MBA Board of Directors reviews unusual season at annual meeting

By Nick Gerhardt

The Minnesota Baseball Association Board of Directors reported on the health of amateur baseball in Minnesota Saturday at its annual meeting at the Waite Park VFW and amateur baseball appeared as a bit of a panacea during a pandemic. 

The state tournament drew 14,313 this year despite a cap of 250 fans per game each game. Nearly each region and section saw an increase in attendance from the previous season as well. Region 13 recorded the highest attendance of the 11 regions with increases after 3,233 fan watched games. Region 7 had 3,073 fans for its tournament and Region 15 drew 2,994 fans. Region 1 had an increase of 618 and Region 12 nearly increased by 600 fans, too. 

The board also held an election for the spots held by Secretary/Treasurer Mike Nagel, Gary Schleper and Jason Kuerschner. Ken Vogt and Randy Heidman sought to fill one of those spots as well, but all three incumbents retained their seats for three more years. Nagel garnered 26 votes, Kuerschner 24, Schleper 19, Vogt eight and Heidman six. 

Also during the annual meeting, the board and commissioners voted to move the annual meeting to the second Saturday of October and to begin at 11 a.m. for the following year.

The board and commissioners also recognized the service to baseball by former MBA president John Richter and former MBA secretary/treasurer Dave Hartmann. Richter served 30 years with the board and Hartmann had 15 years of service. Both resigned in May this year.

A large portion of the meeting focused on what the board did in order to get baseball going in spite of a global pandemic. MBA President Fred Roufs highlighted the efforts the board took and the obstacles it faced along the way, like changing sites and battling with governmental agencies.

At its regular meeting, which took place prior to the annual meeting, the board announced that the bid process for the 2023 state tournament, which will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the state tournament, will take place Friday, April 16 at the Kelly Inn in St. Cloud. Five groups have come forward with their intention to host. Cold Spring, Watkins and St. Cloud; Willmar, Spicer and Paynesville; New Ulm; Jordan, Belle Plaine and Green Isle; and Dassel, Delano and Litchfield have all thrown their hats into the ring. 

Also during the regular meeting, Sobieski successfully petitioned to move back to Class C following two seasons in Class B.

Hamel is also seeking to petition to move from Class A to Class B but several outstanding issues remain before that can take place, according to board members. 

The board also announced the criteria number for the 2021 season will remain at 49. Any changes to that number would likely take place in November following the completion of a season. 

Region 1 Commissioner Tim Thom, Region 6 Commissioner Tom Lacina and Region 7 Commissioner Gerald Roepke all resigned. Bill Schulte will replace Lacina in Region 6 while a replacement has yet to be named for Region 1. Jeff Lenz will take over for Region 7.

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