Domeward bound: the story of a 13-year-old at the World Series

Published 7:01 am Saturday, April 4, 2020

As we deal with the continuing effects of COVID-19 (really getting tired of typing that phrase), many of us have to come to a horrible realization — no baseball.

At the very onset I should admit that in previous years I’ve moved away from baseball. I knew enough to be dangerous, but that’s about all.

However, recently I’ve started to come back to the sport, mostly because I’ve become interested in the Twins and what they are starting to become. No doubt this is a bit of a surprise to some people and I am equally sure that ‘some people’ (alias Jason Baskin) may be skeptical of my renewed interest.

Maybe I’m a fair-weather fan, interested only in the Twins when they are winning. I guess I can’t say for a fact there isn’t some of that, but a person can change, right? Sure, I will never be a super fan with posters hanging in my house, but I still find I enjoy the act of sitting down with a beverage and watching a game.

But now I can’t do that for the time being and so I’ve turned to watching YouTube and clips of the Twins from past years, specifically the 1987 and 1991 World Series championship runs.

More specifically than that, I have been watching games from 1987’s game one, because I was there.

I was a lad of 13 seasons in the year 19 hundred and 87, worldly in my young age. I’m not entirely sure of the specifics of how we managed to get tickets, but from my in depth investigations that included calling dad Friday morning, it was a lottery system that my grandpa was part of.

Through our combined recollections, season ticket holders were first on the list, followed by these lottery winners and grandpa just happened to get tickets and thusly, I was headed to the World Series.

It was a blizzard of homer hankies and the Metrodome was louder than I ever remember. Right away it was a memory I would never forget, far better from another memory I will never forget of myself and childhood friend Dan Ruiter getting stuck in the second deck of the Dome previously  in my storied life. One of us had to go get my dad to prove we were on the first deck, a serious blow to our street cred.

In a world of things, that was the thingiest of things.

I was excited to be part of what would become the Twins first ever World Series title. This was a big deal, though muted in later years when I remember where we were sitting. Clear at the top of the second deck behind home plate about two rows from the top.

Every fly ball, when you could find it against the white roof and flurry of hankies, looked like a homerun. Players were ants so on and so forth.

Still, it was exciting. Frank Viola was on the mound, Minnesota’s star along with Bert Blyleven. In this fevered kid’s mind the win was guaranteed.

You just didn’t beat Frank, except in game four when the Cardinals beat Frank.

Moving on.

The game was tight through three and a half innings, with St. Lous holding a slim 1-0 lead. We were nervous, but there was still plenty of game left. This wasn’t a time for fans to back off now. Kirby Puckett needed me and I wasn’t going to let him down from my seat on top of the IDS Center. There was no doubt he heard me from such lofty heights between hits on my oxygen tank.

Then, in the bottom of the fourth, things started happening. The Twins batters began getting to St. Louis pitcher Joe Magrane. And then … Dan Gladden.

The bases were juiced when Gladden got the left field fan sections involved, blasting a grand slam off reliever Bob Forsch and capping a seven-run fourth.

I can’t tell you what it was like. It’s hard to put into words how the Dome exploded. Some background — the Dome could get loud, reaching 110 decibels, and yet somehow it seemed so much louder, leaving the ringing of victory in my ears.

It was surreal as we all jumped from our seats. So many years later, I get excited just thinking about it.

In the face of that, not having baseball for the time being seems so sullen. I understand when people say baseball is boring, but when it’s exciting, it’s really exciting. There are not many sports where having just two runners on base can create so many different possibilities.

If you want to see the moment, here’s the clip:

Meanwhile, I’m going to try and figure out how to get off the second deck.