MN Amateur Baseball
Minnesota is home to over 300+ amateur baseball teams across the state. This is governed by the MN Baseball Association over 3 classes. Class A is primarily the Twin Cities metro area. Larger suburban cities make up Class B. Class C consists of many towns, villages, and townships that include a bar, a church, and a ball field. Teams are a part of leagues, which advance to region tournaments. The season culminate to their respective State Tournaments.
Class C is where everyone knows amateur baseball by “town ball”. These teams consist of players anywhere from 15-16 years old to the Dads of those boys. These players may have played high school baseball, college, and even ex-minor league and professional players occasionally show up on a roster. But they all do it for one reason-the competition level and the camaraderie that follows on a Friday night or Sunday afternoon. They don’t do it for the money (there is none) as they go back to their regular jobs on Monday.
One local league to MaxBat is the Stearns County League. The SCL is rich in history, folklore, and family. Generations of grandfathers, uncles, dads, cousins, and sons have come through a lineage of town ball players dating back to the 1930s that worked on the farm and played ball on Sundays after church. Often, the local SCL clubs would have multiple sons and other relation in the starting lineups. Traditions and rivalries run deep for 9 innings at a time, but the post game celebrations seem to always include both teams as the friendships and family come together. Sundays in the SCL matter, but the real tournament in August is the Region 15C tournament.
Region 15C is one of the most storied playoff tournaments in MN amateur baseball. Win/loss records are thrown out the window over the course of 2 weekends, as games are played in towns of a couple hundred people and mini family reunions gather at the diamond. Attendance records have been calculated of upwards of 3500 people partaking in the cheering, banter, and letting the umpire know he missed a call in those special 2 weekends leading up to the State Tournament. Everybody knows everybody here. Out of towners come to “Regions” to get a taste of what they get to experience every year, as a result it truly is a mini state tournament.
For 3 weekends at the end of August and into Labor Day Monday, 48 teams in Minnesota qualify for the Class C State Tournament. The location is shared year to year across the state at some of the finest ball fields that mirror minor league surfaces. Single day attendance records show numbers over 7,000 people and in 3 weekends, ascending up to 13,000-16,000 fans current day.
In conclusion, MN Amateur Baseball is special. This tourney is special. The quality of baseball is special. But the lasting relationships of this game in Minnesota are what make it truly special. This roughly 4 month season keeps everyone that is involved saying “there is always next year”. http://mnbaseball.org/