Relax and enjoy the experience of a ball game

Baseball at Target Field isn’t necessarily all about winning.
Sunday against the Tampa Bay Rays, I watched the Minnesota Twins lose, not surprisingly, 7-5. It was a good game, back and forth, until the Twins lost in the ninth inning. I did not go to the game expecting the Twins to win, so even a close score was fun to watch.
The stands were full with 25,500 spectators enjoying a wonderful sunny afternoon, getting suntans and munching foot-long hot dogs. I write about the Twins not to bury them, but to praise the all-American pastime.
As my wife, Liz Ann, and I entered the stadium, we were too old to get a free, red shirt emblazoned with “Rosario” on the back – never mind that he has been sent down to AAA ball in Rochester, New York.
Even before the game started, hundreds of Little Leaguers paraded around the stadium. That was a thrill for them. At home plate, there was a ceremony emphasizing the need for organ transplants. Among the guests was former Twins player and manager Frank Quilici, who had a kidney transplant in 2012. There was a particularly moving flag-raising ceremony by a World War II veteran, surrounded by his family members while an elementary school choir from Rosemount sang “The Star Spangled Banner.”
During the seventh inning stretch, a talented singer sang “God Bless America.” It brought tears to people’s eyes.
Then there was the Kiss Cam, where startled couples found themselves on the big screen and were expected to kiss. Among the kissers, an older woman wrapped her arms around her surprised husband and gave him a huge kiss.
There were even some baseball thrills. In the third inning, Byung-ho Park and Robbie Grossman slugged back-to-back homeruns, powering the Twins to a 4-1 lead, as we rubbed our eyes in disbelief.
Predictably that score changed to 4-3 when the Rays’ Logan Morrison hit a two-run homer. Evan Longoria tied it 4-4 in the sixth inning and hit a go-ahead homer in the eighth inning, putting the Rays up 5-4. Would you believe Eduardo Nunez hit a game-tying home run in the bottom of that inning?
As expected, Twins closer Kevin Jepsen blew the save and the Twins lost again.
Win or lose, fans filed out of the ballpark after munching peanuts, Cracker Jacks and pizza.
So, as the baseball national anthem says, “Root, root, root for the home team” – after all, it’s just a ball game.
Don Heinzman is a columnist for ECM Publishers.

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