Thursday afternoon was sunny and warm, the best weather I ever remember for Opening Day of the St. Paul Saints. I was able to wear my original "Opening Day" t-shirt from 1993 without having to cover it with a winter parka, rain jacket, or even a sweatshirt.
Over the years they have run the bases after Sunday games, watched batting practice, danced to the band, and carried balls out to the umpire. The chief umpire even invited Augie to help rub up the balls before a game. (You did know that they rub special mud on new baseballs, didn't you?) They love the playground, and sometimes they even like watching the game (especially Augie, who is trying to learn to keep score).
For the first 10 or 12 years, Peter and I were Saints fans who attended every home game, followed away games on the radio, and cared about wins and losses. We amused ourselves (and sometimes entertained others) with clever heckling of opposing players and coaches, or, rarely, an umpire.
Now when the kids go home we settle in next to one another and quietly enjoy the rhythm of the game. Baseball is mostly a mellow experience; some people dislike it for that very reason. But on a beautiful summer evening in Minnesota it's wonderful to sit outdoors and watch a game while keeping an eye on the sky for a soaring hawk and appreciating the changing colors of the late-setting sun. In fact, we're on our way right now. Batter up!