Ok, here’s a thought. I’m not suggesting it’s a good thought, but it’s a thought. Given the success and attention that the “Winter Classic” brought to Minnesota, it might be time for the “Summer Classic.” Not the All-Star game…been there, done that. I’m talking about something unique, creative. Something really unique and creative could be a cage-match between Rob Manfred and someone who really disliked him (a lottery would have to be applied). But that seems mean-spirited.
How about “somewhat” unique and creative, and slightly less prone to blood-letting? How about a real Summer Classic? A Baseball game in July in the Xcel Energy Center. I believe a hockey arena’s dimensions are 200 feet by 85 feet. This would mean that a home run could happen by either hitting what would normally be a lazy pop up to the infield…and the shallow infield at that, or at most, a shallow pop fly to the outfield. Pitching, of course, would be at a premium. The winning team would have to limit the opposition to something under several dozen runs, and any player making an out would suffer no small degree of humiliation and shame.
Depending upon where home plate was situated, playing either first base or third base would undoubtedly require hockey goalie like protective equipment. I mean, I’m not looking for this to hurt anyone…although the name “Manfred” keeps popping into my head. But I digress.
I’m not suggesting it be played on ice…that would be simply be a novelty and crazy….of course it would be artificial turf, which, as we all remember from the Metrodome (with fondness mostly) was sometimes kind of a novelty and at times simply crazy. Who can forget the outfielders waiting for that first hop on a Texas League “single” to come down, while Carlos Gomez or all too often someone from an opposing team kept on flying around the bases. I mean, it was crazy, but it was our crazy. Singles became doubles. Doubles became triples. Triples became…well…outs much of the time, but no need to attack past third base coaching decisions.
As with many things, we can mock our past, just as we can make fun of our own families, but others need to back off and allow us a certain level of respect…I mean, it’s only funny if we say it. The Winter Classic was quintessential Minnesota. Temperatures at zero or below. Enthusiastic fans casting caution to the wind as they cheered their team…and in the end…the Minnesota team lost. It was, truly, a classic. Baseball might want to learn from it.