If you saw Friday’s sports section of the Daily Globe — which I assume you all did (or will if you’re reading this on Thursday evening right after I posted it) — you already know the Division II American Legion baseball tournament is going on in Luverne this weekend.
All of the 11 games of the state tournament will be played on Redbird Field, a beautiful ballpark that was severely damaged by the June flooding and is now fixed up with new sod and ready for action. Legion games will run from 9:30 a.m. until approximately 9 p.m. Friday, from 9 a.m. until about 9:30 p.m. Saturday and from 11:30 a.m. until about 4 p.m. Sunday — the last of those games being the Division II state championship game, which is slated to begin at 2 p.m. Sunday. If all that doesn’t quench your thirst for hardball, the Luverne Redbirds are scheduled to play the Wilmont Cardinals in a Region 13C Tournament amateur baseball game late Friday night following the final legion game.
When I was growing up in New Richland — population 1,200 — there was not very much to do on a typical summer night without traveling 25-30 miles. I always told people that if they needed to find me in the summer, first check St. Olaf Lake. If I wasn’t there, check the baseball field in town. If I was nowhere to be found at either of those places, it might be best to send out a search party.
Between playing baseball — whether it be youth, VFW, legion or amateur ball — coaching Little League, watching games from the levels in which I couldn’t play and covering games, a great deal of my summers have been spent on or near a baseball field since I was 5 years old. After 23 years of this, one might think it’d be easy to be a little burnt out on baseball. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. With (maybe) the lone exception of being out on the lake, there really is nothing better in my mind on a warm summer night than taking in a baseball game.
This weekend, the eight best American Legion baseball teams in the state will be playing right in our backyard. (Not to mention a couple pretty darn good amateur teams). According to my meteorology sources (see: weather.com), it looks like the weather will be great with highs in the lower-80s and lows in the lower-60s. In other words, picture perfect baseball weather.
What I’m saying is, if you’re looking for something to do this weekend, why not go catch a ballgame or two in Luverne? All signs point to it being a fun weekend with tons of great baseball. What could be better?