"Come on, team, let's show these fans that we appreciate Splendiferous Field where we can experience the wonder of Minnesota outdoors," Coach Veggieburg thundered cheerfully to his shivering players huddled in the dugout as the cold rain pelted the base paths.
"We have to sweep these guys to prove we have the best team and the best ballpark in the majors," he continued. He looked around for the team mascot. "Where's that bear? We need him out there firing up the crowd."
"He's in the club room warming up on hot tea," Third Baseman Quick Bunto reported. "He said he was going to sit out the rest of the season. Not only that, he wants to be traded to Phoenix."
"Forget the mascot," Coach Veggieburg grumped. "Let's get nine guys out there ready to give these fans a thrilling outdoor game. Okay, Eldred Spin, you will bat lead-off."
"Gee whiz, Coach," Spin responded. "I haven't had my pneumonia shot yet."
"You'll play even if you die out there," Coach said firmly as he looked out across acres of real grass. Then he spotted movement in the outfield. "Say, are those Huskies pulling a sled out there in left field?"
"We'll get them out of here," Mow Erland, the chief groundskeeper, promised. "They think this is the St. Paul Winter Carnival."
"Bighit Tomee, are you ready to swing a heavy bat as designated hitter?"
"Well, not really," Bighit replied sheepishly. "I had two stents put in over the winter and my doctor says I shouldn't do anything strenuous when the temp drops below 50."
"That means you'll miss half the season in this wonderful north country outdoor ballpark," muttered Batboy Billy as he pulled his winter underwear down on his left leg. He preferred the Metrodome where the weather was predictable.
"We've had three inches of rain today," observed Leftfielder Lighter Hudson. "If we say that the 'ducks are on the pond,' the ducks will be on the pond."
"I'm not complaining," Dorad Cassolla, the base-stealing shortstop offered. "It will make sliding into bases really slick. In fact, we'll all be sliding into bases whether we are stealing or not."
The bullpen phone rang.
"We can't get the pitchers warmed up," the voice on the other end complained. Veggieburg spit in disgust.
So did the rest of the team.
Just then Billy pointed to the whitening diamond. "Look!" he declared in disbelief. "The rain is turning into little balls of white ice,"
Veggieburg was more concerned about the umpires. "What?" he roared as the crew chief signaled no game. "The game is called for a little rain? That means we'll have to play a triple-header tomorrow to make up for both yesterday and today."
"Who cares about the weather when you can play in this magnificent splendiferous open air ballpark under the stars?" Billy asked rhetorically. No one answered him but he is now the backup batboy in Rochester.
Lloyd Omdahl served as North Dakota's 34th Lieutenant Governor of the state from 1987 to 1992. Previously he was a professor of political science at the University of North Dakota. He continues to write columns for newspapers across the state of North Dakota.