Ever since Minot was awarded the 2008 American Legion Baseball Central Plains Regional, the local baseball community has looked forward to today with great anticipation.
Welcome to all the teams, fans and tournament officials. We are happy to have you in town. We think our community has a lot to offer and we hope you enjoy your stay.
Minot has long been considered a basketball town. From the championships of the Minot Model teams of the 1950s, to the successes of the current local high schools and college to the many great state tournaments the city has hosted, basketball has been king.
But recently, there has been a bit of a rise in both the popularity and success of local baseball. The Minot Vistas have won four state titles this decade and have produced a plethora of successful college players. We've even had a few players drafted into the major leagues from our area.
Needless to say we're very proud of our ballplayers and teams that have represented this town.
I think that pride has carried over to the preparation for this tournament. As a reporter covering the local teams and a member of the tournament planning committee, I have seen firsthand the endless hours that hundreds of people have put into this tournament. I'd like to thank those people for their dedication.
Judging by the success of the teams that will be playing in the tournament this weekend, each of the teams have people in their communities that show the same dedication.
I hope many area residents will come out to take in some of the action this weekend. The last time you could have watched baseball of this quality was when the Prairie League was in town with the Minot Mallards.
Recently, the team that has won the Central Plains has fared very well at the American Legion World Series. This year should be no different. These boys from the Midwest can really play ball.
Play gets under way at 9:30 a.m. and continues all day with the hometown Minot Vistas closing out the first day's action against Blue Springs (Mo.) at 7:30 p.m.
See you at the ballpark.
(Chris Bieri is a sportswriter for the Minot Daily News. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org)