Sunday, May 16, 2010

Saints and future Saints

Baseball season opened cold and rainy last week for our minor league St. Paul Saints. By Saturday, the weather turned fine and our family went out early to tailgate.

Not familiar with the term? We set up table and chairs behind the car (in the parking lot), with the tailgate open so we can reach inside for food and supplies. Abby brought fresh homemade bread and we made sandwiches with a variety of cold cuts and cheeses. Augie played catch with his dad, I strolled with each of the kids to watch the band, and friends stopped by to share a bite or say hello. Then we packed up and went in for the game. The kids stayed for an hour of the game itself, riveted to the action while Pa provided play-by-play commentary.

Some day I’ll write in exquisite (or tedious) detail about what the Saints experience has meant to us, but meanwhile let me just say it’s baseball played for love of the game, out of doors on long Minnesota summer evenings, with a hawk overhead and trains rumbling by just beyond the outfield fence. Now that we have three generations enjoying it, it’s three times the fun.

* * *

Last night after our kids left, I met the future 11-year-old Augie. And I was delighted by him.

Other than my four younger brothers, I never paid much attention to little boys and didn’t think I liked them much. Augie changed that; I am head over heels. At three, he’s got the little guy thing going, and it includes being incredibly tender and loving and sweet.

Last night, two boys sitting behind us were totally into the game, watching each play and surmising how their own team might have handled it. They talked about plays they had made, in a way that told me they were sizing up their own skills and wondering whether they had the potential to play for a team like the Saints some day. At one point one boy’s dad (seated discreetly in the next section) took both boys to buy Saints caps, and they were thrilled. They caught a bag of peanuts (tossed from the press box during the 7th inning stretch) and they were thrilled again.

Soon the PA system began to play Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline.” It always starts when somebody is coming to bat and fades out as the batter steps in. Often, the crowd keeps it going, and last night was one of those occasions. It’s a great song for the group sing-along, and newcomers always laugh (in fact, so do the “regulars”) when the song goes on and on, with or without PA accompaniment. The boys were delighted. They agreed that this was the most awesome day of their lives. (They had also met injured Twins closer Joe Nathan in the afternoon.)

It filled me with pleasure to hear them being so appreciative and so devoid of cynicism. I pulled two Saints practice balls from my bag (our friend the hitting coach brings balls to our grandkids every night). The boys were thrilled all over again, and they remembered to say thanks. They were beaming when they found us in the concourse after the game to show us that the bullpen pitchers had signed their balls.

These little boys looked a little impish, but listening to them, I was charmed. I hope they hang onto their sweetness and joy as they grow older, and I hope they love baseball forever. I’m pretty sure that Augie and Vi will, too.

P.S. I was going to write a special post about reaching the 100-post milestone, but it actually gave me a case of writer's block. So I'm noting it, but really, who needs a special post to say I love writing, reading, commenting, and responding to comments? You know I do!


Leah Rubin said...

Oh, you put a giant smile on my face, and I don't think even the evening news will be able to wipe it off!

We love our Cardinals here, and my kids are still huge baseball fans! Now my 3-year old grandson is learning to watch a little, too, though he's way out in Sacramento.

I was enthralled with your description of the boys behind you. I love the fact that they were respectful and open. How cool is that?

I love that you gave them baseballs, and that they were appreciative.

My son is a particular aficionado of minor-league baseball, and over the years he and I did some car trips just to see some of those teams play. It was always a good time. Always. And boy, do we have memories! That little boy is almost 29 now, and getting married next Sunday. He wanted, in lieu of a rehearsal dinner, to take their out-of-town guests to a baseball game. It's not turned out that way, mostly because of the logistics, but you see I raised him right!

Thanks for such an uplifting post.


Lo said... me some hope for the human race.

Emma said...

Congrats on post #100! Sounds like you had a fantastic weekend. This weather couldn't be better, and there's nothing more fun than seeing kids happy!

Pearl said...

So nice to know that there are people raising nice children.



DJan said...

Congratulations on Post #100. And of course everyone knows what tailgating is, how long has it been a verb? Good post!

Jeanie said...

I really loved this post. I also have a baseball loving family. My son-in-law is a former professional player, many years in triple A, but made it to "The Show" for a while before he retired. All 3 of my grandsons, 9, 6 and 4 are big baseball fans. I hope they retain the spirit of the boys you wrote about.

Tracie said...

Sounds like fun! I like tailgating as well or better than the actual game.

PS Congrats on your 100th post!

Kathy said...

Such a wonderful story. you've brightened my evening. :)

Elizabeth said...

Great post and Happy 100th!

Love the 3 generation memories. We too enjoy our 3rd generation sport but it's not's racing.

My hubby's dad and his friend had a stock car. When they passed,(they both died the same month and just days apart)his friend sons gave us apicture of that car.

When my hubby and I started dated, each weekend his family went off to the races. For my hubby's brother it was drag racing. Either I went or I was left behind.

My boys never really got into the racing but our daughter did. Not behind a car but in the stands. Now we take her son and daughter to the races and they love it.

Thanks for the memories.

Elizabeth said...

After rereading my comment I realized we are really on the 4th generation of racing. Senior moment!

Grandmother Mary said...

I enjoyed your post! It's so important to pass on our passions to the next and next generation. Expose them to lots and see what they love.

Far Side of Fifty said...

How wonderful that you connected on the baseball level to all different ages..especially the young men sitting behind you...I bet they are still talking about the game!
Congrats on your 100th post! :)

Jenny said...

Happy milestone! That is cool! I'm not a super big sports fan but this sounds like a wonderful experience. One that I'm sure will be a "forever" memory for all of you!

Everyday Kathy said...

It is time to introduce J to baseball!! Sorry my Dad isn't around to see it... he was the biggest fan of all!

Congrats on reaching 100 posts!

Kathy over at Everyday Bliss

Writing Without Periods! said...

What lovely thoughts. This post really made me smile. It's nice to know there are people like this

grammy said...

Great post
we never go to the Rockies games
well hardly ever
I loved watching my boys play baseball
and nieces fast pitch
I like to have people I know playing
I have an 11 year old Great Nephew that is pitching so we go see him once in awhile
so glad you gave the boys a baseball (o:

Midlife Roadtripper said...

I think this is a much better post than the 100th. Baseball - been so much of a part of our lives the past 25 years. I love our description of the park. What fun.

Ms Sparrow said...

No wonder they call baseball the American passtime. I really enjoyed hearing about your lovely summer evening at the Saints game.
May you have hundreds more!

Cheryl said...

This was a perfect 100th post capturing the spirit of your you-ness to a T.

Ellie Belen Ambrose said...

Loved your post. We have four boys in the family and some of my fondest memories are listening to their conversations. The banter, the camaraderie, the enthusiasm, the honesty, the jokes, the hilarious put downs, their joy of being together.

You brought it all back. Thanks.

Congratulations on your 100th Post.


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