'Matter of Laugh or Death,' a humor column
By Bill Dunn
Interesting observations on this thing we call life
(appearing each week in the Republican-American newspaper, Waterbury, CT)
THE TWISTERS ARE GONE WITH THE WIND
Last night was Opening Night for the New England Collegiate Baseball League. The team known since 1997 as the Torrington Twisters did not play in Fuessenich Park in downtown Torrington. They played instead at Paul Walsh Field in New Bedford, Mass. Also, the team now is called the New Bedford Bay Sox. As most area baseball fans know, the Twisters, one of the original franchises when the league was formed 12 years ago, no longer exists.
I suppose we could continue to complain about the team’s owners, the two Massachusetts businesswomen, Robin Wadsworth and Rita Hubner, who purchased the franchise before last season, and insisted all year they wanted to keep the Twisters in Torrington—right up until the moment they hosted a party in a New Bedford restaurant to unveil the Bay Sox’s new name, new uniforms, and new long-term agreement with the new host city.
I suppose we could continue to refer to them as carpet baggers or the sinister soul mates of Walter O’Malley. But then most likely we’d be forced to explain to young people the details of post-Civil War reconstruction along with the sudden and stunning relocation of the beloved Dodgers from Brooklyn to Los Angeles in 1957. And, of course, by the time we finished giving impromptu lessons on the basics of American history we’d forget all about the Twisters and start complaining about the woeful state of education these days. (“You studied the Civil War in school, didn’t you? No, that was NOT when the British bombed Pearl Harbor!!”)
Anyway, I started thinking about the Twisters the other day when I noticed my computer still has a link to the Twisters’ Web site. If you click the link now, not surprisingly, the screen displays nothing, since the Twisters’ Web site has the same status as the team: defunct.
Out of curiosity, I then went to the official Web site of the league, necbl.com. If you type in after the .com this: “/teams/torrington.htm” you will see an old Web page with the Twisters’ black and orange tiger logo prominently displayed. (At least that page was there a week ago. Someone might have finally noticed and deleted it from the league’s Web site by now.) The page also listed a Torrington phone number, Fuessenich Park as the home field, and Gregg Hunt as the manager. As I looked at the page, it almost felt like someone was rubbing salt into a wound. All that information is (since I’ve already referred to the Civil War) gone with the wind.
The official New Bedford Bay Sox Web site offers this declaration at the top of its home page: “Member of the New England Collegiate Baseball League Since 1997.” Excuse me? How about a little truth in advertising, Robin and Rita? The Bay Sox have been a member of the league only since your little restaurant party less than six months ago. Let’s not rewrite history, please. At least give our defunct Torrington franchise a little credit.
Now that the 2009 season has officially begun, the reality of the Twisters’ departure is finally hitting home. There will be no hopeful college athletes chasing a dream in downtown Torrington this summer. There will be no crack of genuine wooden bats echoing across the Naugatuck river on warm, starry nights.
I hope American Legion games and other local teams will keep baseball alive at Fuessenich. (Although the ping of metal bats is just such an annoying sound.)
As Joni Mitchell sang, “You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.” The Twisters are really gone. And that is sad.
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