Baseball: Victory League still in holding pattern despite option to play

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While some Minnesota teams prepare to play exhibition amateur baseball games this weekend, Victory League Teams are waiting.

Following a Wednesday, June 10, conference call, the Minnesota Baseball Association board agreed to allow teams to play exhibition games starting Friday, June 12, despite not getting approval from Minnesota Governor Tim Walz.

In a Star Tribune article published Thursday, The Stearns County League announced it would be playing a full schedule of exhibition games this weekend.

Victory League president Randy Heidmann said he hasn’t gotten all the information to make a proper decision about what his league should do.

“I want to get all the information before I affix my name to any decision or statement,” Heidmann said. “It sounds like the MBA is going to open up and some exhibition games will be played. I know I’ve given to Al Windsperger, our league secretary, an optional schedule for completing an abbreviated regular season. It’s based upon only division games. Each division can decide to only play each team once or twice before league playoffs begin. Then league playoffs determine who goes into the regions.”


Heidmann said playoffs would start either July 11 or 18.

“Again, we’re still waiting for more information from the MBA, but it does sound like baseball is going to open up,” Heidmann said. “But if a team doesn’t want to participate they don’t have to because there are some teams who have cashed it in for the summer.”

Heidmann said there’s a number of hurdles each team and league would have to overcome concerning sharing equipment, testing, fan attendance and umpires.

The Victory League uses the Central Minnesota Umpire Association out of St. Cloud and Heidmann said they have about half the usual umpires on-board with the decision to play.

Aaron Jenkins said he hadn’t heard a word that his Nisswa Lightning team was able to play this weekend.

“I haven’t heard anything official,” Jenkins said. “I had heard or read something on Twitter about exhibition games being allowed. But I can say we aren’t playing this weekend for sure.”

Jenkins received a group email from Brett Kramer, manager of the Fort Ripley Rebels about other team’s opinions on the development. Jenkins said most teams shared similar opinions about moving forward.

“If we don’t get the go-ahead to do a regular-season why would we just play exhibition games,” Jenkins said. “At least for the older guys. I can see the younger guys wanting to play just to get out there or to stay in shape, but I guess we’ll see. Hopefully, we’ll get some kind official announcement one way or the other.”


Kramer is in the same situation with his team.

“I wish I had a clear direction, but I just don’t have it with the state board or the governor or any entity,” Kramer said. “It’s all kind of up in the air. As is expected with that, I have a bunch of mixed responses from our guys, too. A lot of our younger guys want to play ball just because they want to play where our older guys want to have more of a traditional season with a postseason and have their family be able to be at the park. I would say it’s just a bunch of unknown and we’re looking for some guidance.”

Kramer also mentioned some of the logistical hangups that remain including field maintenance and uniforms.

“We take care of our own field, and to be honest, we haven’t put a whole lot of time into not knowing if we’re going to have games or not,” Kramer said. “So if all of a sudden they open it up and we need to have a league game in three days we have a lot of work to do. It’s stuff that we probably should be doing anyway, but it’s things that have fallen on the back burner with everything else that is going on.

“It’s a little bit of stress for guys to have to sit and wait and wonder are we going to play or can I take my family out of town for a vacation. To call it a stress is maybe a bit of stretch, but its some logical challenges to try and keep your schedule clear and at the same time not really know what is going on.”

Covering the Brainerd lakes area sports scene for the past 23 years.
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