HJ-ED-DHJHerald Journal Columns
April 9, 2007

Attending the home opener

By Aaron Schultz

The 2007 Major League Baseball season kicked off with one game April 1 – the New York Mets vs. the St. Louis Cardinals.

The rest of Major League Baseball (except the Padres and Giants, which opened up Tuesday). opened up its season Monday.

This included my, and your, favorite team – the Minnesota Twins.

The Twins opened the season at home against the Baltimore Orioles, and I was there.

I had a nice stretch going at one point in my life of making something like six or seven straight home openers.

Well, that streak ended last year when I believe I had a high school game to coach, so I couldn’t make it.

This year, I made it back, and there is nothing like the atmosphere at a home opener for baseball.

Granted, it was in the Metrodome, which sucks, but it still was a blast.

A friend of mine landed some pretty sweet seats – fourth row behind the Twins’ dugout, and four of us went.

The trip got off to a rough start as I got going a little late from baseball practice.

Once I got on the road, and picked up my friends, we ran into some horrible traffic, which was expected.

However, in all of my years driving down to Twins’ games, I never remember it being this bad before.

Despite the bad traffic, and the late start, we made it well before game time.

Once through the gates, we made our way to our seats, getting stranded in the aisle as the national anthem was sung.

During the national anthem, the Minnesota National Guard spread out a huge American flag in the outfield.

This flag is so big it makes the one Millerbernds flies on their flagpole look small.

This was officially when I started getting excited for the baseball season.

Alright, I am always excited for baseball to begin, but this was the first time I really started getting pumped up for the Twins.

After the anthem was sung, we made our way to our seats, and boy, were they good seats – at least for the Metrodome.

See, at the Metrodome, while we were close to the action, we had to turn in our seats to see home plate.

If we looked straight ahead, we would have been staring into right field.

Nope, not going to get into a long-winded speech of why I hate the Metrodome.

The new stadium is on its way, and in just a few short years, I’ll bid good riddance to the Dome for good.

Getting back to the Twins’ opener, with the best pitcher in baseball (Johan Santana) on the mound for the home squad, things were looking up before the game even started.

Once the first pitch was thrown, I was into the game from beginning to end in a jam packed Dome.

From when I sat down at the beginning of the game, until the final out was recorded, I didn’t leave my seat once. Pretty impressive bladder control, don’t you think?

Sure, I had to go to the restroom at one point during the game, but I didn’t want to miss any of the action. That, along with the fact I wasn’t looking forward to walking up the 30 or so steps in the flight of stairs more than I had to, all contributed to me never leaving my seat.

Of course, I did stand and applaud a few times, including when Morneau and Hunter hit back-to-back home runs.

Just so you know, I called Morneau’s home run. I really did, right before he walked to the plate. One-for-one on calls, not bad.

The one time I didn’t stand up, but should have, was when Hunter threw a ball into the stands after an inning.

Sitting next to Neil Schlagel, I was the only one in our area who didn’t stand up, and thus lost my chance to grab that game ball.

Where did it end up? Right in the hands of Neil. Dang, that ball should have been mine.

Still, other than the horrible wave going on through the stands, it was a pretty good night.

Add to that a Twins’ win, and it just doesn’t get much better.