About a fourth of the Devils Lake delegation had never seen a big league ball game. The first game was just about as big league as you can get. For one thing, Metropolitan Stadium was a complete sellout—without even standing room available. During batting practice the big scoreboard began flashing "Twins O Grams," and among the first was HELLO, DEVILS LAKE. There was a big cheer from the Devils Lakers, but Leo Janowski from the nearby town of Munich protested, "How about a hello for Munich?" Paul Lange explained that Munich was part of the Devils Lake setup, and if the scoreboard said hello to Munich it would have to say hello to Petersburg, Lakota, Cando and Minnewaukan as well. By that time, the scoreboard was flashing WELCOME, BUTTE AND BILLINGS, and that ended the discussion.
As the first game began, everybody was tensed up. But nobody was prepared for the thrill—in the very first inning of the series—of seeing Roger Maris hit a home run and Mickey Mantle follow with another one to send the Yankees off to a 4-0 lead. The reaction in the Devils Lake section to the second of the back-to-back four-baggers was a kind of stunned silence at first. Then Yankee and Twin fans alike went crazy. Some of the Munich fellows were angry, though. They complained that people coming down the aisles had blocked their view of the Roger Maris homer. Leo Janowski yelled to Paul Lange, "How about making reservations right now for next year so we can get some decent seats without the view being cut off by people in the aisles?" Another fellow yelled to the late arrivals, "Down in front once! You'd make a better door than a window!"
As the series progressed (the Yanks took all three games and dumped the Twins into third place), even those who had never seen a big league game before became outspoken critics. Ed Bottolfson, 64-year-old Devils Laker, a semipro player in his youth, said that modern baseball is just a game of cheap home runs and sensational catches in the outfield. "Heck," he said, "anyone could catch a fly ball one-handed with those basket-size gloves they use. We had gloves about half that size in my day, and the ball wasn't so lively that every Tom, Dick and Harry could hit it over the fence."
Balzer Kurtz said he had no complaints: he had won the $50 jackpot for total runs scored. Bert Wick said, "Well, we got HELLO DEVILS LAKE on the scoreboard three times. That ought to give the folks back home a big kick." Leo Janowski said, "How about a big kick for Munich next year, huh?" Paul Lange said maybe this could be arranged and added that, all in all, it had been a wonderful excursion and a good time had been had by all.
This certainly included the Twins' management. The total attendance of 120,956 for the series was a new record since the club had been moved from Washington. It would not have been anything near that figure without the special parties coming in from towns like Devils Lake (and Munich). They'll probably come again next summer, and it won't matter too much where the Twins are in the standings. For there is more to a baseball pilgrimage than ball games and battles for first place. There's the beer and the singing and the good fellowship—and, for the foreseeable future, more pleasant dreams for Calvin R. Griffith.