Jordan’s Mini Met receiving major upgrades

Posted on Oct. 9, 2013 by CJ Siewert

As autumn is in full swing and the summer baseball season is over, preparations are being made for the 2014 season. This time of year offers the best opportunity to make field improvements and one famous Minnesota town team field is taking advantage.

Jordan’s “Mini Met,” one of the host sites for the 2014 State Amateur Tournament, is receiving major upgrades to the playing surface as well improvements for the fan experience. The budget for the improvements total nearly $90,000, which includes $22,500 raised by the tournament’s co-chairs and matching dollars of a three-to-one ratio from the city, totaling $67,500. City support was passed by a 6-1 city council vote, recognizing the importance of the Mini Met to the Jordan community.

Tournament co-chair Ron Beckman acknowledged the field was due for improvements since the last time the infield was re-done was in preparation for the 1969 state tournament.

“Some specific items needed attention and a plan was developed that addressed each of them,” Beckman said.

The items Beckman described include:

• Water run-off from first and third base toward home plate, which routinely caused maintenance issues at home plate.

• Due to the “turtleback” infield shape, re-sodding and mound run-off over the years, the pitch near the mound was so high that the mound became too flat.  

• Lips were developing along the base lines.

• The infield perimeter edge sloped downward to the outfield, which happens over time.   

• Because at least five different teams use the field, the decision to transition to a lower maintenance field was deemed very important.

In response to the issues with the playing surface, the following changes are being made:

1) Home plate is being raised about 3 inches   

2) The turtleback infield shape is shifting to a one-half-degree pitch from the mound outward

3) The entire infield is being re-graded and sodded

4) First and third base areas are being lowered about 3 inches

5) The infield dirt will also be pitched to one-half-degree

6) About 7 feet of outfield grass will be removed and then re-graded and sodded to eliminate the pitch

7) Grass from the original infield will be cut out as sod and used to fill in the walkways to homeplate

8) As a result of the above changes, existing irrigation heads will be adjusted accordingly in location and height

9) In addition, two or three drain locations will be located beneath the third base line hill to address large rainfalls of 2 inches-plus

10) Hilltopper clay that repels water will be installed at the mound and home plate for a more user-friendly surface with less maintenance

The field improvements are important, but the spectator viewing areas and general improvements also need attention and that will be addressed in a number of ways. 

“Tree trimming, tree removal, equipment replacement/upgrades, sound system, historical stands, repairs throughout the entire field and surroundings are the majority of the needs at this time,” Beckman said.

Plans for the improvements have been discussed for a while and were given added attention because of the fact the playing surface had not received significant attention for more than 40 years.  

“Everyone got on board and the work began in mid-September and was anticipated to take one month,” Beckman said.

By Oct. 10, Phase I (mound and home plate) and Phase II (infield re-shape and sod) will be complete. Phase III (re-work all dirt/lime areas) will remain.

Other co-chairs include Brent Goracke and Joe Bares. Goracke has been the Jordan lead on the infield project.

“Dozens of volunteers have already logged over 400 hours on ballpark related activities since Labor Day as well as providing equipment, such as bobcats and transits,” Beckman said. 

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