Photo by Mark Beasley

In the spirit of full disclosure, this space was to be filled with a story and pictures of the girls’ basketball game with Eden Valley-Watkins. The game was to be played Tuesday night, but Mother Nature wasted no time throwing a wrench into the winter sports schedule.

On a holiday week with the only game on the calendar postponed, the question became what to put in its place? 

Since last week was Thanksgiving week, I pondered what I was thankful for in regards to sports. I’ve always liked sports and as I got a little older I also took an interest in politics. When my parents and my siblings took out-of-town vacations, I enjoyed getting the local paper and seeing what was going on in that town’s sports scene. Then I’d head for the editorial pages. It was always interesting to read about what the locals were discussing in regards to regional or national subjects.

These days, sports is a wonderful escape from the 24/7 nature of political reporting. I take in my fair share of politics, but at a point it’s nice to take a break and watch a game and just forget about what president Trump did or didn’t do and root for one of my favorite teams.

Occasionally, politics will bleed into sports. A sports reporter on TV or some other media will interject their political opinions into their sports coverage. Now, I find that annoying! The same goes for athletes hijacking their platform to push a political agenda. Yes, I’m looking at you, Colin Kaepernick.

For the most part, though, a favorite team can keep a person occupied for months, like the Twins last summer or Vikings this fall and winter. Even the Gophers were shaking up the college football world for a time.

One thing I’ve always wanted to do, and thankfully did last summer, was to see my favorite baseball team, the New York Mets, in person. I’ve been a Mets fan since I was nine years old and I’ve stuck with them through thick and a lot of thin. If I had a bucket list, seeing the Mets would have been high on the list.

As far as bucket lists go, I would need Warren Buffet’s money to do it right, so I never gave it much more thought. 

In July the Mets were scheduled to play at Target Field. The dates looked promising, I could swing the time off work, especially the Wednesday afternoon game, played on the 17th. My son was able to wrangle us up a pair of tickets and we attended the game. I’m thankful I have a son that inherited my love of sports and has connections to get me in to all sorts of various sporting events, especially Twins baseball.

At that point in the season the Twins were playing well and in first place. The Mets were underachieving, eight games under .500 and in fourth place in their division. The Mets had beaten the Twins the night before and I was actually pulling for the Twins to get a split in the two-game series. I’ve grown quite fond of the Twins in the 21 years we’ve lived in Minnesota and they needed the win more than the Mets, in my estimation.

It was a tight game, tied 2-2 when a Mitch Garver home run in the bottom of the fifth put the Twins on top, 3-2. 

The Twins lead held up heading into the seventh inning when a three-run homer put the Mets ahead, 5-3. Then in the top of the eighth the game took a bizarre twist. 

Eddie Rosario inexplicably dropped a routine fly ball, opening up the flood gates to a six-run eighth inning and blowing the game wide open. Included in the six-run onslaught was an epic blast by the Mets rookie first baseman Pete Alonso, who launched a 474-foot home run into the third deck in left field. Alonso would go on to lead the major leagues in home runs with 53, setting a Mets team record in the process and also winning the home run derby at the All-Star game and being named National League Rookie of the Year.

New York scored three more runs in the ninth as the Twins resorted to using shortstop Ehire Adrianza to pitch the final inning. It would be the final twist in a wild 14-4 Mets win.

It was a crazy game and a memorable way to scratch an item off the bucket list I never made. 

As the Mets piled up the runs over the last three innings, more and more Twins fans headed for the exits. Pretty soon all that was left were Mets fans and I was surprised how many there were.

Once all the Twins fans had cleared out it was easy to spot a couple guys in our section that were actual New Yorkers. They were classic New Yorkers, accents and all. 

When the Twins were imploding in the eighth inning, one turned to the other and said loudly, “They’re playing like us!” 

Near the end of the game they unfurled a banner that said “The 7 Line Army.” Apparently they had their own rooting section of people using the 7 Line to get to the games in New York.

It was a beautiful, sunny afternoon and these guys were having a blast. They were more entertaining than the game at that point. 

My bucket list, if I had one, is now one entry lighter. I’m thankful for that. And you can thank last Tuesday’s winter storm for having to hear all about it!