Despite temperatures expected to hover around 39 degrees on April 5 here in the still snow-capped Bold North, the Minnesota Twins hosted the Seattle Mariners for their home opener at Target Field. (No word on whether Ichiro and company brought hand warmers.) One fan braving Minnesota's winter revival to take in the game was Kyle Traynor, M.D. But Dr. Traynor, a Mayo Clinic OB/GYN specialist, took a chair in the Twins' press box, where he served as one of the team's three official scorers.
It's an enviable side gig (to us, at least) that he's held for quite some time. And it's one he tells The Athletic has, surprisingly, a few things in common with his work at Mayo Clinic. "Obstetrics can be hours of boredom sparked by moments of sheer terror," Dr. Traynor tells reporter Jim Caple. "Baseball can be a little of the same. The routine, mundane play, the 6-3 or 5-3 or fly out to left field — that doesn't take a lot of thought and a lot of brains, and it's not anxious. But when it gets anxious, it gets anxious in a hurry."
And when it does, Dr. Traynor says everyone involved wants the final call to be flawless, much like in the delivery room, where families, understandably, expect their "outcome to be absolutely perfect … no matter the difficulties you're faced with." Baseball, he tells The Athletic, "is the same thing. Both teams want it to be the way they want it no matter what."
At the ballpark, not surprisingly, "every once in a while" there's a call players or coaches will protest, The Athletic reports. "You know whatever way you call it, the other team is going to take the other side of that," Dr. Traynor says.
Still, it's a job Dr. Traynor enjoys. And one that during a guest announcer appearance for a recent Minnesota Gophers baseball game, he said came about largely through "lucky timing." He was working as a scorer for the Rochester Honkers Northwoods League baseball team when he met the Twins' organist. Dr. Traynor asked if she knew the Twins' official scorers and if she'd give one of them his card. "I just wanted to talk to somebody who did that job for the majors," Dr. Traynor says. "One thing led to another, and he became my mentor."
In time, Dr. Traynor was called up from the minors, and his shot at the Big Leagues finally came. "They needed a backup at Target Field, and that was my call-up," Dr. Traynor says. The rest, as they say, is baseball history.
Dr. Traynor also scores games for the St. Paul Saints. You can listen to him talk more about that, as well as his work at Mayo Clinic, here. Then step up to the plate and leave your comments below before using the handy social media tools atop this page to share this story with others.