If They Don't Win It's a Shame
When I was a kid, I thought the refrain in the baseball and 7th-inning stretch anthem went:
So let's root-toot-toot for the home team
And stay away from the shade
Because that was always my inclination. Why would you want to be way back there in the dark? The sunny seats were better seats. Sunburn? What was that? I tanned naturally.
Yesterday, at Target Field in Minneapolis, I was root-toot-tooting for a little shade. Went with my father, who bought some great seats in the Legends Club--second deck behind homeplate--and when we walked down to the fifth row and looked up, the sun, high in the cloudless sky above us, seemed merciless. I was sweating after two minutes. I looked down at the Twins mascot, TC Bear, cavorting on the field.
“If I'm sweating,” I said to my father, “What's that guy doing? How much weight per game does he lose in sweat?”
“I can't imagine.”
“What's that costume smell like after a game like this? Five games like this?”
Dad calculated we'd be in the sun half the game, tops. Turned out to be eight innings. He calculated--we all calculated--that the Twins (36-46) would have trouble against the Tampa Bay Rays (46-38), and their ace, David Price, whose ERA was a run better than Twins starter Brian Duensing. Seemed that way after one inning, too. Duensing loaded the bases and only got out of it with a double play. Price took about eight pitches to retire the hapless, overmatched Twins.
Then baseball happened. All the guys my father complained about before the game came through. Tsuyoshi Nishioka hit an opposite-field double with the bases juiced and Michael Cuddyer hit a mammoth, second-deck homerun in the third. (When it left his bat I did my Pauly Walnuts imitiation: “Aoh!”) Later, Cuddyer made a great catch in right, and Danny Valencia added a three-run homer in the eighth. Duensing went the distance. Final: 7-0, Twins.
One game out of 162 but what a nice July 4th. We ate hot dogs, drank beers. I had an ice cream cone (because I was hot) and a Killebrew root beer (because you have to). We talked to the guys in front of us, who wore jerseys, recently purchased at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, with “Who 1” and “Idontknow 3” on the back. We stayed away from the shade.