Age takes a bite out of town-ball tradition

“One of these days I’m going to spend summer nights in Minnesota communities where town ball is still a thing,” I often say to myself at roughly this time every year. I was inspired by this Star Tribune video a few years ago. Maybe I better hurry up.

The Echo Press in Alexandria today carries the obituary of the Brandon-Evansville Bluedogs, who have folded after being in the Resorters Baseball League since 2001.

Cause of death: Age.

“Of our 11 veterans, we had three that were not going to play this year and many with potential conflicts throughout the schedule,” Bluedogs player Mike Bruns told the paper. “In the end, we needed five to seven new players to fill out our roster. With no access to B-E kids due to them all playing for Millerville, we really had nowhere to turn to recruit more players. Other things contributed, but it boils down to a numbers thing.”

The team won its division a few times, and qualified for the state tournament occasionally, but Bruns said there were no younger players to add to the roster to replace the men of a certain age.

  • I have a glove and will travel. I’m not any good, but I have heart.

  • Gary F

    Head to Stearns County. Lake Henry, Meir Grove, Rosco, Spring Hill, St Martin……….

    A lovely way to spend a Sunday afternoon. Find some city kids or some people that used to be kids and make a day road trip out of it.

    I made a couple trips up with my dad before he passed. He played for Lake Henry many moons ago.

  • Erik Petersen

    Lamentable for this town at this moment. We’re obviously talking about a certain demographic phenomena that afflicts some rural towns. But townball is not dying, it’s
    robust. There are 300 – 400 amateur baseball clubs in Minnesota and I have doubts that will be diminished in much way over the next several generations.

    Townball is townball because there is a recruitment radius that stipulates your town’s eligible players come from say 15 miles and closer. So if you are barren of young men or in an isolated spot, that’s problematic with no great ways to overcome it.

  • MikeB

    Head down to Marshall, MN where town ball is still thriving. They have a small airport as well to make the trip

    • I’d love to do that. Is the ballfield anywhere within walking distance of the air strip?

      • MikeB

        If by walking distance you mean 2-3 miles, then yes

      • MikeB
      • Justin McKinney

        The airfield is a straight shot down the road from the airstrip. It’s 1.1 miles, according to Google Maps. Let me know when you’re in town, I do the PA announcing at the home games when I don’t have scheduling conflicts. I’d be honored to sit down and visit with you, perhaps purchase you a beverage at one of our fine local establishments!