Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Day Twenty-one--and the Million Dollar Baseball Card

"Baseball as America" is the new exhibit at the Minnesota Historical Society Museum, and Mr. Sweetie and I went to the preview opening last night. We gave Dadster two tickets for his birthday present, and so he, JoMama, SueFunky and her FIL were there too.

I like baseball. I have learned to understand many of its charms through the graceful tutelage of Mr. Sweetie. I enjoy going to see the games, and I always wait until my team is batting to go to the bathroom, because it's more fun to watch them play defense. This, according to Mr. Sweetie, marks me as a "real" fan.

However, I have to admit that my love of baseball is of very recent vintage, and so I have almost no way of viscerally connecting to the older players and the mementos of the past. I don't have the "I remember when" thing going for most of this stuff, because all these people were already famous before I came to the sport.

Which is really a pity for me, but then it meant that I got to see the joy in Dadster and Mr. Sweetie's eyes when they told me they "shook hands with Tony Oliva!" Or as Dadster saw an original ticket window from Comiskey Park. The Honus Wagner card, pictured above, was in its own eight foot tall display case. The card itself is smaller than you'd expect--not like a regular baseball card, but more of a business card size. I think it really is worth a million dollars.

There was a display of great local sports photography. The site that is now the Mall of America, Ikea, and a whole lot of pavement was nothing but farm fields in 1955 when they broke ground for the old Metropolitan Stadium. By 1966--there was still nothing, as evidenced by a great photo of a farmer on his tractor, with the stadium in the far background.

There was a terrific photo of Kirby Puckett leaping above the glass in left field, robbing the Braves of a home run in Game 6 of the 1991 World Series. Mr. Sweetie and I were there. We were just outside the frame of the picture, even--our seats actually were perfectly placed to see the two most dramatic moments of that game: Puckett's catch, and then his home run which crossed the fence almost where he'd made that spectacular catch.

(This is not the exact photo--But it is Kirby stealing another home run.)

Mr. Sweetie was talking about that moment, and another man, slightly younger, turned and said breathlessly "You were there?" Yes. Yes we were. And then the Twins actually won the series on Mr. Sweetie's birthday.

There was a buffet for the event. Yup, you guessed it. Hot dogs. With all the ballpark condiments: catsup, mustard, diced onions and pickle relish. Even ice cream in little tubs. But no wooden spoons.

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