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A year without live baseball

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Who in their wildest dreams could have imagined this?

Chicago White Sox v Minnesota Twins Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images

On September 14, 2019, my Mom and I were road-tripping in Cleveland and saw the Twins dispatch the Tribe in both ends of a doubleheader. The second contest featured Miguel Sano’s grand slam that essentially gave the Twins the AL Central crown.

Minnesota Twins v Cleveland Indians
Bash Bros.
Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

I didn’t make it to another game in ‘19, but I did jump back on a 20-game season ticket plan—after a year off—in anticipation of more 2020 contests.

Little did I know—or could have possibly guessed—that an entire year would go by without me stepping foot in a major league ballpark. Generally-speaking, as I’ve mentioned before, the biggest disruption to the 2020 season for me has been the lack of natural rhythms that come with any normal baseball campaign.

Lately, though, I’ve found myself very much missing the specific sights, sounds, and even smells of the ballpark. How much fun would it be to head to Target Field next week with the Twins battling for home playoff games?!

Some of the things I am pining for the most include:

  • A Tony O’s Cuban sandwich, my favorite culinary delicacy at the home park.
Enjoying a Cubano
  • The dramatic video/lights/sound presentation introducing the starting lineup, followed by “baseball fans—your Minnesota Twins!”
  • Sitting in my designated section 319 seat and immediately knowing when a right-handed hitter has hit a bomba to left field.
  • The camaraderie of attending with people from varying facets of life. My brothers will head straight to the beer stand, my sister will eye the mini-donuts until I cave, while my aunt will reliably end up with a bag of kettle corn. Some are focused on the game, others could care less about that portion of the experience, but a good time is had by all.
  • Player walk-up music, which is sometimes the only thing that keeps me in tune (pardon the pun)—for better or worse—with the music that the “kids these days” are listening to.
  • Post-game fireworks; my favorite promotion. That moment when the stadium lights extinguish and the sparklers erupt over an illuminated Minny & Paul shaking hands.
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim v Minnesota Twins
Minny & Paul do their thing
  • Heck, I’d even count my blessings to be packed like sardines into public transportation for the ride home.

I attended my first Twins game at the age of four. Never did I imagine a scenario—barring age or infirmity—in which an entire baseball season would go by without me in a stadium seat for at least one game. A lot of “first times” for things in 2020, to be sure.

Lest I come off as overly maudlin, however, the way I’m getting through this ballpark-less year is reminding myself how much more I’ll appreciate the experience whenever fans are allowed back inside baseball’s cathedrals. Even when there’s no joy in Mudville after a Twins loss and the guy invading my personal space on the light rail smells like bad cheese, I’ll still have a smile on my face. Because I got to go to a baseball game that day.