Trial Balloon

spring: a season of hope, success and dreams

Posted at 6:00 AM on April 9, 2010 by Radio Heartlander (35 Comments)
Filed under: Guest Bloggers

from the desk of the heartlanders
guest blogger - tim

Radio Heartland has tickets to give away to a concert by Loudon Wainwright and Richard Thompson at the Fitzgerald Theater in downtown St. Paul on Wednesday, April 14th. Entries will be accepted until 1 pm today, and winners notified this afternoon by e-mail.

Enter the drawing.
Obey the rules.
Good luck!


i was 6 when the washington senators moved to bloomington minnesota and became the minnesota twins in 1961. it was the perfect time to be a kid in the universe. the burbs were a place where baseball games sprung up like dandelions and the big kids taught the little kids to catch, throw and hit before the dads got around to messing with them in little league.

i remember bernie allen, zoilo versallas, rich rollins, harmon killebrew, bob allison, earl batty, lenny green, don mincher, billy martin, cesar tovar, tony oliva, camilo pascual, lee stange, jack kralick, jim kaat, mudcat grant, bob lemon, jimmy hall, sandy valdespino, cookie lavagetto, sam mele, bubble blowing first baseman vic powers who was a great first baseman and a good ball player but had a showboat side which never been seen in these parts before. i would follow the games on the radio with my best friend ray dewberry and we would draw the runners in the dirt with sticks while listening and playing rummy in the backyard of the split level suburban postage stamps we called our turf, while halsey hall, herb carneal and ray scott painted pictures for us on 50,000 watt wcco over those little made in japan transistor radios that were in our ears, hanging from the handlebars of our bicycles or sat on the picnic table during those summer card games and were so special in early 60's.

this baseball season marks the 3rd phase of the minnesota twins. we move into the outdoor stadium that will be their new home for the next bunch of years after an eyeblink in the metrodome where 25 years ago they moved in with a concrete floor and indoor outdoor carpeting that would send a ball bouncing like a piece of flubber and made for an interesting variation of the game we all knew and loved.

before the metrodome the twins played in the metropolitan stadium. the met was the epitome of the" if you build it they will come" stadium. built in a corn field in the growing metropolis of bloomington mn population 13,000. the twins came to fulfill my every dream at age 6. there could have been no greater gift on earth than having the boys of summer move into my life and accompany me through the 60's 70's and on into my adult life. when they played the radio would give us the play by play with halsey hall and hamm's "from the land of sky blue waters" . when the visiting team came to town it was mickey mantle and roger marris, carl yastrzemski and ted williams, frank robinson, brooks robinson, boog powell, clete boyer, al kaline, rocky colavito, norm cash, yogi bera, moose skowron, whitey ford and denny mc lain, world series against sandy koufax and don drysdale. names I knew from my baseball cards, I was in heaven.

then the twins took a turn for the worse. we had a team that was an embarrassment. there would be 500 people in the stands for the final games of the season to watch the likes of bombo rivera, lyman bostock, and butch wynager. rod carew left to finish his career with the angels and no one even blamed him. then the twins moved into the dome in the spring of 1982 and in came kirby pucket, kent hrbek, frank viola, greg gagne, gary gaetti, gene larkin and tom brunanski, we had some great seasons of hope, success and dreams. then they announced the deal that brings us target field where we will hang our hat until I am done watching them. a monument to the greatest game ever devised and to the city that the visiting dignitaries can finally see while they are here, not on the cab ride over to the event but during the entire event. out in the elements once again in the wind and sun and rain, deal with the universe you are in head on rather than climbing into the prophylactic womb of the sterile concrete teflon and astroturf we have called home sanctuary for the last 25 years .

i am ready to celebrate the newfound freedom of the out of doors, to believe that the ensemble called the 2010 twins are here to do their best is showing us how baseball and life is supposed to be played. they have their head on straight and they will do us proud.

george carlin did a routine on the terminology in baseball vs football and why baseball is america's game.

take me out to the ball game take me out to the show buy me some peanuts and crackerjack i don't care if i never get back cause its root root root for the home team if they don't win it's a shame cause its one, two three strikes you're out in the old ball game.

what are you rooting for in the spring of 2010?


Comments (35)

Tim - fabulous entry today. I'm not a baseball fan, but completely understand the passion that leads others down that path.

Gosh, I'm really rooting for some more economic stability in 2010, more work for people (I work in the travel industry and it's been brutal). And I would really like some more stability in the middle east and for our troops to come home safely. Guess the only thing left is peace on earth! As long as I'm asking for the world, I might as well root for a not-too-surly teenager!

Despite being a non-baseball fan, I was in the stands when Kirby Puckett hit his first grand-slam. Had taken two clients and when KP hit the run, the stadium went absolutely wild. I turned to the clients and said "why is everyone so nuts?" Client said "it's his first grand slam". Fool that I am, I said "what's a grand slam?" Only one of my several embarrassing but funny sports faux pas stories!

Posted by sherrilee | April 9, 2010 6:17 AM


Tim, thanks for a perfect capsule of the Twins in Minnesota. I remember the first time that Kirby led the Twins to the World Series. The Day care center brought in a TV. The staff worried that there was something wrong with my 20 month old who had just arrived from the orphanage and didn't want to watch the game. He grew to love the Twins especially #34. I gave up trying to convince him that he ( a small disabled Korean) did not look like Kirby.

This spring I am rooting for the Twins and for my son to finally pass enough classes to leave the cellar of the University league and graduate into the post-season.

Play Ball, Heartlanders!

Posted by Beth-Ann | April 9, 2010 6:19 AM


Greetings! Nice blog, Tim. Absolutely love George Carlin's bit. I'm not a Twins fan, nor is my husband or my sons. We just aren't interested in watching sports, so I have nothing to say on this topic. Plus, I grew up in Green Bay, WI during the Lombardi years, so I'm more sentimental about football. Although I do remember being there for the parade after the Twins won the Series. I worked at Pillsbury and the parade went right by the building in downtown Mpls -- so it was fun to be excused from work for the afternoon.

Posted by Joanne in Big Lake | April 9, 2010 6:27 AM


excellent, Tim! wow, you really took me back to those early days. such a vivid description and you can remember all of those names!
my Mom was (is) a huge fan and and at 90 she is still and again rooting for the Twins.
i didn't inherit that zeal for baseball (one benefit of the radio is you cannot see all the spitting :-)
but i wish them well for Mom's sake. she doesn't like Derek Jeeter (i think he's cute) but when you talk about Vic Powers and the commotion over his showboating it reminds me of that time and how the game was central, the salaries were more reasonable and SNL wasn't trying to get the players to host.
thanks so much for you lovely piece of writing, Tim;
happy friday to All
and happy birthday tea party to Clyde's wife!

Posted by barb in Blackhoof | April 9, 2010 6:31 AM


Great memories, Tim!

I arrived in Minnesota about when the former Washington Senators did, and I think the move rejuvenated both of us. I had never had a team to root for, but it was easy to adopt the Twins as I listened to Halsey Hall do his inimitable commentary while filling the booth with rancid cigar smoke.

I've cheered the Twins for decades, rarely going to ball games, especially in the awful Metrodome days. My mother and I saw Jim Kaat throw a lovely five-hit game once in the year the Twins fought the Dodgers in the World Series.

The old teams seemed to have more characters. Does anyone remember Junior Ortiz (who referred to himself in the third person?). Some of his quotes were hysterical.

I'll root for this team again and was up past midnight last night enjoying the thrashing of the Angels. I worry that we need one more stopper pitcher to go all the way.

I'd be for digging up old Camilo Pascual. He's been dead quite a while and has probably lost a little on his fast ball, but he had the "most feared curve" in baseball. I think he could win some games from this hard-hitting team!

Posted by Steve in Saint Paul | April 9, 2010 7:01 AM


thanks sherrilee, funny recollection, beth ann i will root for your son this spring, joanne.., cheesehead and barb. the radio really does make you see it differently. i enjoy the mornings and the rh gang. its fun to hear the replies,

Posted by tim | April 9, 2010 7:01 AM


i had completely forgotten junior ortiz and his richard nixon imitation. thanks steve.
its not right to have the opening series start at 9pm. the kids don't stand a chance of staying up on a school night. but here they come back home next week. should be something.

Posted by tim | April 9, 2010 7:16 AM


I'm a little late in posting, since I rode my bike to work today.

Nice blog entry and very pertinent to the season! I passed baseball fields, where girls were suited up in their baseball uniforms, last night on my run.

I'll be rooting for Meb Keflezighi when the Boston Marathon rolls around. His story is very inspirational, and it would be nice to see an American win!

Posted by elinor | April 9, 2010 7:29 AM


Terrific commentary Tim! I love Twins baseball and will post some nostalgia on that subject later on when I have more time. Right now I'm really excited about two things your entry revealed. You USED SPELL CHECKER and I'm only ONE year older than you, Dude!

Posted by Donna | April 9, 2010 7:35 AM


My first games with the Twins were at Met Stadium on "knot hole days" (remember those?). Then I worked for a summer at the Metrodome - baseball was not the same there, and in fact the smell of stale hot dogs kinda put me off the game altogether. I tried hard to like it when I dated a guy I quite liked who loved the game - but I just couldn't muster the enthusiasm. Will have to try it outdoors again.

I'm not rooting for anyone in particular this year - unless you count rooting for the neighborhood kids to have a fun, unstructured summer with pickup games and traveling in packs (whether or not there are transistor radios involved).

Posted by Anna | April 9, 2010 7:40 AM


Ah, tim, thi is so in my wheelhouse . . .
I have to take the time to make one or two posts. I must have all of the business done by about 10:30, and it is a week of busy details, and get over to Old Main to help my duaghter.
tim, I grew up a Braves fan. Just checked--can still do the Braves starting lineup for the two "Pine League" teams against the Yankees, and most of the bench. Was a little hard to switch but the Braves had pretty much sold off their team by then.
Great list of names. Several of my ex-students and I just played that name game on facebook about two months ago.
We knew my mother was losing it when she lost interest in the Twins. She had a baseball signed to her by Tony Olica and Harmon Killebrew done in the 90's. She taught me how to card a game. When she no longer remembered she was a baseball fan, she was gone.
Don't think you named Dick Stigman, whose father and my father went off to WWII together.
My son would tell people in CA after he moved out there that he was downtown Mpls. after the 91 win. They don't believe him. They say it's like Woodstock. Nor do they believe how calm it was and how he spent some of the time talking with the cops after they could relax.

Posted by Cly de Twin | April 9, 2010 7:41 AM


Great topic Tim! And sorry, but my weekend is packed to brim. :(
I'm rooting for Spring to arrive here in the UP (we go 6-8 inches of snow yesterday) and for the Red Wings to win the Stanley Cup. I'm not the biggest baseball fan. I'll check the scores of the Twins' and Tigers' games, but I'll usually only watch them if I'm at the game. Two of my favorite baseball memories are from being at the stadium. My first was when my high school band went on a trip to New England. One afternoon we went to Fenway to watch the Red Sox play the Tigers. We had awful seats, but the atmosphere was amazing :) I got to watch my team beat the home team. It was great! My second is when a bunch of my girlfriends and I went to the Dome to watch the Twins/Tigers game. I was rooting for both teams, hahaha. The Twins won, but it was so much fun being with my friends at the game. I'll never forget those two days :)

Posted by Alanna in MI | April 9, 2010 7:43 AM


Dale, bet you don't have "Put Me in Coach" by CCR.
tim, who I'm rooting for is a silly question. Will we keep being a power team as in the first four games?

Posted by Clyde | April 9, 2010 7:44 AM


Dale - I was just typing my request for "You Gotta Have Heart" -- and here it is! For all the "contenders" out there -- best wishes to all the players out there!

Posted by Joanne in Big Lake | April 9, 2010 7:45 AM


Good Morning Fans or Non-Fans,

Tim, I think you have done a very good job of telling us about your interest in the Twins which I share, although I was a fan of a different team when I was young.

I grew up being a fan of all kinds sports and was a Tigers fan. I have been a Twins fan since moving to Minnesota. One of the first years we lived here we went to see the Twins during their last season at the Metropolitan stadium. I'm the only one in my family who is crazy about sports, but the rest of the family does enjoy going to a Twins game once in a while.

I have been cutting back on being so preoccuppied with sports, but still can't resist following the Twins and the Timber Wolves. I especially like to see the box scores so that I can see how each player preformed. Since I am the only big sports fan at my house, I some times don't turn on the games, but now I can always get the box scores over the internet.

Posted by Jim | April 9, 2010 7:46 AM


Golly -- am I that predictable? Or is Dale just a genius psychic that he knew that was the song to play for the day?

Posted by Joanne in Big Lake | April 9, 2010 7:49 AM


thanks for the baseball medely dale great stuff.
dick stigman was a fav. great lefty and great haircut on the baseball card. warren span was something.
i am traveling today with the aircard so i will check in this afternoon.
you caught me i did use spell checker for the blog entry. it won't happen in real life bit i figured it was the least i could do as the rock star of the day
allanna enjoy the cities. i am ovr in green bay area and we got 5 inches of snow over here too. didn't slow things downa bit. a hearty lot these norskies and genmans.
see you all later

Posted by tim | April 9, 2010 7:53 AM


There's nothing that says "spring" to my ears more than birds and Twins baseball on the radio. I miss the days of Halsey Hall, Herb Carneal and Ray Scott. My dad listened in the car on the way to and from Spirit Lake/Okoboji when I was little. In 2005 I got to play music at the anniversary of the 1965 World Series Twins and got Harmon Killebrew, Tony Oliva, Jim "Mudcat" Grant, Rich Rollins and others to sign my snare drum head. It's now enshrined in my basement.

I can't wait to go to a game at the new stadium!

Thanks for the memories, Tim. Go Twins!

Posted by Mike Pengra | April 9, 2010 7:58 AM


I have always been a Twins fan, and most folks out her in western ND are as well. My mom was never that interested in baseball when she was younger, but now, at 87, takes a keen interest in the Twins and watches their games on TV when ever she can. She probably knows more bout the game now than I do. My father, at 89, has finally decided to stop umpiring high school baseball. He has one tournament this May, and then he says that's it, unless a substitute is needed sometime, and then he'll fill in if he is free.

Posted by Renee | April 9, 2010 8:07 AM


Very nice Tim!
Thanks for the posting....

Enjoy the day everyone, if you want, rain or snow or shine!

Posted by Ben | April 9, 2010 8:29 AM


I've been to a few games, but have mostly been a radio fan. I like having someone explain to me what's happening. My favorite Twins era was when they had Blyleven, Gaetti, and Lombardozzi on the team all at the same time. I just loved to hear those names roll off the announcers' tongues.

Posted by Linda in St. Paul (West Side) | April 9, 2010 8:35 AM


Tim, what a great evocation of an era. Even I remember carrying around the transistor radio, and just the freedom to be out and about...

I don't have much experience with baseball, but we have a pic of my 9-year-old with Kirby signing a ball for him. I am rooting for being able to get a ticket to a Twins game when my nephew is here for a visit this summer -- wonder what the odds are.

Looking forward to watching G.Carlin when I'm back home.. also Aaron's Oasis piece looks interesting; no time here. Happy Weekend, all.

Posted by Barbara temporarily in Iowa | April 9, 2010 8:43 AM


Hi Dale,

I am just loving all the Richard Thompson & Loudan Wainright you've been playing the past couple of days...thank you, thank you, thank you!

Posted by Kate in Eden Prairie | April 9, 2010 8:45 AM


tim--Jose Valdevielso, one of the great Twins names and baseball names. Great leather, no lumber.

Posted by Clyde | April 9, 2010 8:53 AM


I left Seattle, my home town, before a major league baseball team settled in for good, so the Twins have been my team since early adulthood. My husband grew up in the Upper Peninsula of Mich, and was therefore a Tigers fan, but had a twinkle in his eye for the Twins because in the UP you could hear WCCO and listen to the Twins games, but listening to the Tigers games was near to impossible.(I noticed you check on Twins and Tigers scores, too, Alanna) We had a problem when the Twins and the Tigers played each other for the honor of going to the World Series in the 1987 American League Championship Series. Solved it by wearing a Twins baseball shirt while rooting for the Tigers - diplomacy at its best? The Twins won the series : )

PS - I sure hope I remembered that correctly, Tim! Set me straight if I am wrong. Thanks for an great blog entry!

Posted by Teri in Zimmerman | April 9, 2010 8:57 AM


Ah, baseball memories.

I grew up in New York, so I don't have the Twins history of Tim and others. My Dad took me to my first game in 1961, the year Roger Maris set the new home run record with 61. We saw him hit numbers 51 and 52 that day, and I was hooked. Dad and I also saw Mark McGwire hit a home run the year he hit 70 (not knowing that he had "help"), and Dad also saw Babe Ruth hit a few, though Babe setting home run records was so commonplace that no one paid much attention to any particular year. My son was with us for the McGwire game, so we have a three generation string of watching home run records being set. We missed Barry Bonds, for which I am not particularly sorry.

I remember going to see the Yankees play the Twins in 1965. It was the first ever bat day promotion, and the stadium was sold out with 70,000 crazed New Yorkers with baseball bats. The Twins swept a doubleheader, marking the rise of the Twins and the long decline of my then-beloved Yankees.

I became disgusted with George Steinbrenner, and reacted in the most extreme way possible, becoming a Red Sox fan. (Moving to Boston helped.) I'm now a Minnesotan and a die-hard Twins fan, albeit one with a fickle history.

Posted by Don in West St. Paul | April 9, 2010 9:00 AM


Love reading everyone's comments today. Makes me realize I am looking forward to a game in the new stadium. I haven't seen the Twins in years but I do usually try to make it over to the St. Paul Saints at least once a year. I have to admit though, that I go for the fun and the outdoor game and the pig between innings and the karaoke guy, as much as for the baseball itself.

Posted by sherrilee | April 9, 2010 9:06 AM


Oh Tim! Thanks for the memories. Not a great baseball fan, but one of the sounds of my childhood was hearing the announcer for WCCO and the names Harmon Killibrew and Tony Oliva.

That said, I'm rooting for the Cubbies to pull it off this year (love Steve Goodman for his tribute(?) song). Lived in Chicago for a time and love that Wrigley Field.

Also rooting for my garden this year, especially the garlic and the apple tree, and that my new job works out for all concerned.

Finally, rooting for all the new goatlings!

Posted by catherine | April 9, 2010 9:17 AM


For sports I always root for one thing, to the point where I have made myself unpopular with some--that sports from pre-school to the pros would get inside reasonable bounds. IT's A GAME!!
NOBODY's WORTH THAT MONEY!! We should all give our kids the sports equipment, teach them how to play, create a make-do field on which to play, AND GET OUT OF IT. I'm sorry. I could go on for hours.
Outside of sports I root that I could go to the tea for my wife. Having just seen the menu, why did I make it women only?? Anyone that stupid should not criticize anything else.
OFF to hellp Good weekend, Dale, Mike, and all.

Posted by Clyde grouch de athletice | April 9, 2010 10:02 AM


Catherine - thanks for the rooting for the goatlings; i was just torturing myself looking at pictures of Alba's kids last year, trying to see any signs that i should be looking for this year of the selenium deficiency. had the WHOLE HERD out this morning - Dream,Alba, Dodger and all of the kids. the kids get along so well - they just run back and forth like madworts. the Girls, however, had to bang heads. it's their societal rules, i know, but i wish they would save their energy for making milk, not war. finally had to sequester Dodger and Dream in separate pens because they were tromping on the littles, who persisted in running in and out of the fray. Crema then tried to crawl into T and Nibby's loafing area, and uncle Niblet did not take kindly to that. did i say this goat-tending was relaxing???

happy weekend, everyone
and thanks, Tim for the good memories.

Posted by barb in Blackhoof | April 9, 2010 11:59 AM


thanks for the nice replies all. i will try to get to a respnse to the comments over the weekend. i keep erasing it or losing it before i hit the send button. my brain is toast for today. catch up next week.

Posted by tim | April 9, 2010 10:17 PM


thanks for the nice replies all. i will try to get to a respnse to the comments over the weekend. i keep erasing it or losing it before i hit the send button. my brain is toast for today. catch up next week.

Posted by tim | April 9, 2010 10:17 PM


don i love the yankees story. the maris days were the best. the ralph houck teams were wonderful. then to boston with yaz before here. welcome. you are a kindred spirit.
renee your dad thinking about givng up umping at 89 is great. no wonder north dakota has the longest life expectency in the country. we nodaks understand whats important in life.
linda, i am concerned blyleven, gaetti and lombardozzi do not roll off your tounge unless you are on your second bottle of wine. we are going to have to set a limit of 3 drinks during a game for you.

alanna and teri. detroit has been through a lot. they are fun to have in the division. i hope we whoop up on you all year long this year.
jose valdevaleso, i thought he was sandy valdespinos brother when i was a kid.
and clyde the money in baseball is a symptonm of the entitlenment americans feel in everything sports, banking, going to the holiday inn on vaction. me me me is an illness we need to deal with. the ugly american used to be a guy now it is a disease.
catherine the cubs are my other team. i try to get the gang out to wriggly at least one game a year. go zambrano.
kate yes loudan is the best i agree.
mike. when the twins have the playoff wrapped up i will have the first party at my house and we will have the second at yours where you can show us the drum head signed by the twins. i goota see it.

dale welcome back and i am looking forwar dto a great 2010 spring summer and then back around again. in the meantime good blogging happy weekend and see you at target field and the TRMOA next saturday.

Posted by tim | April 10, 2010 8:53 AM


Saturday greetings all,

When I finally had time to make another post yesterday, it was nighttime and by then the Twins were playing the White Sox and as you all know they beat them 4-3 in the 11th inning, and that would have been very silly to be writing about them instead of watching them, so the second posting I promised is hence delayed. End of story... almost, because I still need to deliver on the nostalgia and here it is: It was at a Twins game in the old Met stadium when I had my first hog dog with sauerkraut. Yummers!

Posted by Donna | April 10, 2010 12:03 PM


EXCUSE ME -- make that HOT dog!

Posted by Donna | April 10, 2010 12:10 PM


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