With the Independent and Minor League Baseball regular seasons a month from closing, and the Northwoods League schedule roughly a week away from conclusion, we’ve hit the proverbial dog days of baseball across the Heartland. Few locales was this more evident than a steamy night in eastern South Dakota when two last place teams separated by just 85 miles did battle.
Down on the Farm
Author, historian, photographer, and baseball lover Ari Kaufman takes you with him on his journeys to beautiful Minor League ballparks throughout America.
When the Indianapolis Indians marked 15 years of baseball at beautiful Victory Field in 2011, the running local commentary was that few believed the ballpark was that old due to its magnificent condition. While perhaps not as grandiose at the Triple-A stadium in downtown Circle City, Newman Outdoor Field, also in existence since 1996, could boast similar claims.
The St. Paul Saints predate their big-time friends across America’s chief river by nearly a century. This is actually the fourth incarnation of the franchise, beginning briefly during the Benjamin Harrison administration, then returning a decade later through 1899, followed by a 1915-60 run, ending just before the Washington Senators became the Minnesota Twins.
As a resident for nearly a year now, I realize Minnesota is a hockey state. However, baseball is surprisingly well-funded across the Land of 10,000 Lakes too. This is particularly validated when traveling back roads through small Minnesota communities that seem to encompass one hidden gem of a ballpark after another. Considering the harsh winters, the immaculate conditions of fields by May is also rather impressive.
With nearly a half-million residents, Northwest Arkansas is one of the fastest growing regions in America. And when the Wichita Wranglers chose to move southeast following the 2007 Texas League season, Springdale, Ark., was pleased to be named the Kansas City Royals new Double-A affiliate. Arvest Ballpark responded in its debut season by being chosen Ballpark of the Year.
This serves as the seventh post in my third season of a series called “Down on the Farm” that chronicles visits to various minor league parks throughout the 2013 campaign. (All prior editions can be accessed here.) After five days of ballparks and thousands of miles, it’s possible we saved the best stadium for last. Following 10 twisty, […]