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In the big inning: A first game story

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“Ten pages of Teflon sky...”

Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, Minneapolis, MN Photo by: Joe Sohm/Visions of America/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Over the recently-celebrated Thanksgiving holiday, I happened to be paging through an old photo album at the family homestead. You know—the kind with the sticky plastic pages that were supposed to preserve photos forever but are actually filled with an acid that destroys them. Ah, the 90s.

Anyway, my aimless avoiding-the-family-circus flippings stumbled upon a baseball artifact that may rival anything in the hallowed halls of Cooperstown:

Definitive, unadulterated proof (it says “Zach’s First Game” right on the ticket!) of my inaugural brush with in-the-flesh Twins baseball. I would have been four years old at that time—and admittedly far more concerned about the brewing feud between Hulk Hogan & The Ultimate Warrior or whether a Nintendo Entertainment System might be in the upcoming birthday offing than anything baseball-related. But a fandom (or is that obsession?) has to start somewhere, and 6/24/90 seems like as good a time as any.

In terms of the action transpiring under the Metrodome’s Teflon canopy that Sunday afternoon, I remember absolutely nothing. Perhaps this isn’t so strange seeing as how a quick trip down Baseball-Reference memory lane reveals a final score of 11-2—Royals over Twins. Kansas City battered 23 hits off of poor Allan Anderson, Tim Drummond, & Terry Leach. Five alone came from the bat of former Twin Jim Eisenreich. Playing CF that day for the visitors? Bo Jackson.

But hey, at least I saw—not that it made enough of an impact to be memorable—a Paul Sorrento round-tripper and a base knock from Kirby Puckett. Unlike my niece’s impossibly dramatic introduction to Twins baseball earlier this year, the end result of mine paled in comparison.

I do have one very specific memory from that outing: watching Kirby being presented with the Silver Bat Award. That honor—given to the previous year’s batting average leader—is actually a bit different from the modern-day Silver Slugger Award. My Dad must have smuggled me past the Dome ushers (probably not an enormous feat in ‘90), because I recall a closer view than Section 229 would have given me of #34 showing his silver-plated memento to the crowd. Not at all understanding the ceremonial nature of the award, I distinctly remember imagining Puck taking practice cuts in his living room with the gleaming implement.

Spring Training - Minnesota Twins
Kirby circa 1990
Photo by: Diamond Images/Getty Images

Do any of you have physical mementos or mental recollections of your first time at a major league ballpark (Twins or otherwise)? With the family holiday season in full swing and actual baseball itself locked away from us, now seems like a great time to probe the memory vaults!