Eugene Bauer, 67, considers himself a realist. He keeps up on the news, he’s online a little too much, and enthusiastically consumes podcasts. He knows the continued rise of coronavirus cases and hospitalizations in parts of the country will make it difficult for baseball to come back, much less continue for a “full” 60-game season.
But from 6:45-6:50 pm on Thursday night, he stepped away from those intrusive thoughts and gave himself five full minutes of baseball-derived pleasure.
“I share season tickets with some old work friends,” said the Maplewood retiree. “I thought about the team letting a handful of people into Target Field to watch a game and being able to see Josh Donaldson destroy a hanging curve in person. I have a Kramarczuk’s sausage in my hand. The ball lands on the plaza. I smile a smile bigger than when my daughter divorced her second husband.
“He was a professional DJ who went by the name Nasty J, but his real name was Joshua, and he went to Moorhead State for 8 years,” he added. “I hated him.”
In those 300 blissful seconds, Bauer’s imagination ran wild.
“I’m up late. My wife (Marianne) is asleep. There are multiple west coast games on TV. Can you even imagine? Giants are playing the Rockies, Mariners are playing the A’s, and there’s a rain-delayed Cubs-Braves game in the 4th inning. I get a beer out of the fridge and open it. I’m going to fall asleep in the chair tonight.”
Before he snapped out of it to solve the final puzzle on Wheel of Fortune, Bauer allowed himself a moment of true glee.
“The day of the World Series parade is the last nice afternoon before it gets super cold. I’m wearing a light jacket and a mask that are the same powder blue as the ‘70s Twins uniforms. Everyone is keeping their distance and cheering. TC Bear throws me an autographed baseball. He removes his head and it’s A.J. Pierzynski. He swears at me, smiles, and keeps walking.
“I know it’s unlikely. But it sure would be something.”
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