I am not a handyman. I am a jack of no trades. When it became time to prepare my snowblower for storage, I took it as a threat to the peace and harmony of my weekend. Sure enough, I managed to stretch a small chore into two days of choking back cuss words because my daughter was in earshot. It's ready now. Probably.
The nice part is I didn't suffer alone. I had Cory Provus and Dan Gladden to keep me company. I listened to the Twins play in the garage. It felt right, somehow. Baseball and small engine maintenance. I'm typing this with grease and oil on my hands. My wife seeded the lawn while I labored. Typical home-owner stuff, with baseball keeping us company. Same as it ever was, as long as fans have had radios and things to do.
Cory Provus was being harassed for not being an athlete, but I don't think he's the only non-athlete in the world of baseball. There are lots of different ways of being one of the gang. Baseball already sports a stark dichotomy between its jocks and its nerds (both terms used with love). But that's not all. There are those of us who love the sport for its history and storytelling, present company most definitely included.
You don't have to be a five-tool all-star to join the screaming hordes of Twins territory. Baseball, I believe, can be an outlet for healthy masculinity. Masculinity is a style of being that doesn't have to be tied to men. It doesn't have to be exclusive and punitive. Masculinity can be a rough and tumble ride for everyone. Yell. Pump your fist. Become a part of the howling crowd. Let out the beast in you where it's safe to be free.
In an extra-innings game in the Dome, I remember what happened when Joe Crede hit a walk-off grand slam. I screamed. We all screamed. Some dude standing next to me screamed with me. We hugged hard after slapping hands in a high five. Masculine, but without toxicity.
The Twins made Saturday and Sunday worth my time. Solid pitching and runs galore. I yelled and pumped my fist by myself, except not really. Other people are out there, yelling with me in their own garages and houses. It's a safe place to be a part of the team. Correa and company gave me plenty to yell about, too.
In college, one of my roommates bought another roommate a Green Bay hat and told him he liked the Packers now. It worked. What a simple gesture with to bring someone onto the team. At a time where people complain about masculinity (and baseball) losing traction, what are we doing to bring people to share their voices in the roar of the crowd?