The Wide Angle: My north wind is gone

Published 7:01 am Sunday, April 16, 2017

My spring is all out of sorts and it’s all because of the dome over Art Hass Stadium.

No, I’m not going to go on a rant, degrading the addition of the dome two years ago, because it’s nothing but a good thing for Austin.

For me not so much, because it threw my schedule all out of whack. When it comes to my job I’m a man of unwavering consistency on how things are done. Unlike when it comes to doing dishes at home, waiting until the precariously-stacked dishes begin to falter and tip like some game of Jenga coming to an end.

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Or when a cat knocks it over, which honestly, with the addition of Nemi, could be any day now.

So when it came time for my first spring event, I found myself fighting the netting surrounding one of two diamonds under the dome.

Okay, so I lied, I will rant a little bit about the netting, but only because I’m a photographer. Just to shoot the game I felt like I was on top of the umpire often times. I could have probably called the game from that vantage point, but that’s neither here nor there.

This is what it has come down to: For the last I don’t know how many years, I have followed a set schedule into spring. It’s been weird because it really doesn’t work that way in any other season.

This year, however, I started with Austin softball in the dome and now, my season is completely out of whack. Let me take you through how the season usually has gone.

Seriously, why are we out here?

It’s April and it’s spring which means this time of year goes through ridiculous mood changes. One day sun and the sweet horizon of summer. One day later we’re living in the tundras of northern Canada.

That’s generally where the first game of the season comes along, which in the past was Southland softball. Almost every year I’ve started with softball and it’s always been a hurricane on the edge of a snowstorm.

Wind is a fact of spring life in Minnesota.

There is very little you can do without having to compensate for the bluster of the season. Rarely is that punctuated more than that first home softball game in Southland.

Your first sign that you’re in for an experience is the clouds. Dark, gray, low-hanging: They speak of misery, weaving a tale that would just as easily put you in Lord of the Rings somewhere.

Next up is the breeze — no — let’s call it what it is. Gale-forced equals that blow roughly about 500 miles per hour right in your face if you are in the crowd, an unlucky photographer or catcher and umpire.

And despite what the temperatures might say, the wind bites through the slim coat you were wearing because you are a stupid photographer who didn’t learn his lessons from the years before.

Then the teasing begins

A lot of times I’ve followed up this joyful weather experience by venturing north to Hayfield. Sometimes this has happened just a couple days after my visit to the arctic so you would expect a lot of the same, but no. You would be wrong.

I remember one year it was literally just two days removed and I wasn’t wearing a coat and a lot of people are wearing short-sleeves and shorts.

It leads me to looking around and wondering if I’ve jumped forward in time a couple months. The sun beats down on those at the park in Hayfield as it sets in the west and the breeze — if any — is nice and gentle.

And it leads a person to think, “Finally! Spring is here for good.” Well, once again you would be wrong.


Why do I always have to face north?

After several days of mildly serviceable weather, you might not be faulted to think you are well on your way to that awesome summer tan.

Austin softball hosts a small two-day tourney at Todd Park each year and really, by all accounts it should be nice on those days.

But now there is a nexus of weather you have to be prepared for: A chance of both thunderstorms and/or late fall conditions that makes it feel like I should be covering football more than softball.

The wind of course is present — it’s always there and it never goes away. Generally the first day isn’t bad and really that’s the day the storm usually manifest themselves, but a lot of times the frigid, biting cold returns for the second day — blowing in the face of the aforementioned above in Southland — your fans, teams, catchers, umpires, stupid photographers who think this year might be the year of a nice two days.

Oh, and did I mention the sandpapering there sometimes is, whipped up by the hurricane forces because it isn’t a spring event without the added joy of getting deep tissue massage from 100 mph grains of sand.

So now what?

I haven’t experienced any of that this year yet and you, as the reader, might be given to think, “Huh, does he complain about everything?” Well, yes, but this is different because my rhythm has now been upset so now I don’t know what to expect and by the time I get this all figured out I will then have to cope with the other problem of spring.

Head-melting humidity. Thank-YOU state track.