Friday, July 24, 2015

The Stairway Package

When you're an obsessive APBA player like I, you tend to begin worrying about the next replay as the current one nears its end. Do you go with a different era than the one you're doing now? One you're familiar with? One that brings back memories of watching the actual season as a youngster or a season that becomes a backdrop in a memorable time of life?

It's on my mind as I am nearing the final games of the 1950 baseball season I've been rolling since March 2014. I am still debating about doing 1972 or 1991. Both are important seasons for me. I watched 1972 as a kid in Minnesota; it was one of the first seasons I really watched closely as the Twins finished third that year behind Oakland. I am also debating going to my home town in Minnesota next month on my first vacation since my wife passed away nine years ago. I found a place to stay only 10 blocks from my home, and it'd be neat to roll games in that 1972 season while there, so close to the home where I watched the games as an 11 year old.

But 1991 was a great season, as well. I've written about that year here before, so stop me if you've heard this: I was in Lubbock, Texas, enrolled in a PhD program in English at Texas Tech and in the midst of a horrible, failing relationship. I bailed, dropping out of school and love between Games 2 and 3 of the Series that featured Minnesota and Atlanta. The Twins' winning the World Series that year was the salve to the heartbreak I experienced.

So, I obsess over which season to do next.

And, as a newspaper writer who's stuff is read by nearly 200,000 people daily, I at times worry if I'm doing a rotten job. We don't hear compliments on a story, but make one mistake and the phones light up. I once wrote in a story about an Arkansas house where he once lived, that Ernest Hemingway killed himself in an old hotel in Ketchum, Idaho. Ye-gads, the calls! It wasn't a hotel, the astute readers barked. It was an apartment building converted from an old hotel.

That doubt transfers over to any writing I do, and even to this blog. I run out of ideas at times. And I wonder if anyone even really cares about this. It's the thoughts of the low self-esteem we writer-types get.

But both my dilemmas — which season to play next and if the blog is worth the time — were answered with a package left in the stairway of my workplace this week.

I was leaving the office, heading to an assignment in a town about 50 miles away when I saw the large box. I opened it and, to my stunned surprise, I found a large framed picture of the 1991 Minnesota Twins logo on white material and red pinstripes, like their uniforms. There was also the 1987 World Series patch, the “TC” logo and a 25-year anniversary patch.

A simple note read: “A couple of guys from Michigan enjoy reading Love, Life and APBA Baseball.”

It was signed “Jerry and David” from St. Clair Shores, Mich.

I don't know Jerry and David from St. Clair Shores, Mich., but I am shocked, and pleased, by the offering. The picture will hang up on the wall above the table I roll these replay games. Above the table where I'll play the 1991 season next.

Yes, both of my dilemmas were solved in a single kind gesture. I will play 1991 next and I get feedback on this blog. A package from Jerry and David in St. Clair Shores, Mich., solved everything.

Thank you.


  1. Cool story! ---- sorry to say my first thought, in this day & age, was I'm glad that the bomb squad didn't need to be called out for a "mysterious package". I'm happy it turned out to be a good gift for you. :)
    Also--- don't doubt your blog! Not sure my opinion really counts because I'm technically not into the APBA games ---but I still enjoy reading whatever you write about. :)

    1. Thanks, Holly! And your opinion does count! Anyone who researches the history of Necco wafers is way above the fold of humanity.

  2. Don't stop rolling or writing. Your last entry about working out at the gym had me laughing out loud at work. And, as a born and breed native Minnesota sports fan who can still remember exactly where I was when Puckett is THE home run in game 6, I can't wait to see your replay of the 1991 season. WIN TWINS!!!


    1. That Puckett homer is a whole blog article for me soon. I had returned to my mother's house after dropping out of Texas Tech and had planned to my new town for a new job that Sunday morning. Puckett's homer changed everything and I remained home for Game 7 that Sunday instead. It was odd... I was 31 at the time, living in my mom's house, briefly. But that game and our time together after my failed venture into furthering my education helped bond us.

  3. This was truly a great piece of writing - and not just because it's "right up our alley" (baseball).

    The attention that you gave to the two unknown souls in Michigan speaks volumes about your character and gives even more insight into the fact that you're not just a writer of words, but a writer whose words reflect the true strength and power of his character - a writer who listens just as intently as he speaks.

    "I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen." - Ernest Hemingway

    1. Thank you! I appreciate that. I try to observe, and at times that gets me in trouble with some folks who get tired of the analytical obsessiveness I have. But it's how I'm wired. Thanks for reading.

  4. Kenneth, rest assured are read religiously - at least by me. You give "voice" to an obsession many of have but can't articulate as well as you.