I was sitting at the Twins game against Seattle Wednesday night with my flip phone buried in a bag that I take to the game with newspapers to read, a radio that I occasionally turn on, and a few pens. Sitting the row ahead of me were six guys, one of them cheering loudly for Seattle as the others laughed, albeit embarrassingly it seemed.
I later found out they were all from Seattle and were in town for the week on business. They were alternately loud and then quiet, depending on how their team was doing. But, fun guys to talk to, conversant about baseball, and filled with praise about Minneapolis after three days in town.
What struck me the most about them was that when I looked up in the second inning before getting to know them, five were on their phones. These guys were in the 40s, seemed to like baseball, and yet their noses were buried in their phones. The sixth guy was off to a concession stand on a beer run, otherwise there might have been six on their phones - scrolling through the screen, texting, or who knows what. Those guys appeared to be in their 40s, thus not qualified to be millennials (those born from 1981to 1996). If they were millennials, I could sort understand them buried in their phones, even on a beautiful baseball night with a beer in hand.
Then again, I'm from the Silent Generation (born from 1928 to 1945), even though I didn't know until I looked it up today that there was such a group. And then there's the Baby Boomers (1946-1964), Generation X (1965-1980), the previously-mentioned millennials, Generation Z (1997-2010) and those up-and coming Gen Alphas (2011-2025), many of whom have not even been thought of yet. The years for those groups vary, according to source, but you get the idea.
When I saw those guys with their eyes on the phone instead of on the game, I thought of a New York Times story I saw recently that had the headline, "Our phones are stressing us out." So I decided those guys were unknowingly stressing themselves.
The story in the Times said that "an increasing body of evidence suggests that the time we spend on our smartphones is interfering with our sleep, self-esteem, relationships, memory, attention spans, creativity, productivity and problem-solving and decision-making skills." if you made it through that list that covers almost everything, without a breath, good for you. It's such a typical description of the woes that befall us today. Oh woe is me.
But wait, there's more. "By chronically raising levels of cortisol, the body's main stress hormone, our phones may be threatening our health and shortening our lives," the story went on to say. OK, i think way too many hours are spent on smartphones by those who have them. But is it that bad?
The story said cortisol is our primary fight-or-flight hormone and that its release triggers physiological changes, such as spikes in blood pressure, heart rate and blood sugar. It wouldn't be bad, author Catherine Price told us, if those things happened only occasionally. But, she wrote, the average American spends four hours a day staring at their smartphone and keeps it within arm's reach nearly all the time. (Four hours, really?)
And any time you check your phone, she wrote, you're likely to find something else stressful waiting for you, leading to a spike in cortisol and another craving to check your phone. And that cycle leads to chronically elevated cortisol levels, which leads to increased risk of depression, obesity, metabolic syndrome, Type 2 diabetes, fertility issues, high blood pressure, (breath here) heart attack, dementia and stroke. The writer quoted Dr. Robert Lustig (we don't know his station in life) as saying that every chronic disease is exacerbated by stress. "And our phones are absolutely contributing to this," he said.
A few days later there was a letter to editor of the Star Tribune, which had run the story, complaining about smartphones — the slew of ads on them, the robocalls, tiny keyboards, requests to buy a new app, etc., etc.
Now you understand, my friends who poke fun at me for having a flip phone, why I have a flip phone. I might have a stress or two but not like those people who have smartphones. I have a friend who said he never wanted a phone smarter than him. But now he has one. And I think his stress level has risen greatly. I'll hold onto that flip phone.
Daily diary for the 2019 Twins
Saturday, June 8 — How many guys are benched after hitting three homers the previous game? That's what happened to Max Kepler Friday night in the Twins' 6-3 win at Detroit. I doubt if that has ever happened. By the way, only one other player in the long history of the Cleveland Indians has ever hit three homers against the Tribe - a guy by the name of Ted Williams. The home run barrage continued Friday night as the Twins hit three more. The first, a two-run homer, gave them a 2-1 lead, the next tied the game at 3-3, and the final one gave the team a 4-3 lead. Byron Buxton "stole" another run again by turning a single into a double. I don't think anyone else would have even tried to get a double on that play. I was going to offer the opinion today that Williams Astudillo was getting too much playing time and not producing. Then I opened the paper this morning and saw that he had been sent down. He's a great guy and gives a manager some flexibility defensively. But he chases way too many pitches out of the strike zone. Maybe he'll be back.
Sunday, June 9 — It was an ugly 9-3 loss to Detroit yesterday and the Twins are 6-5 in the last 11 games after a six-game wining streak. Detroit has played Minnesota well so far (3-3 in six games) and reminds you that a team can't take any major league team for granted. And Cleveland has beaten the Eastern Division-leading Yankees the last two days. There is no reason to panic but if the Twins don't win today (Sunday) with Jake Odorizzi pitching, leading the league in ERA and winner of eight games in a row, going against a pitcher with an ERA of 6.23, there will be a few fans hitting the panic button.
Monday, June 10 — Four homers, another good pitching job by Odorizzi who actually lowered his ERA a few hundredths to 1.92 (hard to do when it's under 2.00 like his is) and the Twins continued their penchant for winning the next game after a loss with a 12-2 win over the Tigers.. It was an impressive display of hitting and pitching. Forty-five percent of the team's hits have gone for extra bases. That's an unreal number. Of the first 14 of the team's 17 hits against Detroit yesterday, 12 were to the opposite field, meaning the hitters weren't trying to pull everything. It was the 18th game with three or more homers this year, the ninth with four or more. And the lead over Cleveland is back to 10 1/2 games.
Tuesday, June 11 — It was an off day for the Twins Monday so we'll look in on some ex-Twins and their 2019 seasons so far. Brandon Kintzler, Minnesota's closer in 2016 and 2017, is with the Cubs and has a 2-0 record and a 2.51 ERA. He's a set-up guy, has been in 28 games and has 26 strikeouts in 28 innings. Kurt Suzuki had a 5-RBI game with Washington a couple days ago and, as a part-time catcher for the Nats, has 6 homers, 27 RBIs and is hitting a respectable .278. Remember that he had an All-Star season with Minnesota? Brian Dozier is also on the Washington team and after a terrible April is hitting .281 in May and June. He has three homers in 7 starts in June and has 10 for the season. Five of his June starts have been two-hit games. Lance Lynn was a bust with the Twins in 2017 (7-8, 5.10 ERA) but is 7-4 with the Texas Rangers so far in 2018.
Wednesday, June 12 —The 6-5 win by the Twins over Seattle last night was the kind of game teams have when they win a division (still too early to predict that). Minnesota trailed 5-3 in the eighth inning and sent out a reliever who had given up 10 runs in less than two innings his last three appearances. But he pitched a 1-2-3 inning, the Twins went ahead with three runs, the last on a two-out single by a guy who had struck out three times, and then reliever Trevor May gave up two hits in the ninth, with no outs, before pitching a scoreless inning with the aid of a strikeout on a ball clearly out of the strike zone against Seattle's most dangerous hitter. There were two more homers for the team and a three-hit night for Jorge Polanco, leading the All-Star voting for shortstops in the American League
Thursday, June 13 — What a terrible game! I mean the 9-6 loss last night in 10 innings to Seattle. Five errors, a wasted one-run six-inning performance by starter Jose Berrios, and a 432-foot homer by Byron Buxton to send the game into extra innings, and a late-night ride back on commuter rail to Elk River that put me back in Princeton after 12:30 a.m. All that after getting on to a train that left Elk River at 5:13 for Target Field. It was a disastrous night that covered about eight hours. As mentioned the last couple weeks, those games happen once in awhile. The Twins didn't lose a bit of their lead because the Cleveland Indians also lost. I expect the team to rebound today, as it has all year following a bad game.
Friday, June 14 — Sure enough — even though there were some scary moments the last two innings, the team had built up a 10-1 lead over Seattle and came away with a 10-5 win Thursday afternoon that included a couple more homers, some key hits, and a good outing by starter Michael Pineda. It's become commonplace to expect the team to put the previous day's disaster out of their minds and now the Twins have an 11-game lead as Kansas City (21-46) comes to town on Joe Mauer Weekend. And the World Series champion Red Sox are here Monday through Wednesday — that should provide another measuring stick. I will do this only one more time this summer, I promise: The Twins are 45-22 and if they play .500 ball (48-47) the rest of the way, Cleveland needs to go 59-36 (.621) just to tie Minnesota. That's a tall order. Of course, the Twins might not play at a .500 clip the rest of they way.
PRINCETON SPORTS MEMORIES
June 18, 1959 - The Princeton summer baseball program had 200 enrolled at various levels. Fine gravel was mixed in with the clay from the year before to make a better infield on the main field south of South Elementary (used by the Legion and high school teams). Another field, for younger players, was west of South Elementary . . .The Legion team beat Mora 6-4, Bob Nick getting two hits andreliever Luther Dorr striking out 10 in five innings.
June 18, 1964 - Terry Erickson pitched a 5-hitter and struck out 12 as the Princeton town team beat Zimmerman 4-3. Rollie Benson and Joe Erickson. Terry's brother, each had two hits for Princeton.
June 18, 1969 - Tom Miller had three hits and brother Al Miller pitched a 4-hit shutout for the Legion team in a 7-0 win over Foley . . . The town team beat Nowthen in 10 innings, 7-6, after trailing 4-0. John Orozco went the distance for the win and Luther Dorr had 3 hits.
June 19, 1974 - Dan Kne and Mike Arnold combined to shut out Rush City in town team baseball, 4-0 . . . Dave Mingo pitched seven innings of shutout relief in three Legion baseball wins, Mingo and Tom Rogde combining to shut out Braham.
June 21, 1979 - Mark Tadych, Scott Knoll and Joel Johnson were all-conference in baseball . . . Dave Mingo pitched a 3-hitter and struck out 10 in a 3-0 town team win over the Forest Lake Lakers. It was his second straight shutout . . . The Legion team won three games as Les Nelson had six hits and pitched one of the wins.
June 21, 1984 - Tim Vagle pitched a 1-hiitter in a 10-0 win over Chisago Lakes in Legion baseball . . . The town baseball team, starting the season late, had doubleheader sweeps of Dassel-Cokato and St. Cloud Coke . . . The St. Cloud Times named Brian Dorr its Class AA baseball player of the year.
June 15, 1989 - Patti VanDeRiet and Rachel Brown were all-conference in softball . . . Three wins gave the Princeton Legion team 46 straight wins ini league play, matching a 1977 streak . . . The Princeton Panthers beat Rush City 15-5 as winning pitcher Chris Klinghagen homered, with Brian Dorr and Luther Dorr each driving in four runs.
June 23, 1994 - Jeremy Hennessey and Pete Olene were all-conference in baseball . . . R. W. Builders finished third in the Rum River Festival softball tournament, losing twice to eventual champion Triple Crown of St. Cloud.
June 17, 1999 - Eric Deglman pitched a no-hitter for the Legion team in a 5-1 win over Mora as No. 9 hitter Dave Porttiin hit a grand-slam homer . . . The Princeton Panthers scored 45 runs in three wins — 18-8 over the Forest Lake Brewers, 12-3 over Quamba and 15-2 over the Forest Lake Lakers. Mark Beattie,Troy Scheffel and Curt Wilison homered in the win over the Brewers. Home run hitters in the Quamba game were Jason Miller, Tony Stay, Ryan Jensen and Brian Dorr. Dorr, Beattie (back to back on consecutive pitches) and Stay homered in the Brewers game as Miller got the win and lowered his ERA to 1.16
June 24, 2004 - The Princeton Panthers stretched their winning streak to seven, beating Mora 7-2, Pine City 3-2. Quamba 5-0 and Isle 13-3. The wins went to Brian Knoll, Jason Miller, Tony Stay and Eric Deglman. The win over Mora came against Twins' draftee Josh Oslin. It was the second win for the Panthers over a Twins draftee, the other coming against Johnny Lynch of Elk River four years earlier.
June 18, 2009 - Jason Orton had a hole in one on the par-three No. 10 hole at the Princeton course . . . Jesse Zimmer, who once played in the high school all-star baseball series, was a coach for the North All-Star team at the Chaska field.
June 19, 2014 - All-conference awards went to Chance Parker in baseball, Melissa Hensley in softball and Thomas Mayerchak and Elliot Arens in tennis.
Dorr is the former editor of the Princeton Eagle (2 years) and Princeton Union-Eagle (31 years), and has covered sports in the Princeton area for 52 years.