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In our own backyard...Two strikes - you're out!

Sometimes you don't get more than one chance in life, so I always say - go for it while you can. A couple of months ago, my family and I went to a Minnesota Twins baseball game at the new Target Field in Minneapolis. Just being in the new stadium...

Sometimes you don't get more than one chance in life, so I always say - go for it while you can.

A couple of months ago, my family and I went to a Minnesota Twins baseball game at the new Target Field in Minneapolis. Just being in the new stadium was a thrilling experience on its own, but floating around in my mind was the thought of getting my "Circle Me Bert" poster "circled" by former Twins pitching-great-turned-announcer Bert Blyleven and getting on TV.

Blyleven started the campaign a few years ago to get fans to bring posters to the stadium, and since then it has become something of a phenomenon, with fans going to great extremes to create eye-catching posters in hopes of attracting Bert's eye and getting their poster on television.

I failed miserably. I had decided to make my sign out of light-weight plastic, and just as I held it up when a television cameraman came our way, the wind whipped it around and made it unreadable.

And then, the one time that Fox Sports North's in-the-stands announcer Robbie Incmakowski came into our section to interview selected poster holders, I was thwarted once again when my husband inadvertently stood on the bottom of mine before I could heft it up.

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My husband was lucky enough to get tickets from a business associate for last Saturday's Twins' game against the Atlanta Braves. I realized this was my opportunity to turn my luck around and come up with a really good "Circle Me Bert" poster, in hopes of getting it on TV.

Since Blyleven had been hoping for years to get into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame with no success, I decided the one thing that would really attract his eye would be to create a fictional newspaper headline announcing that he had, indeed, been inducted into the Hall. I figured it would also be a good way to showcase our local newspaper as well!

I downloaded one of the Pine Journal's recent front pages from our files, imported a couple of old photos of Blyleven during his heyday with the Minnesota Twins, and changed the headline to read, "Blyleven inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame."

I had it enlarged to jumbo-size and I could hardly wait to bring it with me to the ball game, certain that this time my poster would attract the eye of Incmakowski and hopefully Blyleven himself.

About midway through the game, Incmakowski walked down the aisle of our section. My heart virtually stopped as he drew nearer and nearer - and then he walked right past, to a family grouping in the front row who had been holding up a "Circle Me Bert" poster of their own. As jealousy reared its ugly head, I plotted as to just how I could get his attention before the opportunity disappeared out of my life forever.

After Incmakowski did the live TV spot with the family in the front row, he headed back up the aisle with microphone in hand. I held up my poster and waved it in his direction, and just as he passed our row he glanced my direction. And then, wonder of wonders, he leaned forward, squinted his eyes to read the headline at the top of my simulated newspaper page, and then looked me squarely in the eye and said, "I'll come back and see you next year....." - hinting that 2011 might just be the year Blyleven gets inducted into the MLBA Hall of Fame.

My whole body slouched as I felt the agony of defeat once again.

After the game, I rolled up my poster and tucked it under my arm as we filed out. All of a sudden my husband grabbed my poster and hustled up to the uniformed guard at the door to the FSN press box.

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"I wonder if you'd give this to Bert Blyleven?" he asked the guard.

"I'd be more than happy to!" she proclaimed and disappeared through the door to the press box with it.

Whether Bert actually saw it, or if he had any clue where it came from, I will never know (though my byline and e-mail address were on the newspaper page). But secretly, I keep hoping that maybe someday he'll e-mail me and tell me I've been "circled...." at last!

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