20th Century, Culture, History, Intercession, Jesus, Minnesota, sports

Streetcar Double Headers

April 1907
A heated sibling rivalry develops between the Twin Cities’ two pro baseball teams, the Saints and Millers. Streetcar doubleheaders are scheduled on Decoration Day, July 4, and Labor Day, with a game in each city.*

A bit of background is in order to help those who may not know much about the Twin Cities. There is definitely much in common between these two places, but it’s the distinctions that give each it’s flavor. They may not be thought of as ‘strong’ flavors by those who consider Minnesota ‘flyover country’, but that is a matter of taste.

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St. Paul is the older brother of Minneapolis. According to local legend, first two structures in St. Paul were a log trading post that doubled as a pub, and a log Catholic church. There are very strong communities derived from nations with a Roman Catholic heritage: Irish, French, Polish, Italian, and Mexican. This city leans blue-collar, tends to move slower, and with more respect for tradition.

1907 Spalding Guide - Hart - MPLS team

Minneapolis is the kid brother that just kept growing. It historically has been more Protestant, with residents mostly from Western and Northern European descent. It leans more white collar and entrepreneurial, with more nightlife to spend new money.

Holy Umpire, thanks for the heritage of baseball in Minnesota! What an awesome combination of sport with times for team play, and individual achievement! Baseball truly is a mirror of the best attributes of our culture.
Unfortunately, Saints and Millers reflect the darker sides of our nature too. Sometimes we, as fans attempted to “help” our home team. Check out this example of ‘sportsmanship from 100 years ago;

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“The newspapers joined the struggle, firing their artillery at enemy camps across the Mississippi River. In the 1890s, when both cities were represented in the Western League, the Minneapolis Tribune leveled a charge of “dirty ball” against its neighbors to the east, the Saints, who were owned and managed at that time by Charles Comiskey. “Manager Comiskey,” reported the Tribune, “will be served with a formal notice that the Minneapolis club will not play today’s game unless guaranteed that there will be no spiking of Minneapolis players, no interference on the part of the crowd, no throwing of rocks, no throwing of dust and dirt in the eyes of the Minneapolis players, and a few other tricks which the game yesterday was featurized by.” “ Thornley, Stew. On to Nicollet: The Glory and Fame of the Minneapolis Millers.**,***

God, thanks that You gave a home team to enjoy and be proud of. Will You forgive us for when we have gone overboard and over identify ourselves with a baseball team? Will You forgive harsh words that were sowed then between Minneapolis and St. Paul that still smart today?

Today I want to acknowledge specific sports offenses to You. We have loved winning more than losing, but doesn’t losing build character? We have loved showboat personalities more than the team at times, but innately we know that a single player can’t win the game. We can behave like spoiled brats at games, then lecture our kids about the importance of sportsmanship. God help our ERA and our era! Have mercy on our inconsistent batting average with beloved rivals of yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Thanks that these hostilities birthed a solution; the Minnesota Twins! Will You help us find creative ways to find common ground with our rivals today?

*P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org, is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!

**Peruse this wonderful link to the complete article by Stew Thornley. http://www.stewthornley.net/millers_paydays.html

***Dig into a book on the Saint Paul Saints, again, by Stew Thornley. http://www.mnhs.org/mnhspress/books/st-paul-saints

 

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19th Century, History, Intercession, Jesus, Minnesota, sports

Softball Invented in Minneapolis 1895

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Minneapolis fireman Lewis Rober invented outdoor softball in 1895. Called kitten ball by Rober, who hand-made the leather balls himself. Rober was inducted into the National Softball Hall of Fame in 1996.*

What is significant about the invention of this game? What makes challenging another to a team sport appealing? Is it simply about getting some exercise? Jesus, guide my thoughts and heart this day. Help me bless and confess what may stem from the invention of kittenball.

Thank you for Lewis Rober, and his desire to organize a fun activity for his firemen. Waiting is fatiguing enough, let alone waiting for events that may involve risking one’s life. By inventing a kitten ball, bigger and softer than a baseball, he made a wonderful sport that occupied his firefighters, gave them exercise, and perhaps most importantly, took their minds off the incessant waiting for danger! Will You bless the heritage of Lewis Rober, of all who have, are, or will play the game he loved so much?

Next, it seems important to meditate on the nature of competitive sport. A challenge can be a fun test or a fight without weapons, therefore testing the character and heart of the players. Frequently, children are told to “be a good sport” in their games by parents who are quite inconsistent in modeling that same.

So, our kids go through this mental wrestling match: wanting the glory of winning vs. contentment in a game well-played. We see the benefit of them facing “fight or flight” challenges as a means of conditioning them for life’s tests, and building endurance and tenacity in adversity. We teach them to choose their attitude with phrases like, “it’s not whether you win or lose, but how you play the game.”

Yet, we often fail to see these same benefits on a cosmic scale. So often we judge Your character, and wonder: “Why would a Father send his son to die? Why would a G-d of love allow this natural disaster? Why do the rich fleece the poor, generation after generation? Why does an all-powerful being allow hunger, genocide, terrorism, and war?” It seems consistent with the theme that good parents sometimes allow their kids to experience the effects of the “bad sports”, without intervention, even though they have the ability to spare them.

It may seem like a jump, to go from kitten ball to genocide, but You are are the King of Quantum Leaps. You are before time, in time, and beyond time. You observed the exact moment, the exact decision, that led a benevolent ruler’s heart from leading all the people to choosing the tyranny that exists beyond the law. Yet, many times You have chosen not to intervene.

Why? Why should we be faced over and over throughout the span of time with the decision to hate our enemy, or love our enemy? Do You want us to shake hands with evil and say “Good game”? You box us in and force us to choose: “What will it be today, forgiveness or bitterness? What world do you want to create? Do you want to be a microcosm of division, or unity?”

Have mercy Lord! If we still haven’t learned to play softball, what will we do in the face of hardball! There is so little love in us for those that offend, disgrace, and injure us in small ways. What will we do in the face of the atrocities of this age? Give us enough love for this day! Give us grace that overcomes our opponent with a game well-played! Will You make us firefighters in our field today?

*P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org , is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!

** Take a peek at the birthplace of kittenball; the Minneapolis Fire Department? http://www.extraalarm.org/ltrober.htm

***Fire Station No. 19 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fire_Station_No._19_(Minneapolis,_Minnesota)

 

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