A season over the air

Baseball season starts today. For Twins fans, at least. And while television brings us most of the games, I’m still stuck on getting my baseball the old fashioned way. The way I learned when first rediscovering the Twins after several seasons of indifference. By radio.

To me, Twins season means toting my portable radio around, tuned to 1140 KSOO, bringing Dan Gladden and John Gordon around with me, lamenting the loss of the great Herb Carneal, pouring over every statistic in an old folksy way and learning names before faces, wondering later at how oddly they seemed to be spelled.

I used to listen to the Twins while working at the Parks Department in St. Cloud. I’d sit back in the shelter with the radio tuned to the day’s game, soaking in the stats, reacquiring the taste I once had as an errant Cardinals fan, the sun of someone else’s reception or event warming their heads, the sound of sport warming mine.

In past years, I’ve listened to the Twins while digging gardens, planting flowers and laying stone borders. I’ve listened to the them while cutting sod and cleaning the garage, while rewiring light switches and organizing our basement, during grill-out parties and while completely by myself.

It’s the smell of dirt and mown grass and dust and sunflower seeds, as if a little portion of the game itself was being wafted through the speakers toward me. Hard work. Leisurely rest. A glass of water or a bottle of cold beer.

What’s great about baseball on the radio is that no matter how long the season gets, you never have to stop doing what you’re doing to catch a game.

How much is a nostalgic longing for times? Times I was never old enough to experience? And how much is an actual dedication to great baseball on the radio is?

I’ll never know. Maybe it’s a little bit of old soul that’s been stuck in me. But give me the crackle of the radio any day.

This was lovingly handwritten on March 31st, 2008