Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘baseball

Fun Surprise

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What could be more fun than getting together with life-long friends and heading out on a beautiful spring evening to see a Minnesota Twins baseball game at Target Field? I’ll tell you what. Discovering that your cousin from Duluth, whom you infrequently see, is at the same game and then sleuthing out his location to surprise him for a brief visit during the 7th inning.

Yes, that became my adventure the night before last. My son, Julian, brother-in-law, Steve, and four other Eden Prairie friends gathered downtown to see the Twins play game 2, of a 3-game series, against the LA Angels. It was a gorgeous night, and a delight to be out with treasured peeps to check on a team that has achieved an impressive amount of success recently, as compared to what Minnesota sports fans usually face.

As per today’s de rigueur trend, one of the guys snapped a phone selfie with the rest of us mugging around him for the shot. In an instant, our whereabouts were broadcast over the internet, where my sister, Judy, happened to see it. How many other spectators were simultaneously sharing pictures of their night at the ballpark? Well, it turns out Judy also found a post by our cousin, Charles Moulton, revealing his spectacular vantage point from behind home plate.

Suddenly my phone pings me with a message from Judy, showing me that our cousin was at the same game!

I could tell from the view in his image that we were on the same upper deck level, so Julian and I walked that direction to see if we could connect.

Since Charles had no idea we were at the game, I knew we had the upper hand in surprising him, as long as we spotted him first. It didn’t take long to confirm a sighting. He was in the first row, on the railing, and there just happened to be two open seats beside him. At the close of the sixth inning, we stealthily made our way down to the row behind him and then climbed over the back of the seats, asking, “Are these seats open?” without waiting for the answer he was politely offering.

He gave me a glance, as I smugly focused on him and not the field down in front of us, which subsequently induced a second look.

That’s when I was granted the ultimate reward of the surprise, as his face revealed the transforming expression of recognition and delight. We both had our sons with us, so there was also a meeting of second cousins. It was a real treat and a special bonus to an otherwise fabulous outing.

The Twins deserve some credit for putting on an exciting finish for the home crowd, despite the fact it was because they allowed the Angels to climb back from 4-0 to make it a one-run game. A big throw from center field to home for a lead-saving out gave us all much reason for revelry.

To top the night off, the sudden downpour of rain that popped up, waited until the game was over and we had made our way out of the stadium.

It was a wonderful week-night outing, topped with a special surprise that definitely qualified as my idea of fun!

Thanks, Judy!

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Written by johnwhays

May 16, 2019 at 6:00 am

Live Ball

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I was out late in the big city last night at a Twins game. All the lights and pageantry of Major League Baseball, but not much to cheer about for the home team.

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The best part of the whole night was the weather. Another glorious summer night, as comfortable as ever.

That benefit was followed closely by the fellowship of longtime friends, including my son, Julian, who was a last-minute addition to the crew. I was able to take advantage of a guest parking spot at his building and we walked the few blocks to the ballpark.

It was more than enough fun to make it worth the resulting lack of a full night’s sleep.

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Written by johnwhays

August 16, 2017 at 6:00 am

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No Fish

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One of the things that seems so sad about the failure of our 3rd transplanted maple tree in the labyrinth is how many hundreds of volunteer maples are sprouting in unwanted locations around our house and yard. A less stubborn (and probably smarter) person would likely make the obvious choice of moving one of these hearty little yearlings to the center of the garden, but not me.

I have been bound and determined to get a head start on a future giant center piece for our labyrinth by planting a tree taller than me with an already good-looking crown of leaves. When Cyndie suggested buying a tree with an established root-ball, I countered that I preferred one from our property, and each time my attempt fails, I am going to pick an even taller one next, to make up for lost progress.

If necessary, in a few years I will hire a truck with a giant conical tree spade to dig up a 10-year-old beauty, I’ll dismantle rock paths to make room for it to back into the center of the garden, and they can plop down a transplant that won’t dare fail.

I’m finding that it might be easier to replace rocks for the labyrinth path than get a tree to survive being transplanted to the middle.

A few days ago, a person who shall remain nameless, to protect their anonymity, dropped off a small fish for our landscape pond. Cyndie learned about it after dark, and went out with a flashlight to check. Yep, she confirmed, there was a fish swimming in our pond.

That’s the last time the fish was seen. I wouldn’t have been surprised to learn it didn’t adjust to the move, if we had found it floating days later. I never suspected it wouldn’t survive the first night and would disappear without a trace. Did a predator —probably raccoon— really find and dispatch it that swiftly?

IMG_iP1366eMaybe it is just hiding really well, like the hidden growth of roots on the transplanted tree. Maybe the tree isn’t actually dead. It might just be taking a year off to develop roots, instead of sprouting leaves.

On Monday, I went to see a home game of the MLB Twins at Target Field with Rich, Jill, and Bob. It’s not a good sign that my only photo taken that night was of the giant display screen blazing the weather radar as the PA voice announced the game was being postponed.

I’m experiencing a trend. No tree, no fish, no baseball.

One of these tomorrows, I sure hope that sun comes out, and soon!

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Written by johnwhays

May 11, 2016 at 6:00 am

Late Night

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DSCN2126eI’m running a little slow this morning, after getting home around midnight last night from a trek to Minneapolis to see a Minnesota Twins baseball game with three great friends. It was my first time in the outdoor ball park which made it extra special and helped distract my attention from the tropical dew point that had the area under an excessive heat warning.

Today I will have an opportunity to take the cover off my new wood chipper to see the inner workings. Yesterday, in my rush to get things put away before I headed to the city, I needed to hook the chipper up to the back of the tractor. I pulled the locking pins from the two side mounts and with one in each hand, I reached up to push on the exhaust chute while looking down at the mount post.

In a hilarious way that seemed as if I must have intended to do this, I placed my hand on the chute right at the top near the opening and that locking clip dropped out of my grasp and rattled down inside. Oops.

I got everything parked in the garage, put Delilah in her outdoor kennel, fed the horses and was on my way, connecting with Julie to ride the light rail down to the stadium. It felt rather cosmopolitan to have transitioned so seamlessly from the tractor in my field to taking public transportation to dinner and a ball game in the big city.

BobJohnRichJulieWe met Rich and Bob at Pizza Lucé for dinner and then walked to Target Field in the thick heat. After a brief tour to see several vantage points, we settled into our assigned seats to enjoy the early innings, from which we could see the left field flags waving, but only rarely felt a hint of the breeze. Midway through the game we set out to explore more of the stadium and to see if we could find more of that moving air, stopping to fill water bottles at the jugs of ice water provided for fan’s convenience. That was a particularly welcome gesture by the Twins organization to aid in keeping spectators hydrated.

We ended up in the very top row out in the left field upper deck, where it was downright comfortable, and from which I was able to spot the apartment building where my son, Julian lives.

I let Julian know and he headed up on the roof of his building where we were able to spot each other from over two blocks away. He said he couldn’t really make out where we were, so I directed him to look right next to the scoreboard and he replied that he could see someone waving.

“That’s Bob and Julie!” I exclaimed.

Simple things can be so rewarding. It goes along with the repeated scenes I witnessed the entire game long, of fans discovering their image was being broadcast on the big screen. Yahoo! Oh, and a baseball game happened, too. A Twins win!

Cyndie was sweet enough to let Delilah out this morning and she fed the horses as she left for work, so I was able to get a few more minutes of rest before facing today. Now I’m going to go find that locking pin that is resting inside the business end of the wood chipper.

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Written by johnwhays

July 22, 2014 at 8:13 am

What Fun!

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I am a wimpy sports fan. I don’t have a stomach for the failure. I don’t know how players endure a losing season. But boy, when they are winning!

Last night my Twins pulled one off against our rival, the Chicago White Sox, in the 10th inning with a walk-off home run by Thome. It was a come-from-behind victory that pulled me from the misery of a loss to the glee of victory with one gigantic swing. I can’t think of anything else, in the day-in/day-out of life, that does that for me the way that sports can. It certainly doesn’t happen in a day in the trenches at work.

Making it that much more joy-inspiring is the image of those players being so wildly excited, and the sound of the announcers emotional reaction as they attempt to holler over the noise erupting from the home field crowd. If you missed it, you deserve to see that swing on a replay somewhere.

For Twins fans, especially the ones with a weak stomach, it was sure some fun!

Written by johnwhays

August 18, 2010 at 7:00 am

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Thinking Baseball

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Last spring, you may have noticed some of my posts included references to my watching Stanley Cup playoffs, and now during baseball post-season, I think it’s fitting that some mention of ball games finds a way into my writing. When a game reaches the level of importance where losing will end the season, there is an incredibly heightened viewing experience to be had. During the regular season, the majority of games will only appeal to the most genuine of fans. It is hard to say whether the network television coverage changes, during post-season play, enough to make the difference, or if the inherent value of the outcomes is responsible for the extraordinary sense of drama that materializes within each minute detail; from a coach’s signal, to a player’s expression, the closeup of a foot reaching base to beat a tag, or the anxiety of the fans. Regardless, the entertainment value to be found in a game that stays close during playoffs is one of my great pleasures.

My Twins outlasted the Detroit Tigers Tuesday to earn the post-season, but now are immediately up against the strong Yankee franchise in a best-of-five game series. Already down one game after last night’s opening loss, my home team is an incredible underdog to advance. That’s okay with me. I do better as a fan when my expectations are not high.

Even though I’m pretty much just a fair-weather baseball fan, I have great respect for ball players for how much mental discipline they are able to exercise in controlling themselves under the intense pressure of game situations. I don’t think they get as much credit for that part of the sport as they deserve. I wish I could think as fast, and act as quick, and stay as focused during some of the intense moments of my day.

Written by johnwhays

October 8, 2009 at 7:00 am

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