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Play ball!

Posted by joeabbott on July 5, 2015

P1100282Suzy and I have been busy; really busy. We started a new set of chicks (more on that later) to bolster the flock of hens, we’ve brought a literal ton of rocks into the back yard that we’d used to edge the paths and flower beds, and took a trip back to Minnesota!

While it’s true the visit “back home” was a whirlwind long-weekend, we packed in a bunch! We got in Friday afternoon and spent the evening with my mother and a few siblings enjoying dinner and conversation at her home, on Saturday we took a garden tour with one of my sisters and then observed my brother’s birthday, and on Sunday we drove out to Wisconsin to enjoy a day-long hang-out-and-enjoy-each-other’s-company visit. On Monday we returned to Seattle.

I could color any of these events in detail, but that little comment about “my brother’s birthday” was the reason we flew back!

Celebrating his 50th birthday, my brother Jay looks like he could be celebrating his 40th! His wife, two kids, and career keep him busy but he’s always had time to share with Suzy and I when we’re out and he’s made it to Seattle a few times. It’s an exceptional privilege to call him my brother. But he and Karen (his wife) did up his 50th in style!


I’ve never been tailgating, and for those few who may not be familiar with the term, the snippet to the right should help you out. The second definition is the one we’re after and, unfortunately, Bing makes it sound a bit dry and dull, when in reality, it was fantastic!

While Jay and Karen brought Suzy and I chairs (as out-of-towners), I scarcely needed mine! Whether I was having a chin wag with whoever was manning the grill, chasing tots about the lot, grabbing way too much food, or strolling over to look at the Budweiser Clydesdales, there was SO MUCH GOING ON!

Did I mention a grill? Why, yes, yes I did.


Jay described it as a “cheapo grill (he) picked up last night”, but it was awesome! Burgers and brats kept spilling off it like some mythological cornucopia and when we were done, he picked it up by the legs, walked over to a “coal depot”, and deposited the hot embers in a safe repository on-site for this express purpose! What a great feature in a tailgating lot! And before we had the rest of the setup cleaned up, he was able to stow the now-cool grill into the back of his car.


On top of providing us hot foods, Karen laid out a quick card table complete with a checkered table cloth and replete with salads, chips, and all sorts of desserts. And, being a birthday, we absolutely enjoyed a slice of cake before the meal was over!

While I’d never tailgated before, I’m a bit spoiled now … unless there’s a pop-up tent to keep us cool, a vast assortment of hot and cold foods, a cooler of drinks, and enough entertainment to make one think it was time to pack it up and head home (and not to a sporting event) when it was over … well, it’ll be a big step down from what I’ve experienced.

The game!

While the St. Paul Saints are currently 31-8, we unfortunately saw one of the ‘8’. But it was a really solid game, including a two-run rally at the bottom of the ninth by the Saints to tie it up! Although I will admit that a call of “safe” on first looked really questionable. <g>

The Saints were playing the Gary Southshore Railcats and here’s the box score from the game:


In AA baseball, games that go to a 10th inning allow teams to start with a man on second; it’s a significant game-changer. And whereas the Saints had far fewer errors than the Railcats, one of the Saint’s gaffes came in the 11th. With a man on second, the Railcats bunted; the Saints first baseman, Ian Gac, fielded that ball and lobbed an easy out over the second baseman’s head (who had run over to cover first) and it allowed the Railcats to score.


After that, team concentration was lost and confidence by the Railcats gained with some solid base hits and two additional runs coming in. The Saints were unable to answer and the home crowd left with the mixed emotions of a tight game that got away in the end.

imageA big part of AA baseball is to have fun. And in the beautiful CHS Field, it’s easy to enjoy oneself: it’s a new park, has wonderful appointments, and very comfortable. The icing on this cake is that the birthday boy, Jay, works for Cenex/Harvest State (CHS) and so his company is one of the team benefactors! And Jay’s signature is on the baseball statue to prove the association!

In between each inning the club will have a fun activity to engage the crowd: a couple times you’ll have over-sized guys in tutus raking the field, a few times the cutest little pig in all the world will run out onto the field to just be adorable, and other times couples will compete at silly games to prove superiority at running a race in a costume, staying upright after being spun around a bajillion times, or some other minor feat of “skill”.

In all, if we’re heading back to MN for another summer visit, my family can expect the question from me: are the Saints playing?

That’s it!

Jay celebrated his 50th in style, treated us all to tailgating, and paid our way into a ballgame in the Saints new stadium. I’m grateful for the fun and the new experiences: thanks, Jay (and Karen)!!!


4 Responses to “Play ball!”

  1. Jay said

    Joe, so glad you & Suzy had a good time. It was great to see you again – and thanks for the great card as well. It means a lot – YOU ARE A GREAT BROTHER!!

    Love ya,

    • Karen said

      Thanks so much for the kind words Joe! It was great to see you and Suzy! I have to give credit to your mom (Uncle Joe) for paying for everyone to get in the game and for a generous contribution towards the food! We just did the preparations and I actually enjoy party planning.


  2. Chantal said

    Awesome review of the greatest party I’ve bee to this year!

  3. Chantal said

    You’re a great party planner Karen!

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