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Anti-athlete takes on the Twins

When dusk falls on the Twin Cities and the skyline begins to blend into the darkening sky, there remains one shining beacon of hope in the heart of Minneapolis: Target Field.

Guess who went to a Twins game last weekend? That's right, reader, yours truly, Thressa Johnson, the anti-athlete.

Believe it or not, this wasn't my first Twins game. That honor goes to 6-month-old me, mistaken for a baseball fan when I reverently craned my infantile neck to follow a fly-ball traveling overhead. Being unable to verbalize a correction to the mistaken diagnosis, I settled for falling asleep by the third inning.

Luckily, I'm eloquent enough now to toss aside any doubt about my lack of sports savvy. In fact, it happens pretty much every time I open my mouth, as epitomized Friday night.

After grabbing a hotdog, I tried to enter the aisle I was pretty sure led to my family's seats, but found it barricaded by a woman who told me I had to "wait for the appbat."

I politely asked, "What's that?" and got a burst of no-holds-barred laughter in reply. Apparently I misheard (never underestimate the importance of enunciation, folks!), and she, an obvious baseball enthusiast, found it unbearably humorous that someone at a Twins game wouldn't know what it meant to be "at bat."

I sheepishly returned to my seat after waiting for one of the 30,000-some people in the ballpark bedecked in a baseball cap to whack at a ball, and told the story to my mother, who lamented over my failed sports education.

An hour later, when I looked for my seat again after buying a tiny Twins helmet of soft serve, the same woman blocked my passage, started to tell me I had to wait for another "at bat," recognized me and, half amused and half resigned, told me to "Oh, go ahead."

Sometimes it pays to be a novelty.

Despite my apathy toward the game itself, it wasn't a terrible experience. Something about watching Montana yell, "Let's go, Punto" on beat with a field full of Twins fans made it worthwhile.

Plus, I reached a new level on the My Happy Planet game I downloaded onto my eco-friendly, corn-based phone.

And then there was the guy a few seats over who shouted "Patience!" when one of our batters fouled up. It was heartwarming to see that good ol' Minnesota nice still applies in competitive settings.

By the bottom of the seventh (behold my baseball jargon!), I started to feel like I was part of something big, something legendary, something smelling faintly of sauerkraut.

There's a distinctly American ambiance to sitting in a ballpark with thousands of people, a hotdog in one hand, the other dressed in a foam finger, anticipation in the air, watching a time-honored pastime as everyone gets hat hair all at once.

Makes you giddy for Independence Day, doesn't it?

With Saturday came our primary purpose for traveling down south: my cousin Jackie's wedding. Being in a baseball mindset (an unthinkably strange experience for me), I couldn't help but notice the similarities between the wedding and the previous night's all-American game.

Both involve navigating down an aisle to find your seat, although at a wedding it's more difficult to tell who's on which side (the Braves fans staying in our hotel stuck out like sore pitcher's thumbs).

Also, the church boasted four mounted television screens, making me wonder if, like at the Twins game, we'd have a choice of whether to watch the actual event or the televised version as they both happened at once. Alas, the TVs didn't broadcast the ceremony, so I gave Montana play-by-play commentary myself.

Weddings, like baseball games, have dress codes, though baseball caps and jerseys differ slightly from up-dos and formal wear.

But everything comes down to the ultimate American qualification: can I text during it? Wedding protocol strikes out here due to the slight impropriety of sending a "hey sup nm here just hangin' at my cuz's wedding" as she vowed to honor and cherish her husband 'til death do they part.

When we look at the nitty-gritties of Americana, it's easy to see why baseball has hit a homerun for so many years...or is it a touchdown?

Either way, God bless America.

Thressa Johnson graduated from Detroit Lakes High School and attends Hamline University in St. Paul.