After spending his summer traversing the country from ballpark to ballpark, senior writer Steve Rushin, whose World Series story begins on page 16, was grateful that more than half of the Fall Classic took place on familiar turf. A native of Bloomington, Minn., Rushin grew up in a house located barely a line drive away from Metropolitan Stadium, then the home of both the Minnesota Twins and the Vikings.
As a teenager, Rushin got paid to watch baseball and football games by donning the brown-plaid polyester of the Metrodome's commissary staff and selling hot dogs and soft drinks to Twins and Vikings fans (for one year he also took in hockey in the pine-green polyester worn by vendors at the Met Center, home of the Minnesota North Stars). Today Rushin waxes nostalgic about the now razed Metropolitan Stadium, whose site will soon house more than 800 stores, making it the largest shopping mall in the United States. "It's nauseating to think that above where Fran Tarkenton once scrambled, there's going to be an Orange Julius or a Gap," he says.
After graduating from Marquette in 1988, Rushin joined SI, where he moved from reporter to senior writer with the speed of a Steve Avery fastball. Shortly after he achieved writer status 14 months ago—at 25, he is the magazine's youngest writer—we shuffled Rushin back to the Twin Cities to cover hometown reaction to the North Stars' first appearance in a Stanley Cup final in 10 years. The 15,000-plus crowds that jammed the Met Center for Cup games were a shock to Rushin, who hadn't seen a crowd that large in the arena in years—and certainly not when he and the rest of the Kennedy High School Class of '84 held their graduation exercises there.
Rushin has been on the baseball beat for two years, and he assures us that despite his Twin Cities roots, he has remained objective while covering the Twins. In fact, he claims to have been a fan more of the Cincinnati Reds than of the hapless Twinkies of his childhood. As he puts it, "I didn't exactly worship Hosken Powell and Bombo Rivera."
Rushin has lived in New York City for the last three years, but he plans to spend much of baseball's off-season in the Bloomington area, the better to catch next year's Super Bowl and NCAA Final Four, both of which will be held in Minneapolis. In February he'll swap the subzero climate of Minnesota for the chills and thrills of Albertville, France, where he'll report on the Winter Olympics. "What could possibly top the Stanley Cup, World Series, Super Bowl and Final Four?" asks Rushin. "I think you know: the majesty of ice dancing."
Rushin remained one impartial Minnesotan.