Monday, August 21, 2000

91 Going on 4

I spent Sunday evening, sore as a boar, trying to teach Mr. Max how to bobble his head. Yes indeed I was very tired but it was a good kind of tired. I am one of the fortunate few to have gotten all four bobblehead dolls that the Twins gave away this year. It literally was the promotion of the century- what else (with the possible exception of having all the members from the show "Survivor" appear on the field) could possibly get 25,000 fans to watch the 40th year version of the Twins? Could people be any more indifferent to this team?

Yup, as Max and I watched our Harmon and Tony, Herbie and Kirby bobbin' their noggins, we felt very giddy indeed. {Bobbling report- Harmon bobbles the best followed by Tony O and Kirby. Tony bobbles freer than Kirby but Kirby's head is tilted slightly higher allowing him to bobble longer. Hrbek is as wooden as Al Gore (which seems odd because he's made out of ceramic), barely bobbling because his chin is too square or something (maybe it's Y2K). Harmon is a masterpiece, the epitome of what a bobblehead should be.} I figured the Puckett doll would be the most difficult to get, and it was. He after all is a state icon, right up there with the official new state butterfly (the monarch) and the official state muffin (blueberry). I bet for 70 percent of the kids in the state born after the year 1987 their very first words were, "Kurbeeeeeeee Puckettttttttttttt!"

After having gotten the first three dolls I felt a little greedy. I just had to get the fourth doll to finish off the collection. I read a discouraging item written by Gordon Wittenmyer in Sunday's Pioneer Press (the real newspaper of the Twin Cities) as I was getting ready to go to the dome:

"The final bobblehead doll promotion of the season, before today's 1:05 p.m. game against the Toronto Blue Jays, is expected to be the most popular of the four. If early indications mean anything, it already might be too late to get your Kirby Puckett edition of the ceramic collectible -- unless you're reading this while in line. Lines began forming outside the Metrodome late Saturday. 'Clearly, these things have taken on a life of their own,' said Dave St. Peter, the Twins' senior vice president of business affairs."

We had figured getting their at 8 a.m. (gates opened at 11, game started at 1) would probably give us a good shot what with people going to church and the Saturday night party goers sleeping in a bit. But the lady in front of us in line gave an early warning sign when she said, "I'm skipping mass this morning for this." A few minutes later a couple of nuns walked by to get in line. Yes there were quite a few people mingling around the dome at that hour of the morning.

Actually I was lucky to have been able to get out of bed at all that morning. The day before I participated in a softball tournament. Our team played seven games between 8 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. In game number six (the game that got us into the championship) I was going back on a fly ball hit over my head when the calf muscles in both my legs cramped up. I felt like somebody had shot me (and I wasn't even stealing a bottle of liquor). After that my legs just ached. It didn't help matters that I had slid into second on a play leaving about as much skin on my leg as Kevin Bacon has in his new movie, "Hollow Man." In game seven I pretty much lost the championship for us single handedly as the opposing team hit every thing my way and I couldn't really move to get to the ball. (Not that my limited skills would have guaranteed success even when healthy).

By the time I got home I was in pretty rough shape. I was walking funny (or funnier) with all the speed of a semi-healthy 90 year-old-man. My father felt so bad for me Saturday night watching me hobble home that he asked if there was anything he could do for me. I almost asked him to drive downtown and sleep over night at the dome to save us a place in line.

On Sunday making the trek from our parking spot to the dome was painful enough. Sitting on the pavement for three hours was slightly uncomfortable. I was the kind of stiff you can't even get from Viagra. But it was all gonna be worth it if we got the Puck doll. As the line scrunched together and the gates opened our chances looked fairly good. We were in about the same spot as we were when we got our Harmon Killebrew dolls (of which there were only 5,000 handed out opposed to the 10,000 Puckett dolls). As we were just a few people from the gate word came back that we should be fine- that they had five boxes of Kirby's left. I walked through the turnstile and they stopped me. The ticket taker reached back and pulled out a mangled looking box. It was the last doll they had in that stash. I stood there waiting for my authentication card (they gave away those cards with each doll to prove that you had a legitimate bobblehead) and my friend stood behind me on the other side of the turnstile. They brought over a few more dolls from the other two turnstiles. So we were one of the last to get dolls at our gate.

Of course the Twins rewarded the larger than normal crowd by playing a horrible game losing 13-3. I think even my softball team could have hit Brad Radke this game.

The question from the entire weekend of course is: How old am I?

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