Magazine article The New Yorker

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Magazine article The New Yorker

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In April, Craig Finn, the lead singer and lyricist of the Hold Steady, paid up for the regular-season baseball package on cable, to watch his home-town Minnesota Twins. Finn lives in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, but grew up in Edina, a suburb of Minneapolis. By July, though, it was clear that the Twins weren't going anywhere, and so he gave himself over to his adopted home-town team, the Mets. This isn't treason, because (1) the Mets and the Twins are in different leagues, and (2) the Mets are the Mets.

Finn was watching on TV the night that Wilmer Flores, the young Mets shortstop, cried on the field, after hearing that he'd been traded. Then the trade fell through. Flores stayed, and, two days later, hit a walk-off home run in the bottom of the twelfth--a galvanizing moment. Finn was at Citifield that night. "But, truth be told, I left early--after the tenth," he said last week. "So I missed it."

A few weeks later, Finn was in the stands again, behind home plate, watching Matt Harvey, one of the Mets' young aces, pitch against the Colorado Rockies. "A couple of years ago, I went to a game in Minnesota: Twins-Mets," he said. He had to shout a bit to be heard above the music in the stands, so his talking voice began to sound more like his singing voice. "It was thirty-four degrees, and snowing. Harvey was pitching and took a no-hitter into the seventh, but we were all so cold we didn't realize it, and left and went to a bar across the street. We saw on the TV there what was going on and tried to get back in, but they wouldn't let us."

Bad salsa blared from the stadium speakers. Finn looked up at one. "This isn't sustainable for me," he said. The stands out toward left field were empty and quiet-looking, and so after a couple of scoreless innings he headed that way. "I used to do the music for the Twins games," he said. "When guys came up from the minors and had no signature tune, I got to play Hold Steady songs."

Finn had on black jeans, a blue-gray short-sleeved button-down, a Twin Cities ball cap, and the glasses that sometimes get him compared to Peter Sellers. He was drinking a Bud Light but turned down a hot dog. "Every time I can go to a place like this and not eat, I consider it a win," he said. He first got to know New York when he was at Boston College, twenty-five years ago. …

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