Milroy steps up in crunch time for Class C amateur baseball
MILROY — An unprecedented amateur baseball season was put into serious jeopardy leading up to the start of the Class C State Tournament when the New Ulm City Council elected to pull the plug on hosting the event due to growing Covid-19 concerns. Springfield remained on as one of the two venues for the tournament, but a second site was needed swiftly if a state champion was to be crowned come September.
Fortunately, the town ball community wasn’t held in suspense for very long. The small town of Milroy threw its hat in the ring to host and was picked as the new site just days after the New Ulm City Council’s decision.
The plan was put into action rather quickly, according to 25-year Milroy Yankees player Brian Dolan.
“About a week before we were given an opportunity (to host), Mike Nagel from Bird Island said things in New Ulm were kind of going south so he asked if there was a possibility would you want to host,” said Dolan. “We went back to our board and discussed it. (On) Friday they found out New Ulm was a no, and we found out that next Monday that we were a go.”
Before long, sign-up sheets were posted near the field with no shortage of volunteers hoping to lend a hand. The response from not only Milroy, but neighboring towns in-state and out of state as well, was something Dolan will never forget.
“The response was overwhelming with how many people came out and wanted to support our small community,” said Dolan. “We had a bunch of people come and say ‘how can we help.’ We had a sign-up sheet, but many people just showed up and asked what can I do. It was awesome. We had a lot of help from Wood Lake to Wabasso to Marshall to a lot of other communities and even out-state ones that came down and made it just a perfect situation for us.”
From field maintenance and concessions, to the unprecedented requirements put in place by the MBA to prevent the spread of coronavirus , the challenge was a big one for Dolan and company. Remarkably, very few issues arose over the course of the tournament, save for one hiccup on opening night.
“We didn’t really have any really big issues. People socially distanced fairly well and we were limited to 250 people per game. All of our workers came in and we did our checklist and none of them came with a fever or any symptoms. We didn’t have any hiccups there,” said Dolan. “The only real issue that came about was our first game of the state tournament. That Friday night our lights went out for about 20 minutes. Other than that it was about as seamless as we could have possibly hoped for.”
For Dolan, the only thing that could’ve made the experience better would’ve been a (very) short trip to state for his Yankees ballclub. However, he admits that playing in the tournament would’ve added another layer of difficulty in getting everything accomplished as hosts.
“It would have been awesome to have that chance. I think that’s probably everyone’s dream to play at their home ballpark in front of all their fans with all the work that you’ve put in,” said Dolan. “On the flip side it’s probably a relief that we didn’t have that opportunity so we could have the opportunity to focus on getting the work done. Just that three weeks of planning and getting everything lined up was stressful to say the least.”
The stress and endless work was more than worth it in the end, though.
“Being able to work with some of the best in baseball, it’s hard to put into words,” said Dolan. “It was awesome and a lot of work. When I finally got to sit back and take a look at it, it was just like what I dreamed about as a little kid.”