NORML, or the National Organization for the Reformation of Marijuana Laws, currently lists 16 states with medical marijuana laws, plus Washington D.C, along with 2 other states that have favorable laws towards the use of medical marijuana. The friendly people at NORML have had a lot more highs this year than Twins Territory, but NORML will very likely end the year with more highs than the eventual World Series Winners, so maybe that’s unfair.
This was my first season as a Twins’ blogger, and while I spent almost 2/3rds of the season at sea on deployment with the US Coast Guard, i still had a few highs of my own during the 2011 season. In the words that follow, I’ll take you on a magical journey through the time and space that was the 2011 Minnesota Twins.
The first high of the 2011 campaign: For the first time in my life I traveled to Ft. Myers Florida to take in the sights and sounds of the Minnesota Twins Spring Training. As was only natural, my brother Eric joined me for the adventure. There are few things better than spring time baseball in Florida, and not only was I getting to work on my tan, I was getting to spend some quality time with my brother. The proximity to the players, the laissez-fair attitude and the legends of the past just blew me away. This was baseball in a way that I had never experienced it before. Both Eric and I spent the day checking up on our favorite players and putting faces to the names of prospects we had only just read about in Seth Stohs handbook. You can see Eric lugging his around in the picture above. As you can see from the picture below, Eric and I have both changed a bit since my days as a card carrying member of NORML (In 2004 I had a beard, 7 years later it’s my brother who’s looking grizzley.). I thought for sure I was getting a glimpse of the 2011 Word Series Champions, but as we all know, that was clearly just delusional thinking. Highlights from the trip were getting a glimpse of Nishioka and the media circus that surrounded him, catching glimpses of Twins Hall of Famers, and being just a chain link fence away from my favorite ball club. Maybe Michael Cuddyer’s absence from training camp should have been an omen of things to come. If you all remember Cuddy missed significant time this spring after having a wart removed from his foot. Onward we roll!
Shortly after our trip to Ft. Myers both Eric and I were lucky enough to join the staff at Puckett’s Pond. This would be my second high of the season, and the ball club had not yet even thrown their first pitch of the regular season. Eric and I submitted an article we wrote together to Wally and a few days later we got the call (or more accurately,the e-mail), we were going to be part of the team, we were entering the wild world of baseball bloggers. Hot Dog! While my real job as a US Coast Guardsman has kept me away from the blog and out to sea much more than I would prefer, I’ve really enjoyed my first year as a writer for the Pond. A big thanks to Wally Fish, Nate Gilmore, and of course my brother Eric for helping me while I stumbled through my first season on the Pond.
My third high-light of the season, and easily the highest point of the 2011 season for me was my trip to Target Field. As I live down in Florida and spend more than 180 days every year out to sea, I wasn’t able to make a trip to Target Field for the inaugural 2010 season, I’m still coming to terms with this. My trip to the heart of Twins Territory this summer helped ease the pain of missing the opening season. First and foremost, I love the mall outside of the stadium, the statues, the photo ops, the room, spacious parking and mass transit, they’ve done things right in Minnesota.
The first thing that I noticed when I went into the stadium: This is not the HHH Metrodome. We got to the game about 2 hours before first pitch so I would have time to walk around and take it all in. Making the journey even more special, I was accompanied by my twin brother Eric (and his better half) and my oldest little brother Grant. We got Twins Straw Cowboy hats at the door and were then treated to a great performance by Scott Baker as he worked his magic. Other great things about the new stadium: Grant Belt, steak sandwiches, walk-a-tacos, Captain’s Deck, the Best Buy photo stations, the limestone and above all else, the beautiful sight lines. Eric and I took a walk around the entire stadium (2 laps actually) so I could walk up and check the view from all sorts of different locations. We both agreed, that even the worst seat in Target Field is still a GREAT place to catch a ball game. All that aside, as I was walking out of the stadium I was a little disappointed, even after a Twins win. One of my favorite things about Twins games at the dome both when I was a child and then into my early and mid-twenties was the RUSH as you are literally blown out of the dome when it’s time to go home. I consoled myself by walking out to the mall and taking my picture with the Kirby Puckett statue. I felt a lot better. I was on cloud nine all the way home, WAY HIGH.
Those were my big three HIGH-lights for the 2011 season. What were yours?