Well I'm back home now and moving forward to operational status again.
The trip to Minnesota was a blast. I got to see the Saturday game against the Royals, and I got to hang out with my friend Brent from childhood. It was great to reconnect.....with Brent, and with being a Twins fan again.
For the first time in a long time, I actually found myself enjoying a baseball game on an emotional level. Baseball has been a part-time job since 1993 and a full-time job since 1998 for me, and a lot of the emotional magic had fallen away in the daily grind of player analysis and writing. But I got some of that back this weekend.
The first game I saw in the Metrodome was sometime in 1983. I remember it was against the Red Sox, and I remember that Frank Viola got his clocked cleaned. Randy Bush hit a home run late in the game, but that the Twins lost something like 7-3 if I remember right.
Frank Viola threw out the first pitch before the game Saturday, which I found to be a nice synchronistic bookend for my adventures to the Metrodome. I have to admit, for all of its deficiencies as a baseball venue, I always kind of liked the place. Living in Iowa as a kid, going to see a Twins game was always a production involving a 5 hour drive and a hotel stay, and it was nice knowing that if my dad bought tickets that the game WOULD be played, with no worry about rainouts. That will be lost with the new field, whatever it's advantages. The Dome is also tied into childhood and early adult memories....Hrbek, Viola, Blyleven, Gaetti, Brunansky, Puckett, Reardon, Tapani, Erickson, Aguilera...even Allan Anderson, Les Straker and Fred Toliver. I still have my 1987 World Series keyring. The 1991 series occurred right when Jeri and I got engaged.
I've been rather blase about the Twins in the playoffs the last few times, but this year I'm emotionally invested again. I'll be rooting hard Tuesday against the Tigers. Wouldn't another World Series be a great way to say goodbye to the Dome?