Monday, March 31, 2008

Sentimental Letter From the Home Game.

The first game of the season had everything necessary to be a crowd pleaser-- a new hometown hero recovered from last season's injuries, a beloved, familiar face from the past now swinging for the opposing Los Angeles Angels (a dose of hygge for the Scandavanian-rooted crowd), and a positively odd blizzard on the last day of March making everyone inside the Metrodome feel welcomely trapped and cacooned, reluctant to leave, and like proud state patriots--better than the average fickle-hearted ball fan-- for driving through the yet unplowed streets of downtown Minneapolis at 5 MPH just to be at the sold-out opener. 50,000 of us in all.

Earlier today I was at the doctor's office and there were three people (in a waiting room of six) in Joe Mauer shirts. Even better, Momsies and I were at brunch yesterday and the little boy at the next table was under some sort of What Would Joe Mauer Do? compulsory trance. His mother would ask him to finish his pancake, and the boy, adorable in an oversize Twins hat, would ignore her instruction, kind of play with his food tearing the pancake apart with his fork, until she said "Joe Mauer would eat his pancakes!" Then he put fork to cake, and promptly to mouth. This parenting strategy also worked when his Mom wanted him to use a wet nap at the end of breakfast. I imagine it will work for all sorts of chores until Joe Mauer, during some press conference, lets it accidentally slip that he hates finishing his pancakes and using wet naps.

A catcher seems an odd pick for team hero to me. There's not too many chances for a catcher to be heroic. But Mauer is young, born and raised in St. Paul, and Minnesotans would probably hail Carrot Top if he were a hometown boy. It doesn't hurt that Mauer's in possession of a ridiculous contract, and cute. Cute in a sort of fratty way, like the kind of dude who would have called me a fattie dyke in junior high and looked over my shoulder during Algebra quizzes. Still, I find myself ridiculously attracted to him. It's hard to go against mainstream taste.

One rim job for every double, okay?

Then there was the ghost of seasons past: When Torii Hunter came out to bat for the Angels, his first time on Twins ground not as a Twin, fans stood up holding signs like "We Still Love You Torii!" and the entire stadium rose to give him a ear-pounding standing ovation. Hunter got a little teary-eyed and saluted the crowd. My Dad shook his head to connote his upset at the following equation which has plagued the Twins for the past couple years:

Great, loving fans + little money for talent = tragedy.

The crowd's goodwill towards Hunter didn't last too long however. By the ninth inning, when the Twins were barely ahead 3-2, and Hunter stepped up to bat, there were a few hisses, and loud cheering when Nathan struck Hunter out to seal the win.

It was a good game. A nice way to start off the season. But how strange it was to exit the Dome in a summer peanuts-and-Cracker Jacks kind of euphoria only to be greeted with a blanket of white coating the trees, and slushy, slippery roads. On our way out, Dad and I bought tickets for Wednesday's game too. Yay.


Axel Foley said...

Wow, it only took a couple days in the Midwest to make you earnest.

Perfect Ratio said...

I know-- and earnestness DISGUSTS me! You can then imagine the flurry of internal conflict Midwesternism creates within me. I need to take a Midnight Meat Plane to the Midnight Meat Train FAST.

rob said...

earnestness disgusts you????? but i'm so earnest.... what does this mean?

Perfect Ratio said...

No, it's great and attractive for you! But my grandfather used to recite this age-old Yiddish nursery rhyme that instructed me:

If you are a Jew (a Jew! a jew!)
Earnestness looks bad on you (on you! on you!)

See also: Yiddish nursery rhyme about boning Ryan Gosling.