In August of 2002, on the night we first met, Dr. Dave and I went to a Twins game. We arrived at the Metrodome late, so we missed most of one of Johan Santana’s few starts of the season, but we did see Torii Hunter’s sixth-inning home run, which also scored Corie Koskie to put the Twins ahead of the Mariners 2-1. David Ortiz and Everyday Eddie Guardado made appearances, I was as yet undecided as to which player I harbored fonder feelings for—AJ Pierzynski or Doug Mientkiewicz (it would later prove to be enthusiastically Doug)—and their win that night brought the Twins' magic number to clinch the American League Central division down to 13. It was an exciting time to be a Twins fan.
That turned out to be the first of many regular and post-season games that Dr. Dave and I attended together. He was very much a stats-head while I, on the other hand, was all about the sass, so we made a yin-and-yang sort of baseball-watching team. He understood my appreciation for the aesthetic aspects of the game, at one point offering the brilliant suggestion that I design my own line of baseball cards featuring photographs of the players from the back. (He’s for sure getting a cut of the first million I make on those.)
Having grown up in Chicago as a Cubs fan, Dr. Dave’s playoff excitement in 2002 was understandable and contagious. He ordered the tickets for us both. I gave him a Cubs Fan Barbie for Christmas.
In 2003, when Hideki Matsui tried to kill me by hitting his first post-season home run directly at my face, Dr. Dave ducked right along with me.
In 2004, during a 14-strikeout Santana start (on the day I first met Batgirl in PERSON), Dr. Dave helped hold the “Santana/Nathan ‘04” campaign sign that got us on TV.
By then, he had become known in Batgirl’s comments section as“TwinsProf.”
When the Twins three-peated that same year, Dr. Dave and I were at the Dome, Homer Hankies in hand. And when, after they incomprehensibly surrendered a four-run lead to be eliminated by the Yankees (AGAIN) in game four of the ALDS… as I found myself standing on Washington Avenue trying very, very hard not to be one of those people who cries actual tears over something so stupid as BASEBALL… Dr. Dave was there, graciously pretending not to notice.
Even after My Ho had become my primary baseball buddy, Dr. Dave and I continued to attend occasional games together. Last May, on cap night, we were at the Dome once again, and although I knew he had accepted a new job in Maryland, it didn’t register at the time that an era was coming to an end. Not until a few weeks ago, when we met for dinner and he presented me with his bobblehead collection as a parting gift, did I realize it will likely be a long time before he and I go to another Twins game.
We’ll keep in touch. He e-mailed me just the other day to say that he arrived safely and is slowly getting his bearings. Always a true friend, I wrote back and said that if he decides he hates Maryland and comes back to Minneapolis, he’s totally not getting his Doug Mientkiewicz bobblehead back.
Thanks, Dr. Dave. It was an exciting run. And if the Twins ever see post-season play again, rest assured, I'll have a ticket for you.