Elizabethton Twins: Baseball at its best

Published 9:58 am Monday, July 9, 2018

We are in the midst of summer, which means it’s camping time, swimming weather, and weekends at the lake. But, it’s also baseball season, and for fans of the Elizabethton Twins, Joe O’Brien Field is the place to be on a summer evening.
The Twins arrived in Elizabethton the middle of June and have already played 20 games. They played Friday and Saturday at Joe O’Brien Field and will be at home again Sunday and Monday.
To baseball fans, nothing beats warm nights, the smell of hotdogs and the cracking of bats under the lights.
While football is America’s pastime in the fall, baseball is king in the spring and summer. Baseball, to the casual observer, is slow and methodic and boring. But to some, baseball is THE game, and there’s a lot of baseball fans in Elizabethton.
True baseball fans know the names of Mickey Mantle, Jackie Robinson and Stan Musial. And, they know the names of Elizabethton Twins players, who have made the big leagues. The Elizabethton Twins have been fielding a team in Elizabethton ever since 1974, and in that time the Elizabethton Twins have claimed 13 Appalachian League pennants, the latest one coming last season. Some of those players who played their minor league ball here and went on to the big time include Butch Wynegar, Jesse Orosco, Gary Gaetti, Jeff Reed, Kirby Puckett, and Joe Mauer, just to name a few.
The World Series will not conquer the Super Bowl, but there is a history in the grand old game that no sport can equal. Baseball, like our country, has survived a lot — strikes, scandals, liars, and cheats. It goes on despite drugs and steroids and the fight over the almighty dollar. It moves ahead despite the failures of heroes like Shoeless Joe Jackson and the Black Sox. Despite its problems, baseball is still popular and is the game of summer.
And, when spring arrives, Elizabethton becomes a baseball town. Take a walk some evening over to the American Little League Field during the month of May and June or drive down to the National Little League Field in the west end of town and you will find kids in baggy uniforms with hats too big. They are standing on green fields playing Little League baseball.
Then comes June and the rookie farm team of the Minneapolis Twins arrives in town.
It does not matter how big the player or whether it’s Elizabethton or Minneapolis; the game is essentially the same. There are three strikes and three outs and over the fence is always a home run.
In the stands at both Little League and Twins games are moms and dads, grandmas and grandpas. There are people watching who do not know any of the kids, but they know it’s baseball. A baseball fan is at home whether it be Joe O’Brien Field in Blackbottom, the Little League field at Cat Island Park, or watching the Braves play in Atlanta, Ga. They know the game and they love it.
Every fan has a favorite team and a favorite player…and they probably have an old baseball card or two stowed away somewhere.
For minor league baseball, the schedules are long and the players are vying for sports in the big leagues, but for the rest of us, the games are simply a welcome respite from the world of work and a fun way to spend a summer evening.
In addition to baseball, the theme nights are often hilarious and worth being a part of even if you don’t like the game.
It is astounding, however, how many Elizabethton residents have not taken in a Twins game. It should be a must on everyone’s summer “to-do” list.
The fans of the Twins are diverse. There are old-timers sitting in folding chairs, families in the bleachers, kids chasing foul balls on the grass, men and women leaning on the first and third base fences watching the game.
This is the way baseball should be enjoyed, and we hope it is around for a long time in Elizabethton.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox