I wrote the following last night, while 30,000 feet in the air...
Target Field as viewed from my plane leaving Minneapolis on Wednesday -- if you look at the larger version, you can see the ALDS logo on the Jumbotron!
Back in July, I decided it was time to knock a location off my bucket list and made plans to visit Alaska. Unfortunately, when I made these plans, I failed to consult the post-season schedule. And thus, it came to be that I, already a long-distance Twins fan living in Boston, am stuck on a plane between Minneapolis and Anchorage while the Twins take on the Yankees in the ALDS Game 1. But I am a resourceful Twins fan -- despite living in Boston, I've seen the Twins play nine times this year: twice close to home at Fenway, once during a trip to New York at Yankee Stadium, once while visiting a friend in Philadelphia (comeback game!), once during another trip to New York to see Johan Santana's first game against the Twins at CitiField, once in a crazy single day down-and-back trip to Baltimore in the sweltering sun, and three glorious times at Target Field on three different trips back home, including one where we surprised my mother with a scoreboard message and my presence.
So you see, I am not the kind of fan who is content to get on the plane and wait until I land to hear the score. Thus, I have come up with a plan -- if I can't be at Target Field or even watch it on TV, I will bring Target Field to my seat on the plane. But how, you ask?
First, and most important, I need access to the game in some way from 30,000 feet above it. To accomplish this, I plan on using a combination of inflight wireless and my MLB.tv subscription. I know my subscription won't get me the live video of playoff games, but I also know that the inflight wireless network wasn't built for streaming video anyway. Thus, I've decided to settle for the radio broadcast. I tested it on my first leg from Boston to Minneapolis by listening to the Texas - Tampa Bay game and it worked like charm -- success! Step one is in place.
Second, I need some Minnesota magic to help me cheer the boys on. I brought a few things in my carry-on, namely, a Homer Hanky from 2002, the last time the Twins won a division series, and my Twins hat. The hat is not just any hat either -- it was signed by Tony Oliva at this year's State Fair where I saw him eating cheese curds at the Twins booth while he was taking a break from pitching wiffle balls to kids. I'm also wearing my new "Jim Thome speaks softly..." shirt courtesy of the fine folks at Twinkie Town. I thought about bringing the Kirby Puckett bobblehead doll, but decided that might be going overboard. The good luck charm department is well covered here.
Third, I need some Target Field ambience. This was going to be the trickiest part of the plan to pull off, but I've managed with the help of my one hour layover in Minneapolis, wherein I purchased the day's copy of the StarTribune, including the special 12 page ALDS section. I have strategically placed the playoff section, with its beautiful color front page spread of Target Field, in the window adjacent to my seat. It looks just as if Target Field is right out the window... well, almost!
Fourth, I need some ballpark food. The options in the for-purchase meals in coach don't include a hot dog or walleye on a stick or a malt cup, but they do include a Cuban sandwich... just like the Tony O's Cuban I ate at Target Field back in September. Only it turns out the sandwich on the plane is cold and not quite as good -- but close enough!
And now, with the ambience, magic, and food all laid out, it's almost 7:30 central time -- time to log on and queue up the game in my own little Target Field flying over Canada on my way to the only state more north than the North Star state.
Always read the fine print when carrying out a master plan -- turns out inflight wireless only works over the continental United States. My beautiful plan is foiled!
And so, here I sit on a plane in my own little Target Field, wondering if Jim Thome is mashing taters while Liriano strikes out Derek Jeter or if C.C. Sabathia is shutting the boys down. It's the Schrodinger's Cat of baseball games, and it's driving me crazy!
My little Target Field in the sky