Baseball Acts as a Balm for a Summer of Contention

By Fedor, Liz | MinnPost.com, August 28, 2019 | Go to article overview

Baseball Acts as a Balm for a Summer of Contention


Fedor, Liz, MinnPost.com


In a summer of unceasing political divisions, baseball is serving as a welcome respite from the latest ugly salvos in news reports and on social media.

Baseball is not a magic elixir that we can drink to transport us to some alternative reality. But when you sit outside in a baseball park with friends or family members, you can’t help but enjoy watching talented athletes and chatting about what’s going on in people’s lives.

Unlike football or basketball, there isn’t a time clock in baseball, which is precisely why there’s time for people to have good conversations at baseball games. While many use their phones to take photos at the ballpark, most fans in attendance are not constantly looking down at their phones.

The elusive sense of community that so many people are hungering for is present at baseball games, where people from all walks of life congregate, local citizens throw out first pitches and fans cheer for their community’s team.

Before the snow flies, we can still watch the Minnesota Twins and St. Paul Saints, who are both in races to win their divisions. The Twins are battling to best Cleveland in the American League’s Central Division. Meanwhile, the Saints are locked in a three-way contest with Fargo and Chicago to secure two playoff berths.

Great escape valve

On Aug. 5, I was at Target Field when Miguel Sano slammed a pinch-hit home run 443-feet to give the Twins a walk-off win against Atlanta. In that moment, nobody in the ballpark was thinking about politics, projects at work or their to-do lists at home. They were thrilled by the high drama finish and exhilarated that the Twins found a way to win.

At CHS Field in St. Paul, hard-core baseball fans want the Saints to win an American Association title. Yet the Saints, a minor league team, also offer families of all incomes access to a baseball experience. Tickets to Saints games are affordable, so you’ll see lots of families with young children enjoying the games. Many of them are making summer memories and may be less concerned with league titles.

This year, the Saints opened the City of Baseball Museum, which chronicles the rich baseball history of St. Paul. Built at a price-tag of $2 million, fans can tour the well-curated artifacts and exhibits for free.

Winning against the odds

One of the inspiring aspects of baseball is that players from any race, country and economic background can succeed on the baseball diamond. Perhaps the best example of that reality is Mariano Rivera, who was unanimously inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame this year. The phenomenal New York Yankees pitcher reached the Major Leagues after growing up in Panama, where he and his friends played without decent baseball equipment.

Still Rivera’s talent and work ethic catapulted him to the top.

Baseball is a game of first, second and third chances, and the playing field functions as a meritocracy. That point was hit home in July when the Saints hosted a luncheon in advance of the league’s All-Star Game at CHS Field. …

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