Now the best baseball game I’ve been to was in 2001. The Twins were playing the Houston Astros in interleague play at the Metrodome. The Twins were just emerging from a decade-long funk and you could walk right up to the ticket window and get good seats, right behind the netting at home plate. I went with my friend Rick, and we found ourselves in the seventh row, so close to the action you could hear the swish of the bats when the batters took practice swings on deck. When you sit down there, the beer vendors have Summit. We each bought one and settled down with peanuts and hotdogs.
Brad Radke made the start for the Twins, and proceeded to have one of the great games of his career. He gave up four or five hits over nine innings, but nobody made it as far as second base… well, maybe one guy made it to second, but nobody made it to third. That, I’m sure of. The Astros were completely shut down.
The Twins scored seven runs in entertaining fashion. They didn’t just draw a walk and line a single and whop a three-run dinger over the fence. No, I believe someone (Luis Rivas? Cristian Guzman?) beat out an infield hit, then stole second, and Mientkiewicz or maybe Pierzynski hit a single, and Dennis Hocking laid down the prettiest bunt I have ever seen, and the pitcher got nervous and walked the next batter, then David Ortiz (yes, that David Ortiz — he used to be a Twin) hit a bases-clearing double. It went something like that, anyway.
Rick taught me how to keep score. The marvelous notation of every play that reveals the deeper nuances of the game — where the outs are being made, where the hits are landing. I’ve done it almost every game ever since, unless I’m in the middle of a good book.
Also, I won a Kirby Puckett tribute video on a free scratch-off game.
You can go to a game fretting about the standings and the other scores posted on the board, or you can just enjoy what happens during that game, that day. That was a meaningless game from any historic standpoint, but still the best game I ever saw.