I do love this time of the year - when the "Boys of Summer" return after a long, drab winter - you know summer's not far off. The start of the new major league baseball season always brings back a flood of wonderful memories involving my Grandpa.

Grandpa was a Minnesota Twins fan through and through. No matter how busy he was, he would always find time to tune into the game. Whether it was on his tractor radio in the field, or on his transistor radio in the shop, Grandpa missed very few - if any - games.

And then there were those rare and special times when the Twins game would actually be on TV. When they were televised, there was nothing that was going to stand in the way of Grandpa watching that game. Of course, nowadays, every Twins game is televised.

Personally though, I still think listening to baseball on the radio is the way the sport was originally intended to be enjoyed. There's just something special about the announcer "painting with words" what's happening at the plate and at the pitcher's mound.

I was lucky enough to take in my first Minnesota Twins game at the old "Met" with both my Dad and Grandpa together. I was in elementary school. We drove up on a Saturday, stayed overnight, and attended a Sunday double-header against the Angels.

What I also remember about that day is - it was 'Halter Top Day.' I really doubt whether my Dad and Grandpa knew that when they purchased the tickets, but then again, I can't say for sure. All I know is I was one very happy kid that day.

After Grandpa and Grandma retired and moved off the farm and into town, Grandpa would listen to the game from the comfort of his recliner. He might have forgotten what he had for breakfast that morning, but ask him anything about the game and he was sharp as a tack.

Grandpa passed away several years back, but one of my most prized possessions is his portable radio. He sat for hours in front of that thing listening to Herb Carneal call every pitch. Yes, it may be old and scratched up - but it still works and it was Grandpa's.

You know, after writing this, I think I'll go home, tune in Grandpa's old radio and listen to the Twins game. I have a feeling that even though I might not be able to see him, Grandpa will be there with me cheering on our beloved Minnesota Twins.

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