Country Scribe : Eric Bergeson's Weblog

April 10, 2004

Injury bug bites Twins

In one game last week, the Twins lost four players to injury. Rookie Joe Mauer ripped some cartilege in his knee; Matt LeCroy tore up his ribs; Johan Santana's arm cramped up, and Torii Hunter pulled a hamstring. Hunter's hamstring injury is directly attributable to the new playing surface in the Metrodome which, according to the players, is a little like walking on a mattress.

There are some theories floating around why the Twins have seemed to have more injuries over the past three seasons. Number one theory is that the hard playing surface in the Metrodome was putting strain on knees and backs. Number two theory is that players are lifting too many weights (or perhaps taking too many supplements) which makes their muscles more susceptible to tears.

However, number three theory is most intriguing to me. From the time the Twins first moved to Minnesota in 1961 to three years ago, their trainer was Dick Martin. For whatever reason, during those years, the Twins repeatedly led the league with the fewest days lost to injuries of all the teams. Martin was regarded as one of the best.

Martin and team management parted ways three years ago on bad terms. Since then, the Twins have been injured more often. When reached in Florida, Martin refused to comment on his estrangement from the team which employed him for nearly 40 years, but he did say that the rash of injuries "wasn't surprising" to him.

A lot of the injuries are of the sort which good training might prevent. Santana's constant cramping might have something to do with nutrition. I know Gardenhire is trying to get him to stop drinking some radical sort of nutrition malt. But all the pulled muscles seem to have more to do with lack of stretching and flexibility, something a trainer could address.

In any case, the Twins have shown no sign that they think anything is amiss--they attribute the injuries to bad luck. I wish they'd look into the roots of the injuries more seriously.

April 08, 2004

Nice day to haul frozen foods

Clear but cold today in NW MN. I drove to Ada this morning to record 21 Garden Tips radio shows for the spring. They will play three times a week between now and the end of May. Because they play early in the morning, before I am very awake, the announcer and I decided to record them all in advance.

So, that involves some deceit. The sheet of paper says it is May 10, so I say, "Time to get those flowers for Mom," or, "Why don't you bring Mom out to the nursery this weekend?" Woody at the Ada radio station is a pro, so he carries on about the lilacs blooming and so on even though it is still early April.

Then I went up Highway 9 to Crookston where I was slated to speak to a Lutheran women's group at Trinity Lutheran. I was fed well, of course, the fifth meal I have had in a Lutheran church fellowship hall in the past week. I was raised Baptist, but generally speaking, the Lutherans feed me. And well.

The Lutheran women kindly let me do my program before they had their business meeting, although they offered to let me stay. I said I had better get going, but told them I hoped that everything stood approved as read.

Then over to the grocery store for some frozen foods. My freezer is empty, and we are getting busy enough so that it will be tough to get away. Since the temps were hovering around freezing today, I thought it the ideal time to purchase several bags of frozen veggies and some frozen meats. They all made it home without getting mushy. Major accomplishment.

Since the Twins have lost their last two games, and their pitching has been horrible, I have stopped listening. Nothing worse than bad pitching. I didn't realize they played this afternoon until I looked at the internet tonight. Good thing. Saved me the torment of hearing them lose to the lowly Tigers.

April is always a struggle for the Twins. June is when they usually get on a roll. Meanwhile, I am so busy that I don't spend much time dwelling on their misfortunes.

April 07, 2004

A cold day in April

Stong winds all day, colder temperatures. Typical of April's dark side. It is still better than most of March.

Sold two apple trees today, as well as a willow. Time goes fast when you are selling things. During the long months when there is nothing to sell and nobody wanting to buy, I forget how much good it does my psyche to sell something. For that reason, the upcoming two months are the years best. I never get sick of selling things people want.

Cat caught a snake today. It was not a garter snake, but a little brown thing. A little troubling to me, as I have always labored under the illusion that we have only garter snakes in this country, and they are harmless. I doubt that this new snake is harmful, but it causes me to adjust my thinking a bit.

Cat struggled valiantly to bring the snake to the doorstep, even though I was standing in the middle of the yard. Apparently, the doorstep is where prey is brought, not necessarily to my feet.

Last night, I left the door to the entry open and it wasn't five minutes before the cat dragged through a fat vole and set it beside my feet as I was surfing the net. That is rodent number thirteen--an approximate number, because I am starting to wonder if some of them aren't repeat customers. I just throw them into the woods, and perhaps cat brings the same ones back. That confuses the statistics a bit.

The phone rang off the hook at the nursery this morning with more people discovering the rodent damage to their trees. In one particularly sad case, a man who has an orchard full of apricots, apples, plums, cherries, raspberries, blackberries and grapes had them all killed by the rodents, even the older, rough-barked plants. This is very unusual.

In the greenhouse, however, more signs of life by the day. The pansies, which love the cold early spring weather, are blooming their hearts out. Thousands of seedlings in trays are growing visibly each day.

Anybody who works at the nursery and expects to stay on a diet had better think again. People are always bringing cake, bars, candy, and the like to share with their fellow employees. Today, Nick brought an excellent orange cake, as well as some killer bars which had everybody asking for the recipe. Nick's mom made the goodies, although he claimed "about 10%" of the credit.

The dieters have all they can do to stay with their celery sticks with temptation all around the lunchroom. Tomorrow, Joy will bring pizza for everybody since it is her last day before she moves on to a new job. I don't know who started the tradition that you have to feed everybody else on your last day on the job, but I am not protesting.

April 06, 2004


Stanley Christianson's funeral was yesterday. A full church at Faaberg in Rindal. Faaberg is a beautiful church with a one-hundred-year-old pipe organ which still sounds good.

Stanley's family is huge, in numbers and in height. The funeral was sort of a convention of the big and tall. Stanley was well over six feet, and so are his sons. Lyla's family is big as well--six and a half feet each. So the rest of us were looking up.

Small town funerals are a good thing. The locals gather. You chat with people you haven't talked to all winter, or who you wouldn't otherwise talk to very often. The Lutherans tend not to get too overwrought in their services, preferring quiet dignity and solemn liturgy. I think they have it right.

Pastor Beyer made a nice catch--he noted that Stanley drove cat on the road crew for 60 yeears--sixty years of making the crooked straight and the rough places plain. Text from Isaiah, made famous by G. F. Handel in the Messiah.

On the cover of the bulletin were two pictures--one of Stanley driving cat in 1939, and another of him driving cat fifty years later, in 1989. He drove ten more years after that.
Plus, he farmed. Lots of hard work.

April shines

So far, at least. What great weather! Out in a t-shirt today. People are calling, wanting to plant. No hurry, of course, but people get eager.

Last night we got in our catalogs and today we put labels on 6,200 of them for mailing tomorrow. What a job! For mass mailings and bulk rate, you have to keep them organized by zip code, which is more complicated than it sounds.

A couple of people came who have dug holes for trees and want to get them in. That is fine! It is great to get a little income this time of year, because the outgo is substantial as we get ready. We opened the big greenhouse this week.

April 05, 2004

Twins win opener

A very encouraging first game for the Twins. Super-rookie Joe Mauer had two hits and two walks. The bullpen held the Indians scoreless. And Shannon Stewart finished the game with a three-run homer in the eleventh inning.

Radke pitched poorly, of course. I am sure he doesn't care. His relaxed attitude will win him as many games as it loses him, but in the meantime it drives me nuts. Much better to have a rabid bulldog on the mound.

Listened to the radio for the first eight innings before discovering that the game was being carried on ESPN2.

Herb Carneal, now over eighty years of age, sounded bright and perky doing the play-by-play for the first five innings. Last year, he sounded old--this year he sounds refreshed. It will be a blow when he finally retires. Dan Gladden, formerly the Twins left-fielder, does a great job with analysis. It is odd to have an ex-player be so articulate and such a good showman on the air. And John Gordon--well, I am almost used to him. His announcing style still grates, but Gladden brings out the best in him.

So, it should be a fun year in Twinsville. Even if we don't get to watch them on TV much thanks to the mechinations of the corporate greedheads.

April 04, 2004

A well-fed weekend

By coincidence, I ate three meals in Lutheran Church basements (or fellowship halls, as the case may be) this weekend. One in Roseau, one in Twin Valley, one in Rindal.

Today's meal in Rindal was for the family service for neighbor Stanley Christianson who passed away this week. Stanley's family is so huge that the church was full. Some ladies had cheese spread sandwiches, egg salad sandwiches, coffee and sweets downstairs for the occasion.

Stanley was 81. He was a big man, a gentle giant on the order of former Speaker of the House Tip O'Neill. He married Lyla, who has worked at the nursery for the past twenty years. They had nine children.

Stanley worked on the road for decades, running a cat. Even when his eyesight deteriorated to the point where he couldn't drive to work, Stanley still drove cat with the road crew. His co-workers would pick him up and drop him off. "It's all feel anyway," he said of driving the cat.

Tomorrow is the funeral. I suspect it will be overflowing. Lots of family, and a whole neighborhood of friends.

Wonders of the internet: Lyla asked me to sing a song entitled "On Eagle's Wings," a piece I haven't really heard much before. So, I typed in that phrase on Google and within two minutes of talking to Lyla, the piano accompaniment to the piece was playing on my computer and I was singing along. An easy way to practice!

Told that to somebody at the family service, and they said--so, are you going to bring your computer tomorrow? Nope, I think I'll stick with Dorthy, Faaberg Church's pianist.