Old Guys Playing Baseball?

saintslogoSo today, the St. Paul Saints are having their yearly try-outs in which they take all comers. Yes, it is snowing  – which is why I think they postponed the activity from yesterday to today – but from what I have heard, they are going ahead today. At least the website still says that they are going today.

So if you’re dying to play professional baseball and think you have the stuff, you should head over to Midway Stadium – at least if you’re young and vigorous, right?

Paul Risso pitch_400

Paul Risso, a 60-year-old pitcher from New Mexico who will try out for the St. Paul Saints on Thursday, May 2, 2013, is shown pitching during the Mens Senior Baseball League – Phoenix 55+ World Series in a 2009 photo. (Photo courtesy of Paul Risso)

So here’s the thing. One of the guys who will be “auditioning” today is 60 yo Paul Risso. Yes, you read that right. He’s 6-0 years old – as in “born in 1952.”

According to the Pioneer Press story, Risso had a promising career back in college when kids normally are drafted to play professional baseball: son of Giants prospect, Albert Risso; promising right-handed pitcher from San Mateo College in California; drafted by they Pittsburgh Pirates in the sixth round; but… A torn rotator cuff ended all that in 1973 as they didn’t have the medical technology to make those diagnoses or repairs.

Paul Risso mug_200

Paul Risso, a 60-year-old pitcher from New Mexico who will try out for the St. Paul Saints on Thursday, May 2, 2013, in a 2011 photo. (Photo courtesy of Paul Risso)

Mr. Risso went on with life without baseball as a civil engineer but always with the shoulder pain that had killed the baseball option – that is until about 10 years ago. For whatever reason, the shoulder had repaired itself, gotten stronger and the pain went away so… he started throwing again. He still throws a fastball around 84 miles an hour, which is nothing to sneeze at.

Risso is the oldest player ever to try out for the Saints but he’s certainly not the only “old guy” who wants to play baseball over there. And he’s NOT the oldest guy to actually play for the Saints. Other senior players include a 53 yo Knuckleballer (always a fav) named Jon Secrist and Minnie Minoso who was signed each in 1993 and 2003 with at-bats as a designated hitter so he could record professional play in 7 decades. Minoso is now 87 years old and you wonder if maybe they’ll throw him out there now that it’s 2013 to give him one more decade to make 8.

Of course, those are names none of you have ever even heard of so who else wants to play for the Saints this year? According FSN, Jose Conseco. Anyone else think it would be more entertaining to have Minoso again? At least Conseco is honest enough to admit that he is making the proposal purely for promotions’ sake – although whether it’s for his OWN promotion or the team would be hard to differentiate.

And the Saints have been known to do crazier things with players on the backside of their careers. Darryl Strawberry was attempting a legitimate comeback, which worked since he ended up back with the Yankees the next year.

jim-thome-25-mlbSo with all this attention to the Saints possible roster additions, has anyone reminded them that our dear friend, Jim Thome doesn’t have a home yet?? Now THAT would sell WAAAAAAY more tickets than Jose Conseco. Anyone have his email address??

I’m all for it! Let’s get some Old Guys Playing Baseball!

GameChat – Twins at Tigers, 6:08pm

The Twins start their second series of the season against the Detroit Tigers just a single game behind MoTown in the AL Central standings.  The Twins took two of three in the season opening series with Tigers despite dropping the Opening Day game against Verlander.  The Twins get off a little lighter tonight facing Max Scherzer.  The Twins will counter with the wildly ineffective Mike Pelfrey who is still less than one year removed from Tommy John surgery.

The Twins will need to get the bats going tonight in order to pick up a victory.



Dozier, 2B Jackson, A, CF
Mauer, C Dirks, LF
Willingham, DH Cabrera, M, 3B
Morneau, 1B Fielder, 1B
Parmelee, RF Martinez, V, DH
Plouffe, 3B Peralta, Jh, SS
Arcia, LF Avila, C
Hicks, CF Infante, 2B
Florimon, SS Kelly, D, RF
_Pelfrey, P _Scherzer, P


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Minnesota 1 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 3 6 0
Detroit 0 0 1 0 0 3 0 0 x 4 7 0

One really bad inning and it’s a loss to the Tigers. Not really much more to say about it than that. Pelfrey looked pretty good two times through the Detroit order, but that wasn’t good enough.

GameChat – Rangers @ Twins #2, 7:10 pm

Again, out running around – stole my brother’s computer actually to put this up because I brought the dog over to their house for a visit with the kiddos – so I’m likely to miss the first inning while sitting in god-awful traffic.


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Texas 2 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 4 13 2
Minnesota 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 3 8 1

I don’t know any more about what happened in this game than what I can read in the boxscore, but what I can read there is that Oswaldo Arcia took Twitchy Joe Nathan yard in the 9th inning to pull the Twins within one run of the Rangers.

Of course, that would have been a lot cooler if someone had figured out how to score another couple of runs. – JC

Ballpark 10 Commandments Part 5, revisited – FINAL!

We have finally arrived at the original conclusion – have I had suggestions for additional Commandments in the intervening years? yes. But I think if these simple guidelines for Ballpark Interactions were followed, we would enjoy ourselves a LOT more attending games.

And to the Target Field STAFF PERSON who thought it was funny to deliberately PHOTOBOMB my attempts to get pictures of Pelfrey? No, I was NOT joking when I said “I will take you OUT”… just try me.

I really need to go dig up the bookmarks I made with the Commandments on them so I could have handed him a copy and told him, “if you’re going to work here, study up.”

This is the final installment of the series for the 10 Commandments at a baseball game.  For a sport that is 150 years old, I would like to see it continue for at least another 150 years!

10. Thou shalt teach thy children the commandments.

This final commandment is near and dear to my heart.  I didn’t discover baseball when I was a child so I had to learn all the commandments the hard way.  It may seem counter-intuitive to include children in a discussion of societal rules and structure but the earlier they are exposed to how to work well with their neighbors the more natural it will be for them to respect others.  These lessons will carry on into their interactions at school, during other sporting events and at home with the family.  How can you argue with that?!

Please, bring kids to the game!  Let them enjoy baseball!  Let them enjoy the ballpark!

But understand that your unruly four year old kicking the seat in front of them (mine) or fighting with his six year old sister and knocking their soda onto the ground and into the row in front of them (mine) or just in general demanding constant attention, food, potty breaks, and distraction breaks the fundamental concept of respecting the other fans at the game (commandment #2).  I have taken more kids to games than I can literally count – I have a huge family and believe it’s a fundamental joy I can provide.  So I know what I’m talking about when I say it isn’t just expected that kids should be allowed to do whatever because they’re kids and others should be expected to deal with it.  B as in B and S as in S.  If you cannot control the kids you are bringing, take them away.  It’s your responsibility.  You are the adult – supposedly. 

But put in that effort!  Start early!  TEACH THEM!  There is nothing more emotive than a kid at a game who gets his/her first foul ball or learning about rally caps or catching that contagious enthusiasm from 35,000 people all screaming at a fantastic game of baseball.  I have experienced those exact things with various youngsters and I’ll remember those occasions for the rest of my life – and they have brought new fans to the game each time. This is a gift you can give the children in your life.  But again, it’s a privilege – and you BOTH have to earn it.

For those who have lost track of all the Commandments or would like to see them all together and share them, here’s a Powerpoint presentation.  Just click and save AND SHARE: Ballpark 10 Commandments or a the PDF

Ballpark 10 Commandments Part 4 – continued

We’re closing in on the final Commandments here..

Since so many people seem to be at loose ends tonight due to the postponed Twins game – boy, are WE out of practice! – I decided to go ahead and share the next installment:  commandments 8 & 9.

8. Thou shalt know thy limits.

Special Note:  This commandment was written BEFORE some of the fans in Philly lost their minds but I would like to offer their absolute lack of intelligent outcomes as proof of concept.  The girls over at Babes Love Baseball once again covered my feelings on that particular failing quite well.

Perhaps this would be more clearly understood if it said “thou shalt limit thy drunken misbehavior.” However, that in itself seems to be an unrealistic expectation.  Once you are already too drunk to know any better, you aren’t going to remember any of the commandments unless overwhelming respect for others is a part of your everyday makeup. 

 So, we’re back to KNOW YOUR LIMITS!  Please, if you like them and it’s legal for you, feel free to enjoy an adult beverage with whatever ballpark delectable you found on the concourse!!!  And boy, are the ballparks really doing it up with the good food these days.  Not only that but they are doing a great job with the options of adult beverages too!  But pace yourself.  No, we don’t want to see you jump in front of the guy four seats over from you who just showed up on the jumbotron camera.  No, we don’t want to hear slurred opinions shouted at the umpire an inning and a half after the play.  And Good GOD NO, we don’t want to see your naked ass streaking across the Outfield.  Do security a favor and don’t torture them with the painful sprint and the even more painful thought about where to safely grab you in an attempt to curb your misplaced enthusiasm.  That goes for all you guys too. ;)

9. Thou shalt dress appropriately.

Guys, I think we can almost leave you out of this one entirely.  For all your stereotypical lack of fashion sense in more unfamiliar occasions, as a general rule, you all seem to know how to dress to attend a baseball game.  Frequently, your date or companion is another story.

Girls, please understand that according to #2, other fans are there to see the GAME not you.  We appreciate it if you add to the general atmosphere rather than detract from it BUT it is not appropriate at any time for you to DISTRACT from it. 

First, if the heels are so high that you walk carefully when crossing the parking lot, you are going to look ridiculous attempting to make your way down the stairs going to your row and we aren’t going to even talk about the damage those spikes will do to the toes you will accidentally step on as you move in front of people to get to your seat.  Please, choose footwear that is appropriate to the terrain and hopefully the rest of your outfit.

Second, I’m going to say this politely, STADIUM SEATING!  That means that there are people above you looking down and people below you looking up.  If your neckline is so low we can see your navel, don’t wear it to the ballpark.  If your skirt is so short that you can’t bend over without showing cheek dimples, don’t wear it to the ballpark.  The guy in the row in front of you may be thrilled with the free panty show (I hope) you provide when he turns to look for a vendor but his wife doesn’t.  Besides, we’re really doing you a favor with this warning:  we’re talking plastic ballpark seats and sweat – it would be nice if you didn’t leave all the skin on the back of your legs behind when you get up to leave.

Thirdly, clothing that fits is preferable. There was one entire season where KL and I dealt with another season ticket holder in the row in front of us who could not find a way to make her shirt and jeans come together when she was standing up much less when she sat down.  And the underwear joke above was more serious than you want to know – she never wore any.  That season involved more butt crack than a plumbers’ convention.

Lastly, just as a general commentary on life at the ballpark, I personally will never appear in team wear that is not in team colors.  However, I do not necessarily fault those who want to wear the cute little team t-shirt in pink – as long as it follows the above directions!  If you are making the effort to dress in team wear, whatever the color, for your trip to the ballpark, I commend the effort.

Guys, if the girl you are with is breaking this commandment, you really need to consider if the situation is due to lack of baseball knowledge or lack of ballpark experience.  In which case, you should assist in her education.  If it is simply a matter of she wants to advertise the goods to everyone else at the park in addition to you, perhaps she’s not quite the girl to take to a game.

Minnesota Twins Podcast – Talk to Contact – Episode 33

Episode 33 of the Twins baseball podcast,  Talk To Contact (@TalkToContact), is now available for download via iTunes or by clicking here.


We ran into a slight audio issue this week, because Eric is bad at recording.  There is a slight echo on the recording for the first 25 minutes or so.  Sorry!

In Episode 33 Cody and Eric discuss the finer points of a five game losing streak, Oswaldo Arcia’s surprising call-up, what the do with a struggling Aaron Hicks, and we look at the general happenings around the league.

Cody and Eric both enjoy a Leinenkugel’s beer to remind them that summer is near.

Just a one hour show this week, but Cody and Eric are pretty cool dudes, so they make it work.

Thanks for listening!


You can follow Cody on Twitter (@NoDakTwinsFan) or read his writing at NoDakTwinsFan.  You can follow Paul on Twitter (@BaseballPirate) or read his writing at  Puckett’s Pond.  And of course, you can find me on Twitter (@ERolfPleiss) and read my writing here at Knuckleballs!

- ERolfPleiss