Have you ever had the lyrics of a song rolling around inside your head that you just can’t get rid of, no matter what you do? I think just about everyone of us has experienced that.
I remember years ago, a co-worker of mine, Andy Braford, used to get absolutely flustered when another colleague of ours would sing or recite the lines from a song, which would be embedded in Andy’s brain for the remainder of the night’s work. (I don’t know if Andy has ever forgiven Jim Johnson for that.)
Well, there have been a couple of songs that have been on my mind lately, and being bothersome to me is not even in the ballpark, pardon the pun, because both are about baseball: “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” and “Centerfield.”
While a lot of people I know are still reeling over Grand Forks Central’s 2-1 championship game loss to Minot in the North Dakota State High School Hockey Tournament last weekend in Fargo or are relishing the chances of East Grand Forks Senior High winning back-to-back Minnesota Class A high school hockey titles this weekend in the Twin Cities, my mind is on baseball.
The last two years, I have done public address for the Central Knights home baseball games as well as for the Grand Forks Blues American Legion team last summer. It’s a job I relish, since baseball always has been my favorite sport.
It has been, ever since my Park Board days as a kid in Crookston, Minn., through my teens and early 20s with the American Legion Post 20 and amateur Crookston Reds teams.
I got added pleasure out of both gigs last year, since my grandson, Rakeem, was a starter for the two teams. He and his talented Central teammates took second in the state high school tournament last spring, and the Blues won the 15- and 16-year-old state Legion crown last summer.
What makes baseball even more pleasurable is that Rakeem is a natural. That’s unlike me, who had to work really hard just to maintain a .250 batting average. And his fielding isn’t too bad, either.
Rakeem has always taken a keen interest in America’s pastime, much to my liking. He started playing Park Board baseball as a 7- or 8-year-old, graduating to Cal Ripken and Babe Ruth — which I coached — as he got older.
And he’s even taken a couple of road trips with me to Minneapolis over the years to see the Minnesota Twins play.
So, if you hear me humming or singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” or “Centerfield,” in the next few weeks …