Starstruck

After I finished my speech in Mankato today, a woman grabbed me as I walked out of the room.

"Kevin Garnett is in the bar!" she said.

I wasn't sure what to do with that information, but I sort of felt obligated to go to the bar.

When I walked through the doors, I found myself in the middle of fifteen Timberwolves and their general manager Kevin McHale.

The oversized men were all seated in chairs which looked too small for them. They were slouched over, eating off what looked to be miniature plates. It was a bar, so the eating situation didn't look too comfortable.

The long legs in those small chairs made the Wolves' knees stick up inordinately high. Combined with the slouched backs, the players looked more like vultures feeding on prey than Wolves. McHale looked like Frankenstein.

The room was utterly silent but for the clink of silverware. Practice this morning must have been tough. On the big screen, Santana was pitching to the A's. The sound was off. I acted as if I was interested in the game, which of course I was.

One of the attendees at my seminar snuck in behind me.

"There's Garnett!" she whispered. She had a notebook in her hand. "My son just loves him."

At that moment, I began to feel utterly ridiculous and I left.

From what I saw of the Wolves camp, it must be a horribly boring affair for those guys. Hotels all season. Hotel food. Bars. Bar stools, bar tables, big screen televisions, all that. All season. Ugh. You couldn't pay me enou....well, yes you could.

TWINS: Great game, but they lost. I am not despairing. I try to turn off emotion in the post-season or the whole thing would drive me crazy.

Driving home, I had to pull into Evansville, MN for gas. It was off the freeway a couple of miles, so the station was one of those old-fashioned ones with a greasy floor and an attendant with a greasy shirt. He had the other game on.

We discussed the Twins at length. We both agreed that Gardenhire should have brought in Neshek instead of Crain.

"Whooping Crain, I call him," said the attendant. "Sure enough, he took a whooping!"

At my seminar earlier in the day, attended entirely by female teachers, the main topic of interest was the Twins. We stood in the lobby and watched until we were forced to go into the room and get down to business. I asked the seminar organizer to interrupt with any changes in the score during my speech. There were none. It was 2-0 when I started, 2-0 when I finished.

Isn't it fun when the Twins win? At every stop on my trip, I could talk Twins. Everybody had an opinion. Everybody was eager to converse. There is some value to it, no matter how much we malign the poor overpaid overgrown adolescents we expect to provide us this enjoyment.

Even Aunt Olla got into the act. I called her at the Fertile Hilton from Mankato to see how the birthday plans were coming, and she said, "Oh, how about those Vikings! I watched them, and what a game!" I knew she meant the Twins, but it was entertaining to hear her say that she couldn't believe when the Vikings pulled ahead of the White Sox 5-1.

She had gone down to the lobby of the Fertile Hilton where they served Cracker Jack and Mt. Dew during the game. I don't think Olla had had Mt. Dew before. She claimed it was from the Great Smoky Mountains, so no wonder she enjoyed it so much.

But the important thing: Those Vikings (Twins) are so clean cut! They just look like such nice kids! And those White Sox...well, they're sort of...scruffy.