Happy Birthday, Dad!

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Today my father is a year older than he was yesterday. Which is to say… older.
Back in 1981 when the Twins played their final game in old Met Stadium (now known as “The Mall of America”), my dad was there while I waited patiently in my mother’s uterus at home. Somewhere in the off-season before the Twins opened their first game in the Metrodome, I was born. (He was also at the Vikings final game at Met Stadium in December of ’81 — wait, apparently I was alive for that. And I wasn’t taken along because… ?)
Throughout the years I have attended countless games at the Metrodome, most of them with my dad. In 1987, he dragged us out for the impromptu homecoming after the Twins won the ALCS. We went and saw Paul Molitor’s 2,997th and 2,998th hits in 1996 (and saw him go 0-something the next day — hit 3,000 had to wait until a road trip to Kansas City). We were there for Kirby Puckett Appreciation Day shortly after he announced his retirement and he took me back a few years later for photo day. We saw Johan Santana break the Twins’ strikeout record two years ago. We have numerous free Dairy Queen sponsored Twins hats in our front closet, mini “autographed” baseball bats in the basement, and couple of Homer Hankies floating around — all from free Dome giveaways. Not to mention that pretty much our entire casual drinkware collection has been furnished by the Metrodome’s concession stands. (As an aside, the quality of those cups has gone way down since the early 90s.)
This season will be the Twins last in the “Homer Dome.” Even though it’s the worst MLB stadium I’ve been to, it’s the only home field I’ve known the Twins to have. So, in order to put him in what is sure to be a very small segment of people who were at the Twins last games in both of their stadiums, for his birthday I bought my dad two tickets to the final game against Kansas City this October. Because my mother will likely be out of town for her brother’s birthday that weekend, I did the only logical thing and bought myself a plane ticket home in order to join him at the park.
Happy Birthday, Dad! I love you!

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