Pine Tar was born in Minnesota. Typically known as the State of Hockey, baseball isn’t always the first place considered a mecca for baseball.
I know. Hard to believe with snow on the ground 6 months out of the year and the spring high school season basically consists of the month of May.
But it is. In fact, with over 300 town ballparks across the state and one of the most unique amateur baseball cravings in the country, baseball is strong in Minnesota.
I feel grateful that I got to be part of one of those 300+ town ball teams. Starting when I was 18 and up until my last year of college, I played for the Avon Lakers. A small town of 1200 people and a rich history of baseball. A railroad town in the central Minnesota area of Lake Wobegon lore, it boasts one of the most beautiful ballparks around.
And this is just one of many small Minnesota towns with rich baseball history and an example of why baseball is still America’s game.
As my boys have grown up playing and loving baseball, I still get to visit new ballparks in communities that Ive not been to before. This past summer, my youngest son was able to play in the VFW State tournament held in Austin, Minnesota. Famous for Hormel and the Spam Museum, they have an older, historical park that is gorgeous. Marcuson Park to be specific.
Small ballparks? I love them.
One can typically tell a park has some history mainly by their light towers (if they even have lights). Usually built in the erector-set-style of an elongated pyramid, they are beautiful. And the games they have witnessed over the years makes the mind race.
In fact, it’s probably the character of these smaller, historical parks that embodies the mindset of Pine Tar. They command a love. They command a way of playing that is truly small-town. Truly with grit. Truly baseball.
Meet anyone who takes care of these fields. Who prepares them. There is a love. Rooted in the love for the game that spills over into how they put care and pride into their field. Every town is a blank canvas with the town ballpark as its ultimate masterpiece.
Detroit Lakes, MN
Valley City, ND
Grand Rapids, MN