by Randy Ooney
My Nickel’s Worth by Randy Ooney
Let’s Play Two
The famous line attributed to Ernie Banks who toiled for many years for the Chicago Cubs. There was a time in baseball when there were frequently scheduled double headers, usually on Sundays, where one ticket allowed you to see two games. These deals were a win win situation. The fan got to see two games for the price of one. However a normal gate in the 60’s and 70’s around here was maybe 12,000 - 15,000 customers. But a double header might draw as many as 30,000 fans and sitting through 5-6 hours of America’s pastime usually brought the wallet out more than once to quench a thirst or satisfy a pang of hunger.
But as Bob Dylan once wrote, “The times, they are a’changin’.” Now there are never any scheduled double headers, and even when there’s a rainout, teams scramble for a mutual open date. Even if they need to play two games on the same day, you will need two tickets to see both games. The weather was very accommodating to our Twins last year, but not so much this year. The groundhog must have seen two shadows and foretold twelve more weeks of winter. But both teams have to play in the same conditions, but the Twins evidently were spoiled in the dome for too long. The start of this season has been a mess. I can understand the players getting sick. I only watch the games on TV and they make me sick. But the lack of quality in their play is really ugly. Bill Smith needs to shoulder some of the blame. First, we had decent back up catchers in Jose Morales and Wilson Ramos, both of whom were let go to other teams because we had America’s commercial, Joe Mauer.
Joe - “Are you making fun of me??” Yes, and you can’t sing either.
And right now, Jason Bartlett is doing his job with San Diego, Orlando Cabrera is helping Cleveland on their first place drive, while our shortstop is making my good friend Horsey wishing we had Nick Punto back. Speaking of Nicky, he had a two run triple to help the Cardinals win a game last week. It’s time to get number 1 pick Trevor Plouffe into a Twins uniform.
So I guess we can retire the words of Mr. Cub and forget about playing two. But can’t you guys at least play one? And a final note - this regarding minor league baseball. Most of you have heard of the Toledo Mud Hens, a former Twins farm team made more famous by Corporal Klinger in M*A*S*H, when he wore the Texas Rangers hat and tried to fool us that the “T” stood for Toledo. Then there is Texas Christian’s nickname, the Horned Frogs. But in the International AAA baseball league this year there is a team from Lehigh Valley. Their Nickname is the Iron Pigs. Now there’s an incentive to make it to the show. What’s next? The Gulf Coast Oil Spills?