK and Kirby Puckett philosophy I guess. I continue to watch the games on satellite and my oldest daughter is now a fanatic also. I love Dick and Bert, but am trying to get used to Cory on the radio after so many years with Herb and Gordo. We try to make at least one game per year at Target Field and regularly take road trips to other Midwest ballparks. Now, I living near Cedar Rapids, I am excited to have the Kernels be the Twins affiliate.

While I still know football is king in Minnesota, the Twins have since a very young age been my first love and baseball, with all of its intricacies, is way more interesting to me then football, and always will be.

I am now an attorney and on Monday, as I have every year of my career, will wear my Opening Day tie to commemorate the best day of the year, opening day, where no matter my realistic baseball knowledge know the Twins won't probably win the pennant this year, but there always is hope.

#9 nathanaakre


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Posted 27 March 2014 - 07:12 AM

I remember playing catch with my mom when I was probably about 4 or 5 years old - she would play catch with me and my 3 brothers because my dad was usually out in the fields during any sunlight during the summer.

Then, summer rec baseball started at kindergarten in the little town in Minnesota where we lived, and I can still remember being sick to my stomach the night before the first day of baseball each summer. It wasn't nervousness, it was anxiousness and excitement because I had been waiting for that day for 9 months each year.

My brothers and my cousin would play pitcher/batter/catcher all summer long, and like you Seth, we all had every batting order of the early 90's memorized from reading every boxscore every day all summer long. For some reason we would often play the Twins vs. Reds, and Jack Armstrong would pitch to Joe Oliver against the haunted Twins lineup (who probably always won).

I even remember playing imaginary baseball with a league I made up with made-up teams and players. Living on a farm we had all the space in the world, but limited players - we couldn't just gather all our friends at all hours of the day to get a game going.

I remember baseball cards, and my parents hiring my uncle to tell me which cards I could play with and which ones I had to put in my book so it wouldn't get destroyed. I remember being crushed one day because my uncle wouldn't let me play with my Roberto Kelly rookie card - just in case he would become the next (insert HOF outfielder here).

Baseball consumed my summers growing up, and living in Minnesota I was most consumed as a fan by the home team - and the likes of Hrbek, Puckett, and Knoblauch. I watched every minute of the 91 Series in our basement annoyed by the tomahawk chop. I was forever a Twins fan at that moment.

Lastly (this is a minor thing), and this might sound stupid, but I like baseball because it's not the NFL. Not anyone can just be a baseball fan. You have to understand and appreciate the little things about baseball to enjoy watching it. There's nothing better than relaxing, watching a game at the park, eating a hot dog, and chatting with your buddies between pitches about the game - in a unique ballpark that no matter what city you are in, has something different to offer than any other ballpark in baseball.

#10 spycake


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Posted 27 March 2014 - 07:22 AM

When I was little we use to vacation every year at Star lake way up north in Minnesota.

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).

#11 hybridbear


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Posted 27 March 2014 - 07:29 AM

At the house, there were four steps in front of the front door. I would take a baseball, from 30 feet away, and throw the ball toward the steps. Usually it would hit the cement steps and bounce back to me as a ground ball. If I hit the cement at a corner, it would come back to me as a line drive or even a pop up. Often, I hit the front door. There were so many dents in that door.

I did something very similar. I would throw from about 45 feet away toward the back steps. I didn't have any siblings so I couldn't do the pitching practice with a sibling, so I did it myself against the back steps. I had a rough strike zone based on where the ball would hit the steps and I would throw for hours, pitching simulated innings in my head and keeping track of balls & strikes. To do less damage to the door my parents would always buy the baseballs with the foam core. They were the right size and weight but did less damage to the door when I'd hit it by accident.

Sometimes I'd even setup our digital camera at different angles around me to study my pitching motion to pick up flaws in my mechanics. It was fun to set it up right behind my "mound" and watch the break on my pitches.

That was how I spent a lot of hours when I was about 12-15. Thanks for the nice article. It has brought back good memories.

#12 twinsfaninsaudi


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Posted 27 March 2014 - 08:13 AM

Tell me not in mournful numbers
Life is but an empty dream!

For the soul is dead that slumbers,
And things are not as they seem.

Lives of great men all remind us
We can make out lives sublime,
And departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time.

Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labor and to wait.

For time will teach thee soon the truth.
There are no birds, in last year's nest.

- Longfellow (as edited by Harwell)

#13 TheLeviathan


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Posted 27 March 2014 - 08:37 AM

Baseball will always be special to me because it is, BY FAR, the sweetest game to just listen to on the radio. To be busy doing something else in busy summer weather and have the sounds of a ball game on the radio is priceless to me.

I love many things about the other major sports, but none of them can touch that unique feeling of baseball, summer, and the radio.

Edited by TheLeviathan, 27 March 2014 - 08:48 AM.

#14 IowaTwin346


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Posted 27 March 2014 - 09:05 AM

Why Baseball? I've loved baseball since I can remember. Although I played other sports and may have been better at those, there is nothing better than being on a baseball field in the summer. I played D3 baseball and while it may not be glamorous, it is still good, competitive baseball. Now that I am a few years removed from playing I really realize how much baseball means to me. I spent countless hours working on my game for years and then it is gone. I think about little league and how much fun it was to play a game then stick around to watch your friends play the night game. I have built so many life long relationships through baseball and without it I would not have them. I love that baseball is about the little things, moving runners, taking an extra base, hitting a cut off man and missing something little could be the difference between winning and losing

I grew up in Eastern Iowa with a lot of Cubs, Cardinals and Sox fans. My dad was a Twins fan and I grew up knowing nothing but the Twins. I was named after Tony Oliva, my favorite player was Kirby and I still have my bat from Kirby Puckett bat day when I was about 2 years old. In fact, I have Kirby's bobblehead in my office. I was too young to remember the 91 world series live, but I have watched vhs recordings so many times it might as well been live to me. There was no cooler feeling for me than when my college team played in the Metrodome and I got to run out onto the field and look up at the banners of the retired Twins.

I probably follow the Twins too much for my own good, and while the last few years have been disappointing I look forward to the future team they are building. Baseball and the Twins will always be important parts of my life and now that I am going to be a father, I get to look forward to teaching my son about the game I love so much.

#15 JB_Iowa


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Posted 27 March 2014 - 09:14 AM

As a girl growing up in the country in the 60’s, we did not have the same opportunities to play organized sports that boys had (or that girls would have even a decade later). No little league or summer rec softball. But we did learn how to play softball in school and the neighborhood boys let us play baseball with them (even though the girls got to play, we seldom had enough for two full teams). That was the beginning.

But I fell in love with major league baseball and the Twins during 1965. My grandfather had recently retired “to town” after several heart attacks. Even though there were 20 grandchildren, I spent more time with him than others because I was “old enough” (10) and went to school in his town.

Occasionally a game would be televised and we would sometimes listen to games on the radio. And often we would go over the box scores and standings in the newspaper. The Twins were still relatively new in the upper Midwest and the excitement about them grew over that summer (nothing like winning to build a fanbase!).

And then came the 1965 World Series. I watched several games with grandpa (loved those afternoon games). He had coached American Legion ball when my dad and uncles were teens and was great at explaining the game to me. He also helped me understand that it was a game and to move past the crushing disappointment of that game 7 loss.

It was the start of my love for the Twins. That love would ebb and flow over the years depending (mostly) on the “busy – ness” of my life but although I had brief “flirtations” with being a fan of another team, I have remained a faithful Twins fan for nearly 50 years.

#16 Dantes929


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Posted 27 March 2014 - 09:19 AM

One of my favorite memories is my dad chipping golf balls to my brothers and I and the neighbor kids and playing 500. I also spent hours throwing tennis balls against our wooden garage door. I and at least 25 close relatives (dad and his siblings, my brothers, first cousins and there kids) have played town ball.
I have been on several championship teams and noted my joy at winning the city championship in 7th grade was as great as winning the state championship in high school. I have often thought that winning the WS would be no more joyful. They are all awesome. What they all had in common was that my teams were not expected to win any of them so I guess its why I like the underdog so much. To me the greatest joy in sports is when you beat teams with more talent by simply playing better. Its why I enjoyed the WS Twins so much and why one of my biggest disappointments as a Twins fan was losing game 163. I know the odds weren't great in the playoffs but I can always imagine a team getting hot and going on a miraculous run. I have never really cared for winning when the odds were heavily in our favor. I truly believe that there was more joy in Minnesota in 87 and 91 then there was ever in New York when the Yankees won. I want the Twins to win with guys we watch through the system rather than just buying the 3 best free agents each year. I guess that's why I defend the Twins philosophy on spending so much while also being disappointed about the boneheaded trades moves they have made in the recent past, few of which have anything to do with money. I will watch Hicks, Meyer, Buxton, Sano, Rosario and Stewart with great anticipation and if they fail I will watch the next group with great anticipation. Hope springs eternal.

#17 DAM DC Twins Fans

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Posted 27 March 2014 - 09:43 AM

Great article Seth. To be honest, I cant remember why I got interested in baseball. It was so long ago (60 years). I remember listening to games as a kid on a transistor radio in bed.

I was a Mets fan in the 1960s--so what the Twins are going thru now is nothing!!! 1969 shows that the impossible can happen. Maybe it will happen for the Twins.

To me the best thing about the game (outside of the fact that it is played in the summer--so opening day means snow is (usually) done) is the way you pass it down generations. In the 1980s I taught the game to my son and took him to minor league games and Old Memorial Stadium in Baltimore. This summer my son and I are planning to start the grandson (who will turn 1) by taking him to Bethesda Big Train games (college wooden bat summer leagues) and as he grows up teaching him the game.

#18 Sssuperdave



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Posted 27 March 2014 - 09:46 AM

Wow, great article and great thread. I've got so many thoughts and could type for hours, but I'll try to keep this to a manageable length. Baseball is definitely my favorite sport. There was a stretch in the late 90s where Basketball and Football took the lead, but Baseball was my first sporting love, and is head and shoulders above the rest now. Here are a few reasons I love baseball:

* Stats. I love numbers and statistics, and baseball has more of them than any other sport. Not only does it have more, but the stats tell such a story. I've got two young daughters right now and don't have cable, so I hardly ever get to see a game any more, but I truly enjoy reading the box score every morning. There's no other sport where you can get a good feel for what happened based on a box score alone.

* Lack of Clock. I know this is a cliche, but it really is true in basebal that it ain't over till it's over. In a basketball game, if you are down 20 with 5 minutes left, it's over, but it baseball if you're down 6 going in to the 9th inning, you really can come back. It' doesn't happen much, but it happens just enough to keep me glued to the very last out.

* Beauty. There's something about the colors, smells, and experience of a midsummer night at the ballpark that is just awesome. Even the metrodome was incredible for me. I'll never forget attending my first baseball game at the metrodome when I was 8. We got there really early and there weren't very many people there yet. The seats were sooooo blue and the field was sooooo green is was almost unreal.

* Strategy. There is so much strategy in baseball, and so much can happen on any pitch. I love the war between the pticher and batter on every single at bat. What pitch will be thrown next? Where will it be? Will the fielders change position? Should the batter bunt? Hit and Run? Swing away? And I'm just scratching the surface.

Now, why do I love the Twins? It all started in '87 when I was 7 years old. No one in my family was in to sports at all so I had never even heard of the Twins, but once they were in the playoffs with Detroit I heard friends and teachers at school talking about the Twins and was curious. My Grandpa was visiting when the world series started so I set down with him to watch the games, and I was hooked.

While I was hooked by the postseason, like another poster a bunch of my most vivid Twins memories are from the regular season. Some of the best are when Randy Bush had 8 RBI, when the Twins turned 2 triple plays in a single game (and lost, then turned 7 double plays in the next game and lost), a walkoff home-run by Gary Gaetti, just about every one of Scott Erickson's starts in '91, and Kubel's grand slam off Rivera. The most crushing regular season defeat was Mike Trombley giving up a grand slam in the 12th inning (or something like that) to lose a three run lead to the Yankees.

I was never very good at playing baseball. In fact, in my first year of little league I literally struck out in every single at bat. I was that bad. Seth hit .420 in high school, but I wasn't even good enough to make the team. "Easy Out!" was the most common refrain when I stepped up to the plate in little league. Yet, my best memories of playing sports are the few good baseball games I had. When I was 12 I was finally one of the better players in little league, and I'll never forget the game when I hit home runs in my first two at bats, both of them to right-center field. In my third at bat, as the catcher saw me approach the plate he stepped forward and yelled "back up outfield!". It was the only time that was ever said referring to me, and man did it feel good.

#19 cmonhank


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Posted 27 March 2014 - 09:54 AM

Thanks for the opportunity. Like you, I get tired of the negativity. You’d think the Pohlads and Terry Ryan and Gardy woke every morning and set out to ruin the world. I know (or hope) that it’s the loud minority, but seriously, people don’t realize how fortunate we are to 1. Have a professional baseball team, 2. Have an amazing park with which to watch that team, and 3. To have such hometown boys like Joe and Perk that are such great stories and are so loyal to the team.

Which brings me to my “Why Baseball?” story. Loyalty.

I grew up in small-town Indiana in the late 60s/early 70s. I was fortunate in that the very first voice I ever heard call a baseball game on the radio was Jack Buck; the first players I got to follow were greats like Bob Gibson, Lou Brock, Tim McCarver, and Curt Flood, and I even got to travel a couple times to St. Louis and actually see them play at Busch Stadium, and also went to Cinncy and saw Pete Rose and the Big Red Machine.

I also played little league from the time I was 8, first for the Orioles, then I got “drafted” when I was 10 to play for the Yankees of our little town, Citizens State Bank. Every year in early May, we had a parade down main street for opening day, and dressed in our cotton uniforms with stirrup socks, and were bestowed with the honor, when we walked by Citizens State Bank, to hold up our “number 1” finger to signify our Loyalty.

I was a catcher who couldn’t hit (imagine that!). I played Little League, then played in what we called Teanor League, and then played all through high school. My senior year I was a captain and we won our conference. My best friend and battery-mate, who was our top pitcher, eventually played professionally – mostly in the minors for the Expos, but did get a cup of coffee for a month, and pitched his first game… in Busch Stadium!

I went off to school, became an actor, moved to NY, got married – but while in New York, I got caught up in Mets fever in 1985/6, and was actually written up in the NY Post b/c I was in a Broadway show and would carry my transistor radio around with me backstage listening to the games, then put the ear piece in my pocket when onstage, then pull it out as soon as I walked offstage! Loyalty!

Stupidly I moved to LA. Wisely I had a child but eventually moved to MN (where my ex-wife was from), had another child and spent all my time focusing on parenting. But after my kids grew up, and a divorce in ‘07, I came back to… baseball! And this time the Twins.

The anticipation for Target Field was like being a kid again waiting for Christmas. I’ve attend over 100 games since it opened, and I have not had a bad experience yet. Even when we’ve lost games, watched Teixeira hit the HR off of Jesse Crain, sat through snow, and cheered for the first rain delay, I had a blast every time. If you are focused on losing (and don’t get me wrong, I prefer winning), then you are missing out.

Remember the first time you walked into a stadium and could see through the columns as that green grass and vast open field (that you had only seen on TV to that point) slowly revealed itself to you? The chatter of people arriving and finding their seats. The occasional breakthrough of “Cold Beer Here!” The smell of popcorn and peanuts. The players milling about playing catch or stretching out or signing autographs. The crack of the bat during BP. Every single time I go to the park, I am 8 years old again. (don’t tell the vendors or they won’t let me buy a beer!)

And though I love going to games by myself, I’m usually with friends. Sharing a beer, talking, laughing, cheering or jeering (i.e. “A-Roid!”, or booing A.J. just because…).
And the losing? Being a fan of your team is a relationship. And if you are only interested in relationships that are always gratifying and “winning”, then I feel for you. Those don’t exist unless you like to constantly jump around, and even then good luck. Sticking with your team, through thick and thin, makes the good times all the more satisfying. Because you feel the struggles along with your team, you feel the successes with them as well and know that you were there when there was only a smattering of people in the seats. You were there when those silly moments happened like the squirrel that scared Brendon Harris. You were there not only when Thome crushed it to win the game, but when the Hawk on the foul pole was eating bugs, or that fan caught a foul ball and didn’t spill their beer, or your friend got Champions Club tickets and you were so close to Miguel Cabrera you saw him smile when your friend razzed him.

So keep your negative comments coming about the Pohlads not spending enough money, and Gardy not playing the right players, and how much you hate Little Nicky Punto (who always played his heart out). As far as I’m concerned, you’re cutting your nose off to spite your face and missing the great amazingness that is happening before your very eyes. They are my hometown team and I will be loyal to them regardless of win or lose, because why? Because Baseball, that’s why.

#20 Heimer



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Posted 27 March 2014 - 10:01 AM

It's a family thing... Your not part of it if you dont like the twins.

#21 tmerrickkeller



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Posted 27 March 2014 - 11:08 AM

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.

#22 ashburyjohn


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Posted 27 March 2014 - 12:03 PM

For me it's probably the sense of "belonging" to something much greater than myself.

#23 Sconnie


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Posted 27 March 2014 - 01:09 PM

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.

#24 jmil-10


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Posted 27 March 2014 - 01:20 PM

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.

#25 Fire Dan Gladden

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Posted 27 March 2014 - 03:53 PM

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...

#26 TMitchell


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Posted 27 March 2014 - 06:26 PM

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. :)

#27 Beezer


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Posted 27 March 2014 - 07:49 PM

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".

#28 Seth Stohs

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Posted 27 March 2014 - 08:34 PM

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.

#29 Seth Stohs

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Posted 27 March 2014 - 08:41 PM

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.

#30 jm3319


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Posted 27 March 2014 - 08:44 PM

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!) :-)