The boy of summer. Part 1

Ballpark #17

Target Field: the rain, the park and other things

Target Field: the rain, the park and other things

Target Field

Minneapolis, MN

August 3rd, 2019

Twins vs. Royals

The Mighty Mississippi while it's still more blue than brown

The Mighty Mississippi while it's still more blue than brown




   One thing I've learned as a result of my quest to visit all 30 major league ballparks is how much less enjoyable a baseball game is compared to watching them one after another all day and night with the volume on mute, while reading, writing or just lying half-dazed on a couch.

   First, there's the presence of people -tens of thousands of them - milling aimlessly about looking for things to eat and drink, as dentists and gastroenterologists gaze smilingly at their soon-to-be-expanding revenue streams. My question is why is red and blue cotton candy not sold in grocery stores if it's such a seemingly popular snack food? Same goes for nachos and soft serve sold in batting helmets?

Two people who definitely can turn the world on with their smiles

Two people who definitely can turn the world on with their smiles

   At home on the couch, it never occurs to me to sit through a game thinking I need something in my hands served in a souvenir container. Also, I'm not standing up and making way every five minutes for someone who can't watch a game without something in their hands served in a souvenir container.

   For the game at Target Field, the rain showers started the moment our tickets were validated upon entering, stopped, then started again the moment we'd gone back to our seats. That happened three times, and was followed by a Twins Hall of Fame ceremony, all of which combined to delay the start of the game by two hours. Again, at home on the couch. I would have switched to another game in progress and would not have had to stand up once to let anyone by me. (Carol usually just walks around the ottoman to avoid my stretched out legs.)

   Then there's the minor annoyances of security checks (why no TSA pre-check for ballparks?) and, of course, ensuring there's enough battery left on your phone to validate the tickets. I purposely don't ever total up what it all costs me.

   A valid question, of course, is why do it in the first place, or why continue to do it. It's like entering a hot dog eating contest and not liking hot dogs. (Oddly, the only place I ever crave a hot dog is at a ballpark.) It would be more enriching to set a goal of visiting all 50 states (I'm already at 49 with only Alaska left) or visiting all the national parks (I acquired a lifetime senior pass back when they were selling them for $15, and which includes Carol.)

A bit o' the real Ireland in the midwest

A bit o' the real Ireland in the midwest

   It might come down to this: While I don't like people all that much - at least when they congregate in crowds or sit close enough to me to enable listening to the excruciating detail and endless recitation of the banalities of their lives - I do like the cities people tend to live in. And it's in the cities like Minneapolis where baseball is played.

   Carol and I enjoyed a wonderful walk along the Mississippi River that divides Minneapolis from its St. Paul twin, and marveled at the sky walks crisscrossing downtown streets that keep residents from freezing to the sidewalks in winter. We were touched by the Mary Tyler Moore's "You're gonna make it after all" bronze at 7th and Nicollet.

   But for me, the best part of our day was tucking in to an Irish Pub (originally built in Ireland, then resettled beam by beam and brick by brick in Minneapolis) and then walking across the street to the ballpark.

   Eat, live, work and play. The way cities in this country once were. Baseball is about nostalgia, the way things never were, but I'm a sucker for it.