It's been years since I've been to a baseball game of any kind. I think the last time was a Milroy Yankees game. Kids were collecting foul balls for a quarter apiece, food was there, it was a good time.
I'm just not that into baseball unfortunately (which will probably disappoint my former editor). But I do know some of the terms and movements, like when a player is about to bunt or is beaned by a ball and gets to take a base. But to turn down an opportunity to see it live - not a chance.
So that brings me to Monday night. Ross' barbershop chorus was singing the national anthem at the Willmar Stingers game. The Stingers were up against the Rochester Honkers (yes, that's right, the Honkers). The Northwoods League has some interesting team names - Wisconsin Woodchucks, Mankato MoonDogs, La Crosse Loggers. But the Northwoods is a summer baseball league made up of teams of the top college players from around the country. It was just surprising that some play in Minnesota.
It was also Arts in the Park night as well, hence the reason why the chorus was singing. The Willmar Area Arts Council was giving away prints of a baseball scene that a local artist, Violet Dauk, created, plus it was showing some art and doing a raffle.
That sense of excitement of a game was definitely there - especially as the home team was announced. The snippets of music during breaks in the game. The action on the sideline between innings (there seemed to be a contest of some sort during that downtime, from musical chairs against the Stingers' mascot, a bear of all things, to seeing how many times contestants could bob their heads in a certain amount of time). Sure the players may be going to college in Alabama or Kentucky, but for the summer, Willmar claims them. Then came the game itself, which was a bit of a no-scoring battle. One side up, one side down.
It wasn't until the fifth inning when the Stingers got a couple of singles to put men on base. Then another player hit a double letting a couple score. Then the Stingers got two more runs in the sixth. Rochester added a couple in the seventh. But after the seventh inning stretch and a rendition of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame," Ross and I left. We still had to get home, and I was getting "bleacher butt" from the grooved metal bleachers.
So on the 12th, I get to see the Minnesota Twins in action against the Tampa Bay Rays. This will be my first time at Target Field. And again, this trek to a ballgame involved a barbershop chorus. Barbershop chorus members from around the state are coming together to sing the national anthem at the Twins/Rays game.