Friday, May 16, 2014

First thought is not always the best thought.

I belong to the generation of people that cannot point to World War II or the Great Depression as a thing that made my childhood rough. Instead, the thing I can point out to children as being rough about my childhood is that people only got 3 or 4 channels on their TV.* These were ABC, CBS, NBC, and PBS. If I recall correctly, the only baseball we could watch was the Game of the Week on Saturday afternoon. Since it was often nice out when the game was airing, I did not watch it very much.

When cable TV first entered the picture, ESPN did not exist. However, a lot of cable providers picked up the independent Chicago station, WGN. Since it didn't have access to network programming, WGN broadcast a lot of reruns-Tarzan staring Ron Ely was a favorite of mine-and also broadcast Cubs baseball. It was watching Cubs games that I first observed fans throwing home runs hit by the opposing team back on the field. According to this, this behavior began in the late 1960s. Once cable TV stations like WGN, TBS, and ESPN began showing a lot of baseball games, people in other towns became aware of this "tradition" and now one sees home runs hit by the visiting team thrown back on the field in a number of cities.  I've always thought this "tradition" was extremely idiotic because I suspect that within a few feet of whomever caught the ball is someone whose day would be made if they got to keep the ball. Assuming that is the case, why not do a random act of kindness to a stranger and let them have the ball if the fact that it is an opposing team's home run has somehow tainted the ball? 

One might think that the home of "Minnesota Nice" would be immune to a behavior that is, at best, thoughtless. One would be wrong. The Big Lead has footage of an adult woman, in Minnesota Twins gear, flipping off a young girl who did not throw a home run hit by David Ortiz during a recent game between the Red Sox and the Twins. I'm no lip reader but it sure looks like the woman uses some very adult language with the child as well. 

What do you think Mr. Torvik, is this proof that Minnesota Nice a crock? Is throwing a home run ball back a "tradition" or simply an example of crowd stupidity? If a respected tradition, is flipping off a child who wants to keep a home run ball reasonable behavior? Given that every baseball game these days is on TV, did the woman not know she was being filmed or was she too enraged that the kid wanted to keep the ball to care? Finally, is there a way to blame this woman's behavior on the fact that she probably learned it from watching FIBs at Cubs' games? 

* I realize that this means my childhood was generally awesome. I thank my parents for that.


  1. I am with you on this one. I despise this "tradition" for the same reasons as you. I believe it is a "Cubs" tradition, not a baseball tradition, and I hate hate hate the Cubs and every one of their stupid traditions, especially this one.

    And here's the thing about "Minnesota Nice": Minnesota people aren't any more friendly, or kind, or thoughtful than people in other parts of this great land. But they are much more reserved. To put in the parlance of our times, they tend to "conceal don't feel." So the jerks are harder to identify.

    This is where alcohol comes in. This "Minnesota Nice" thing is completely soluble in alcohol. It makes the reservations peel away and out comes the true Minnesotan underneath, whoever that may be. (This may be why Minnesota becomes "Frozen" every year between October and April.)

    In the case of this particular woman, alcohol revealed a black heart. But I still blame the Cubs and the FIBs for planting this particular dark seed in her heart.

  2. What kind of person hates the Cubs? It's like hating the Washington Generals.

  3. He can speak for himself, but I think what Mr. Torvik means is that he hates the fans of the Cubs. That said, one should at least dislike the Cubs because we should dislike years of sustained incompetence. The Washington Generals at least have the defense that they are supposed to lose.


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