Boys of summer morph into boys of autumn

September 23, 2006 by barbara

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Guest post by LeftyMN

Allow me to wax poetic in my first post to the Clothesline blog. I speak not of things politic but of the lyricism of the sport of baseball and the Minnesota Twins, who are the local practitioners of the national pastime.

There have been remarkable comebacks in sport. There have been underdogs who won it all. But I venture to say that the beauty and absurd grace of the 2006 Minnesota Twins is astounding. This is a team that, as late as early June, was in the bottom of the major leagues and in the position of trading off veteran stars to begin a three-to-four-year rebuilding process.

Despite being in possibly the strongest division in baseball, despite injuries to almost every one of its starters that required lengthy absences to heal, despite bringing in a designated hitter who could not hit, and despite playing a group of players who were unknown even in their minor league locations, the Twins are now five games from clinching a "wild card" berth in playoffs and may actually win their division.

Columnist Mary McGrory said, "Baseball is what we were. Football is what we have become."

Yes, baseball is a sport that does not fit into a TV advertising timeline. It has no time clock. It has no instant replay. The team behind by several runs in the final inning has no limit in its ability to overcome defeat. It all comes down to their acumen at striking a ball flying at more than 90 miles an hour with a wooden stick and hoping it avoids the gloves of the opposing players. Neither Father Time, nor the Lords of the Media, can decide the outcome.

And so this team of overachievers delights the hometown fans as gentlemen with Spanish names and strong arms strike fear in cities like Boston, Detroit and Chicago.

It's true that some of the players are millionaires being paid by multi millionaires. Yes, they demand that "we" pay to build them a home to play in. But I beg you to suspend your skepticism and cynicism for a minute, immerse yourself in the game of the boys of summer, and enjoy.

Here's what I know about Lefty.

He was born and raised in the wilds of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, is a historian by education, a grain trader by profession. He lives in Minnesota with his wife and two of the four children who have not yet left the nest for Big Ten institutions with hefty tuitions. He is passionate about Mozart, reason, unpretentious but good food, and honest good government for all. Oh. And baseball.

On the other hand, my name is Barbara and I am not a baseball fan. At least, not in the traditional way. I follow them by reading the standings in the paper and running the play-by-play printout on my computer screen every time "our" Twins play.

The "our" is because I feel like a bit of a hypocrite claiming them as "my" Twins. I'm a fair-weather fan. So much so that I have never descended into the bowels of the Metrodome to watch them play.

Now our boys of autumn are in a game-by-game duel for a playoff spot and also for finishing first in their division. Last night, the Twins lost, Chicago lost, and Detroit won. Our "magic number" is four. See, Lefty? I'm learning.

P.S. The Twins won Saturday evening! Magic number is now 3. Abra cadabra!

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Barb (not verified) | September 23, 2006 - 8:57pm

From last to first. (Whether it's the division or the wild card).
Perhaps our boys should have held out for a retractable roof for their new playground.