Wednesday, April 04, 2007

We're gonna win Twins!

Even though there's snow on the ground (I thought this was supposed to be spring), I can smell the leather and wood. Of course, I'm talking baseball... what you were probably thinking of escapes me!

It's time once again for sunflower seeds and tepid beer... of mosquito bites and long bombs. And so far, my Twinkies are doing pretty darn good! Granted, it's only 2 games into the season and 160 more to go, but call me the eternal optimist!

Every time I think of the Minnesota Twins, I go back to my childhood... of sandlot games at Clark Field... Nate Henry trying to perfect Kirby Puckett's high leg kick that he had when he swung the bat... of worshipping the idols of Kirby, Herbie, and Frankie "Sweet Music" Viola (before he got greedy, pissy, and traded). But most of all, I remember the "dynamic duo" of the broadcast booth, John Gordon and Herb Carneal.

Okay, a little back story... it's 1992, just before my Junior year of high school. I'm working in Sioux Falls in this cooped-up, soulless metal buiding as a document prepper for a microfilm company. It was tedious, boring, and frankly I detested it. We were encouraged to bring our own music to listen to, CDs, cassettes, or just the radio (as long as we had headphones, of course).

I would steal my little brother's transistor radio and listen to music most of the time (someone please shoot me for ever liking Belinda Carlisle!!!). But one night I got fed up listening to the same song over and over again and flipped the switch to KSOO-AM.

When you need to know... 11-4-OH, K-S-O-O! Still a good station.

Well, apparently the divine entity knew what I needed to know because that night I was introduced to John, Herb, Dark Starr, and Sid Hartman... Minnesota Twins Baseball!

I always thought John and Herb worked well together... John, the firey cheerleader who practically screamed "Touch 'em all, Kirby Puckett!" and Herb, the Southern Gentleman with a smooth delivery and a voice that made you feel like you were at the game.

You felt like you could walk out the door and into the Dome... grab a dog and a beer... watch the game... then head out into the heady summer night for a quick round at Hubert's bar and grill afterwards. And all this from 240-miles away!

I listened religiously every night. Off-nights or rain delays were sheer torture for me. But it was my refuge from a tedious summer job. Later on, I board-opped the Twins games when Depot Radio carried them, and I still caught a game or two on occasion, but the magic was just a shade of what I felt that summer of 1992.

Herb Carneal passed away last Sunday. Kirby Puckett died last year. I still root on the Twins. There was a time I didn't... mainly because of my disgust of the baseball strike that took my summer away from me. Mauer has a great bat, Torii could be an All-Star if his bat can catch up to his glove. And Nick Punto is so good at third base, he's like a human vacumn cleaner. Santana has unreal control... and when Liriano gets back from Tommy John surgery, well, I wouldn't want to be the Yankees!

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