In spite of a wet month of May, baseball equipment is getting a good airing again this year thanks to teams in the Humboldt Minor Ball league.
It’s a big undertaking for a short season, though, as league president Morris Tarnowski attests.
“Baseball is a very short season, so you really try and get things going quickly,” he said. “We’ve lost time already because of the rain, so hopefully the weather holds and we get going because by the end of June most teams are done.”
Kids usually begin swinging the bat at about age six or seven, and Humboldt Minor Ball counts five junior Alley-cat teams this year. The next three age groups (senior Alley-cat, Mosquito and Peewee) each have two teams, and Bantam and Midget each have one.
With a total of 13 teams in the league and about 135 players, that means a lot of competition for time on the city’s diamonds.
“We’re kind of short on diamonds in town here,” said Tarnowski. “You take five Alley-cat teams and they all want a diamond, but they’ve got to share it because they’re not going to take the big diamonds the Midgets have.”
Not to mention that another team outside of the minor league will be vying for the city’s main diamond on the grounds of the Uniplex this season. According to Tarnowski, the players who formed the Humboldt Dodgers — the AAA midget team that last summer became provincial champions and went on to compete in the national championships — are staying together as a team.
“They graduated as a midget team (midget is up to age 18),” Tarnowski explained. “So they are forming a junior team this year. These kids were a core group, and they kept that core group together.”
The minor league president says having the AAA team last year was a big stepping stone for baseball in Humboldt. He sees it as an example that will hopefully act as a role model and show kids what they can strive toward in the future.
“Normally, when kids get to midget, they’re done,” Tarnowski said. “So give coach Roger Gerwing credit for going this far with his kids, and then having the kids interested enough to keep going after.
“Our area is very good for ball,” he said. “We had the Marysburg Royals senior team of the year, and the Humboldt Dodgers were the midget team of the year. We had two provincial championships and a lot of runners-up. We’ve got a lot of credentials around here.”
But the league president and coach realizes that with baseball, you don’t see the results right away.
“The thing with baseball is you’ve got to be more patient than with any other sport before it gets interesting,” he said. “The development isn’t noticeable in the younger teams until you get to Mosquito and Peewee age. That’s when it actually starts to get interesting, then it develops and develops.”
For Humboldt Minor Ball league, the first big date is June 2, and it will be an all-day affair at the Uniplex diamonds, ending with a doubleheader at 4 p.m.
“Starting at 9:30 a.m., every team will be playing on Saturday in that park,” Tarnowski said. “There will be a chance to see the little kids earlier on, and the midget and junior teams will be playing at 4 p.m. “
For the league schedule and more information, go to www.hometeamsonline.com.