The other day I took a shot at nicknaming Jon Rauch "STFD" -- and offered people a chance to email me if they couldn't decipher the initials, which are a knockoff on a web acronym for asking someone (not to pleasantly) to keep quiet. A few dozen people took advantage of the link and I think I got back to almost everyone.
One person emailed: "Howard, I'm a little out of touch over here. What exactly does STFD stand for?"
I emailed back and then the next email came, explaining "over here":
"I'm stationed out of Ft. Campbell on the border of Kentucky and Tennessee with the 101st Airborne. While there or in Iraq (May 2008-February 2009) or here in Afghanistan (since January) the last thing I do each day is read the Star Tribune online. I'm 41 and I still remember every detail of my first Twins game: it was the day after my 8th birthday and my uncle took me to see the Twins beat the Royals 9-8 on June 8th, 1977."
Capt. Anthony Soika, currently in Khost, Afghanistan, wrote that as casually as if he'd written about being at the Park Tavern on Saturday afternoon or at Kieran's before going over to Target Field.
Tony copied me on some emails he's been sending to friends and family: "In the Khost province where we're located, we are required to have the [base] blacked out at night. If you need to go anywhere (the mess hall, the PX, the gym) then you use a small flashlight with a red lens. If the door to a building is left open in the evening such that light spills out, normally a half dozen voices will yell to shut it before the enemy sights in on the light and shoots."
I'll keep that in mind tonight when I'm watching the Twins and Brewers in the basement with the lights on and Blackberry beeping and youngsters coming and going with the night's biggest enemy being Prince Fielder (and its fastest one Carlos Gomez).
I know better than almost all of you that we're a far-flung group, but every now and again someone writes something that brings me to a complete stop and makes me appreciate the communities that we can create on the web. There's Shawn in Binghamton who moved to Texas... JimCrikket who lives in Iowa even though he's a Fort Myers and Target Field semi-regular... The guy who knows all the landmarks along Hwy. 10... The baseball coach in California... Several of you have a Twins community here while living among fans of the East Coast baseball superpowers.
The Section 219 community includes many folks who live well outside of home-delivery range.
The Section 219 community also offers up great memories sometimes. After last week's Live Chat, one of the participants sent me this:
For you, the main event is Kirby Puckett. For me, it's the man on the left, Sherm Seeker, who was the Twins corporate chef back when Calvin Griffith owned the team and for some years after.
Calvin wanted good food, Sherm cooked good food.
I had an inside source with the Twins who would call me when Sherm was cooking ribs -- a two-day process -- so I would know to skip lunch on those days.
Sherm's son sent the photo, which I'm sharing with you, and some advice about cooking ribs, which I'm not.