Cold Spring, MN - Hosting an American Legion Baseball Tournament requires a lot of resources and time to execute. The key components include a quality baseball facility along with three other parks that can accommodate 30 games that will play out over 4 days. There are plenty of volunteers needed to make it happen. Along with the volunteers is quality leadership to tie it all in. All of the boxes were checked this past weekend in Cold Spring, Minnesota.
This season marked our fifth of covering the tournament and each year. Our LegionBaseballHub.com team was blown away by the execution, dedication, and countless volunteer hours that are put in for the tournament. In Cold Spring the trio on the leadership team consisting of Mike Bell, Rich Haselhorst, and Bill Thelen went above and beyond in delivering a first class experience for all.
The staff of volunteers were at the ready to help at a moment’s notice. The jewel of a field at Cold Spring Park was immaculate. The grounds crew, mostly made up of players from Cold Spring, religiously prepared the field that resembled the work of Larry DiVito, the head groundskeeper, and his team at Target Field.
Due to the volume of games in the first days of the tournament, three additional fields are required to handle the number of games. The leadership team from Cold Spring had three great partners in neighboring Paynesville, St. Martin, and Watkins. According to Tournament Co-Chair Bill Thelen the opportunity to host allowed Cold Spring to display what baseball was like in their town.
Mission accomplished as they delivered a top notch experience for all involved. From a spectator perspective the grandstand was a great place to watch the game or of one wanted to grab some sun, they could sit on the Deck 87 deck over the first base dugout that was donated by 3-sport Cold Spring legend Eric Decker and his wife.
It was a three-year grind that comes to a ferocious peak in four days. Thelen pointed out that the hours of work in the years, months, and the days leading up to the tournament by Jamie Klehr and Randy Gill was huge to the effort.
Leading the way behind the mic at Cold Spring Park was the friendly and welcoming tones of Jim Arnold. His demeanor was indicative of the entire effort put forth by the leadership team. They rolled out the red carpet, so-to-speak, for all visitors and the environment for a baseball tournament of this magnitude could not have been better.
As Thelen told The Gazette reporter John Sherman, “At the end of the day, it is just 30 baseball games.” Each game felt special in its own right and the leadership team and Cold Spring delivered on their promise to illustrate why baseball in their town is special.