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Go analog, avert your gaze, listen to the Minnesota Twins

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Vintage Clarion AM radio Photo by Robert Alexander/Getty Images

It’s been a year when the Twins have been difficult to watch. Painful, due to what has been happening on the field. And also challenging, due to the reshuffling of broadcast and streaming options. Because fandom is ideally supposed to be an enjoyable and relaxing pastime I suggest this. Don’t watch. Listen.

My experiences with Twins Radio go way back. Back indeed to the mid 1960’s when I’d listen to the games at my grandpa’s house in northern Minnesota. The signal faded in and out – I always figured sunspots were involved – and was punctuated by harsh rasps of static from thunderstorms somewhere out in North Dakota. But in my memory some things always come through clearly. The distinctive bourbon aged voice of Halsey Hall. The jaunty “We’re Gonna Win Twins” jingle.

Generations pass and we all move up a base. Writing this on Mother’s Day I fondly remember that I knew I’d met my future wife when I found someone willing to sit in a back corner of Culla’s Tavern and listen to the game on an ancient radio that was part of the décor of that little island of Time Warp paradise. The radio had a score board front that advertised Hamm’s Beer, with the Twins logo and a 9 inning box score. Someone long ago had written “Harmon” on it to keep track of Killebrew’s home runs. Blessedly it had no accommodation for extra innings.

Baseball is that marvelous combination of linear and circular. Of change and continuity. You can still listen to the Twins on the radio, and with somewhat greater ease than following them in other formats. The broadcasters over the years have been superb, with Cory Provus just the latest in a long line of excellent names. Halsey Hall, Herb Carneal, John Gordon.

Time passes and we all move up a base. And in the natural cycle of such things I’ve been a kid, a dad, now I’m a grandpa myself. Presumably one of these days I’ll be Safe at Home. But it’s also linear. My son and grandson both love the game. And my grandpa’s radio? I still have it. Here’s a picture to take your mind off the bitter mathematics of the Twins stats and record this year. On First a promising young rookie, new to the league. On Third the grizzled veteran with a few more years left in him. And a radio picking up familiar timeless voices through staccato rasps of static from thunderstorms somewhere out over North Dakota.

M.Grasso