History-making music group for UMM - morris mn

History-making music group for UMM - morris mn
The UMM men's chorus opened the Minnesota Day program at the 1962 Seattle World's Fair (Century 21 Exposition).

Thursday, May 28, 2015

The southern Minnesota curse? MACA girls fall 3-0

Pipestone 3, Tigers 0
What does it take to make the state tournament? MACA had an absolutely spectacular softball team this past spring, able to knock the cover off the ball, but we're denied state.
Like clockwork, MACA advances to the point where we start having to play those teams from southern Minnesota. Is there something in the drinking water down there? Whatever the case, this script was followed again in 2015. Our spectacular MACA softball team had the end come in Section 3AA play. Shelby Bloemendaal was the buzz saw type of pitcher we came up against.
Bloemendaal pitches for Pipestone. The Tigers got shut out against this very sharp pitcher and her Pipestone Arrow mates. The score was 3-0. The curtain came down on our season.
I had the privilege of covering Tiger softball several times in state in "the old days." I wonder when those days will come again.
Bloemendaal tossed a two-hit shutout in the May 26 action at Marshall. The two hits were by Piper Gibson and Lexi Mahoney. Rachel Styberg went three-for-three for the Arrows, and Bloemendaal came through at two-for-two. That adds up to five Pipestone hits, but the West Central Tribune reported a line score that had seven Pipestone hits. Back in the days when I wrote for the Sun Tribune here, discrepancies like this (common in the Willmar paper) would have people commenting on my basic lack of intelligence, often with foul language. You would think people in this town are well-educated enough to not have to resort to such expression. When I was in college, I frequently aced assignments that involved complex analysis of deep subject matter. Fifteen years later, people around this town suggested I'm not capable of typing a review of a softball or baseball game. I think there was more going on below the surface. It's too bad someone like Mike Martin, school administrator, had to spend so much of his time working for the paper.
Pipestone committed no errors. MACA had two fielding miscues. Bloemendaal struck out three batters, walked two and allowed just the two hits.
Kayla Pring applied her pitching arm for Morris Area Chokio Alberta. The hard-luck loser struck out one batter, walked three and gave up seven hits in her six innings. One of the runs she allowed was unearned.
The game was marked by suspense as the score stood 1-0 after five innings. Pipestone got some breathing room in the sixth with two runs. A 3-0 lead looked pretty decisive with the likes of Bloemendaal pitching.
Pipestone is the No. 2 seed out of the South. We were the North's top seed. We felt some hope in the sixth frame when Lexi Mahoney singled and advanced to second on Piper Gibson's sacrifice bunt. Alas, there were no runs to be scored on this day.
Pipestone advanced with another win after the MACA game. Pipestone beat Jackson County Central in the losers bracket final. The Arrows are now focused on trying to beat New Ulm today (Thursday) in Marshall.
Our final won-lost mark for 2015: 21-3. Quite the campaign.
Baseball: Tigers 1, Gibbon-Fairfax-Winthrop 0
MACA needed just one run to come out on top in Tuesday baseball action. Thus we're still in contention out of the elimination bracket in post-season play. Now we'll play the Marshall Tigers at 5 p.m. today (Thursday).
Against GFW the one MACA run came home in the fifth, thanks to Trent Marty getting on base from an apparent strikeout. The ball was in the dirt on what would have been strike three. That was critical. Nic Solvie laid down a sacrifice bunt. Sean Amundson came up to bat and there was no more nickel-and-diming for this run, as Sean doubled. A run is in. That would hold up for pitcher Brady Jergenson.
Jergenson allowed only two base runners in this shutout gem. It was a one-hitter in which he fanned six batters and walked four. Nolan Huiras was the losing pitcher and also had GFW's only hit.
Neither team committed an error. We outhit GFW 5-1. In addition to Amundson, these MACA players hit safely: Nate Anderson, Jergenson, Toby Sayles and Marty. Sayles came close to scoring a run in the second but he was cut down at the plate, seeking to score on a Marty single.
Stay tuned to see if MACA can maintain the winning edge!
New London-Spicer 4, Tigers 3
Section 3AA baseball action was intense on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend. The holiday weekend isn't a laid-back time for many student-athletes.
New London-Spicer turned back our MACA Tigers at the Spicer diamond. NL-Spicer won twice in Section 3AA action on Saturday. The Wildcats edged our Tigers 4-3. the orange and black played errorless ball while NL-Spicer committed one error.
The Wildcats surged in the third inning with a three-run rally. The Tigers scored one run each in the third, fourth and seventh innings. We were outhit 5-4. Noah Grove made noise with his bat, connecting for a home run. He had a two-for-four boxscore line.
Riley Biesterfeld had a hit and an RBI. Trent Marty hit safely and scored a run. Robert Rohloff crossed home plate once.
For NL-Spicer, Ike Goetzman doubled as part of going two-for-four, and scored two runs. Josh Soine doubled, drove in a run and scored one. Trey Austvold homered. This Wildcat drove in three runs and scored one. Tyler Kemen added a hit to the mix for the victor.
Landon Tanner pitched almost the whole way for NL-Spicer, but it was Will Roguske getting the win. Tanner pitched six and a third innings, fanning three batters and walking two. Roguske finished the job with a stint of two-thirds of an inning in which he allowed no hits.
NL-Spicer led 3-2 after six innings. Each team scored a run in the seventh. Toby Sayles took the pitching loss for Morris Area Chokio Alberta. Sayles employed his arm for six and a third innings. He fanned three batters and struggled some with control, walking five. He gave up four hits and four runs (earned). Noah Grove had a brief pitching appearance. 
This was a second-round game in Section 3AA play.
BOLD 7, Tigers 3
BOLD overcame four errors to hand our Tigers defeat in a game that was played over two days. Suspension was called for along the way. When the full seven innings were finally completed, it was BOLD with seven runs and the Tigers with three. We were outhit 6-5.
Lane Stadther gave a big push with his bat for the victor. He socked a home run. He went two-for-four with two runs scored and two ribbies. Austin Weis and Ben Steffel each had a double and a run-batted-in. Reed Stadther and Max Buchtel each had a one-for-three line, and Buchtel had an RBI.
For MACA, Brady Jergenson had a hit and two RBIs. Noah Grove had two hits in four at-bats. Nathan Anderson and Trent Marty each went one-for-three.
Steffel got the pitching win, striking out three batters in his four innings. Weis hurled for three innings and had control problems, issuing five walks and striking out none.
BOLD's four errors contrasted with the Tigers' mere one. But BOLD had an offense that went on the attack early, generating two runs each in the first and third innings. The Warriors went on to plate one run in the fifth and two in the seventh.
Jergenson pitched the distance of seven innings and got tagged with the loss. He struck out seven batters, walked three and gave up six hits. One of the runs he allowed was unearned.
We scored one run each in the first, third and seventh innings.
- Brian Williams - morris mn Minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Rich Rollins: adherent to year-round conditioning

Power bats helped sell the Minnesota Twins in their first decade. What could be more thrilling? We watched the ball sail into the seats at the old "Met."
If only that had been the only ticket needed for winning. Impressive as home runs are, they are really but one ingredient for success. Look at the 1964 Twins. Those early power bats were in full bloom. You couldn't find a better exhibit of that early Twins power. And how did we do? We finished in a tie for sixth place in the ten-team league. We tied for sixth with Cleveland. The California Angels, a team which on paper looked noticeably inferior and dull, finished higher than us.
Bill James would eventually take the game apart and instruct us on how the myriad elements add up to competitiveness. But in the '60s us Twins fans with our admitted naivete were excited as heck seeing the ball go out of the park.
Rich Rollins was part of that. Let's go back to June 9 of 1966. Catfish Hunter is on the mound for the Kansas City Athletics. He'd get the hook that day. That's because a procession of Twins including Rollins hit home runs. The inning is the seventh. Rollins was among five Twins hitting home runs in that inning. Can't you just hear the Met Stadium crowd displaying that wild crescendo of cheers? Rollins was joined in the homer parade by Harmon Killebrew, Don Mincher, Tony Oliva and Zoilo Versalles. Those five iconic Twins produced a major league record for home runs in an inning. Hunter gave up two of the blasts as did reliever Paul Lindblad. John Wyatt gave up the other.
You'll remember that 1966 was the season following our pennant-winning year of '65. We didn't have the kind of chemistry in '66 as we displayed in '65. It was the Baltimore Orioles with triple crown winner Frank Robinson winning the American League pennant in '66. The Twins were still most capable of entertaining with power.
Flowering with the early Twins
Rollins' best years were in the early 1960s. If you collected baseball cards, you read that Rollins "beat the sophomore jinx" in 1963. Fans of a certain age (mine) remember Rollins as our first bona fide third baseman. He got the third base job coming out of spring training in 1962, the Twins' second season. He batted a sizzling .486 over the Twins' first ten games. He was an iron man, playing in 159 games.
Twins fans became enamored with our whole infield. We had Bernie Allen at second, the one-of-a-kind Vic Power at first and the flashy if erratic Zoilo Versalles at shortstop. Power was obtained so he could give stability with his well-known glove, handling throws that weren't always the most precise.
Power led the Twins in '62 as we actually gave the dynastic Yankees a run for their money. Rollins was a stalwart. The Pennsylvania native (Mount Pleasant) batted just shy of .300. He homered 16 times and drove in 96 runs. He was eighth in the voting for MVP. Those were the days of two all-star games, and Rollins started both.
He made an impression with his bat, not so much with his glove in '62, as he committed 28 errors. A mania built among Twins fans in June of that seminal summer. We realized the Twins had the ingredients to make a strong bid for the pennant. Two years earlier, all we had was the Minneapolis Millers out at Met Stadium. The Met was built to attract a major league team. Patience was required.
In June of '62, everything seemed to be coming up roses. Not only were we "in the bigs," we were a looming threat to the Yankees' primacy. The Twins swept the Chicago White Sox in a doubleheader at the Met in early June of '62. Minnesotans had a new dimension by which to enjoy spring. We were transfixed as we were dead-even with the Yankees. Rollins reached base six straight times in that doubleheader sweep. He was age 24.
A conscientious pro athlete
The 1960s were a time when ballplayers used spring training to "get in shape." How quaint. I guess they relaxed in the off-season. Rollins was ahead of his time, choosing to play handball and in general stay in quite good shape in the off-season.
Rollins had to deal with adversity early in his "sophomore" season, 1963. He suffered a broken jaw. He spent half a week in the hospital. His jaw got wired shut. He had to rely on frequent protein shakes. He slumped, languishing over about 25 at-bats, before his production took off like in '62. Indeed, he beat that "sophomore jinx."
Ralph Houk, manager of the Yankees, decided that a special "shift" was needed in the field to try to neutralize this hotshot Rollins fellow. Houk called for three infielders on the left side of second base. Rollins was unfazed. He adjusted and began to go to the opposite field, successfully, which explains how he finished the 1963 season with an even better bating average than in '62. He was a .300 hitter in '63 with a .307 mark.
Rollins' productivity fell off as the years went on. He was still good enough to join that famous power progression in that '66 game against Kansas City. But by '67 - worn down? - his playing time was limited. The Twins narrowly missed the pennant in '67.
Stint with the "Ball Four" team
In 1968, Rollins was left exposed to the expansion draft. He went to the Seattle Pilots. The Pilots, you'll probably remember, were the team giving the backdrop for most of Jim Bouton's book "Ball Four." I remember reading Ball Four and noting that Rollins is hardly mentioned. Rollins could breathe a sigh of relief over that. Bouton brutally evaluated people. I remember only one thing about Rollins from "Ball Four." Bouton called him "the listener" when it came to back-of-the-bus banter.
We could use the term "washed up" with Rollins in 1969. My research doesn't suggest any specific reason for his decline. So I'll assume that part of it was opposing pitchers getting Rollins figured out, pinpointing his weaknesses. Pictures of him from that time show him with very conspicuous glasses.
The Pilots lasted only one season, then they moved to Milwaukee. The Pilots have been like an orphan team. Neither Seattle nor Milwaukee wants to claim them.
Rollins was released by the Brewers in May of 1970. He got signed by the Cleveland Indians and stayed on the roster through season's end. Rollins then retired.
We can remember Rich Rollins as an original Twin: he was on our big league roster through much of that inaugural '61 season, but was little used off the bench.
His resume included playing college baseball at Kent State: 1958 to 1960. He was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Washington Senators prior to the start of the 1960 season. The Senators of course pulled up stakes in the nation's capital and came to the Great Plains outpost of Minneapolis/St. Paul. The Twins got their name out of a sensitivity regarding Minneapolis vs. St. Paul parochialism. That also explains our original logo: two characters shaking hands across the river.
Rollins began his professional career with the "Wilson Tobs" of Class B. He tore the cover off the ball, therefore he got promoted to Charlotte. Then it was on to Syracuse for a mere three games, whereupon he moved on to the bigs and joined us out here on the "tundra" - Steve Cannon's term for our part of the country. Ever since, we have shown we're fully big league.
Rollins was a part of that initial climb when Minnesota achieved legitimacy in the big league firmament. I remember being at a game where he excelled. It might have been my first game. I remember that as the game progressed, the fans cheered steadily louder as Rollins' name was announced for a new at-bat. How lustily they cheered as the redhead Rollins brought his lumber to the plate. That infield of Rollins, Versalles, Allen and Power was like no other.
How we cherish the memories of those early Minnesota Twins. Imagine life in Minnesota before 1961, when all we had was the Minneapolis Millers (hardly better than nothing) and the U of M football Gophers.
Rollins today lives with his family in Akron, Ohio. I hope he's happy and healthy. I hope his baseball career led to affluence. Thanks for the memories.
I have the name Rich Rollins in a song I wrote called "The Ballad of Harmon Killebrew." I cover the whole infield. I invite you to listen by clicking on the YouTube link below. Thanks for visiting my site.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Monday, May 18, 2015

Book review: "Missoula" by the eminent Jon Krakauer

I would argue it's impossible to launch into a review of Jon Krakauer's "Missoula" in a bright frame of mind. There are no winners here. Many might argue that a reformed sense of justice can make you feel upbeat. I don't.
Is there anything in the world more messy than allegations of acquaintance rape? How does one distill the facts? How would you like to deal with this matter on college campuses today? How can these adjudicators possibly get paid enough? They are dealing with murky situations out of which grow such allegations. The punishment for an alleged perpetrator is incredibly severe. How can we mete out such punishment when the incidents are amidst incredibly gray area? If even one man has his life ruined by specious allegations, that's enough to profoundly disturb me.
Author with fine track record
I became a fan of Krakauer's writing with his book "Into Thin Air." We could remember that book recently with the earthquakes that rattled Nepal. "Into Thin Air" was about climbing Mount Everest. That book gave us the conclusion that climbing to such a high altitude was sheer peril. Please, if you need a hobby, put aside any obsession you have to climb Mount Everest, and choose instead to build model airplanes. Be sure the room is ventilated.
I have been interested in Krakauer's work ever since "Into Thin Air." He is a superb wordsmith. I don't always agree with him. In "Into the Wild," he supports the premise that the tragic young man, who tried escaping into the Alaska wilderness to achieve solitude or whatever, was not mentally ill, counter to the conclusion of others. My opinion was that he was mentally ill. Therefore I find the idea of a book less compelling. Krakauer dismissed the essence of what the young man was seeking to accomplish, by saying that the place where the man settled "wasn't that remote by Alaska standards."
I saw Krakauer discuss the book "Missoula" on a C-Span channel recently. This made me want to seek the book out through our public library. My takeaway from the book? It isn't that I'm inclined to take sides, generally speaking, with certain specific parties in these ugly situations. Krakauer bends over backward to defend the females. This is the attitude of feminists and of people generally on the left side of the political spectrum.
Such people vilify George Will, a conservative who famously made comments that challenge Krakauer's perspective. I am a Democrat and would place myself on the left side of political thinking. Please consider that I strive to be a fair-minded and reasonable person. But I am in the George Will camp on this.
Will is also known to be skeptical of college as an institution - its future. College is where so many of these confounding stories of alleged acquaintance rape happen. I came away from Krakauer's book not so much wanting to take sides with the girls or boys, but with questioning our model for higher education. People's lives can easily get ruined or scarred by these episodes of allegedly improper behavior.
With less than a 100 percent command of the facts, how can we make such judgments?
Why not make better decisions?
Reading some of the episodes in Krakauer's book, I have to wonder: if only these females had just decided to stay home that evening, engaging in healthy and constructive activities: reading, spending time on the computer and going to bed at a decent hour. If only they had chosen not to go to some wild "party" involving college youth with hormones raging, consuming alcohol and ingesting drugs, getting so "wasted" they decide they cannot even go home. So they "crash" on someone's couch.
Later, they emerge from what they describe as an unconscious state, in the midst of a sex act with a male peer. They might allege that the male "forced them" to perform oral sex. This is an accusation that I have always found puzzling. The ugly circumstances of these encounters makes me not want to sympathize with anyone, and I'm shocked that Krakauer would so readily give the benefit of the doubt to the females, when you consider the life-ruining consequences of punishing the males.
Rape is most definitely a real phenomenon. The case studies in "Missoula" do not conform to my understanding of the crime. College youth who choose to be at a particular party and choose to limit their judgment and faculties with unhealthy substances, don't win much sympathy from me.
So, I'm taking my argument in a different direction than what a typical reader of this book would likely take. I'm criticizing the manner in which many of our youth ages 18 to 22 live.
The pressure is high to "attend college." We talk about "good colleges" as if a whole lot of them are "bad." Chutzpah is involved. "This college has the best (so-and-so) department in the nation" etc. Young men get recruited for football. Schools with a football reputation really thump their chest.
What exactly is proven by having a good football team? The experience of playing football actually leaves many of its participants beat up physically and possibly mentally. A winning team gives its school bragging rights. It proves nothing except that a school allocated resources sufficient to attract a good number of big, strong and fast young men.
Football has a role in "Missoula." We read about the local college that treats football way out of proportion. Players at such a place develop a sense of entitlement that can be very dangerous for them. The "fans" don't understand the brittle nature of these young men, men who can get drawn into situations where they might crumble. The igniting factor can be alcohol. How, how pervasive alcohol can be among college youth. When I was in college, we were reveling in the lowered drinking age. The explanation was that if young men could fight and die in Viet Nam in their late teens, well, youth ought to have the "privilege" of consuming alcohol. Society has wised up some.
The crux of the matter
The fundamental problem is that we have these beehive places called college campuses where these immature young people congregate, and then we expect them to behave responsibly and like adults. Many of them don't. My takeaway is that our society needs a whole new model, away from college, as a proper place in the immediate post-high school years.
All those boys and girls who get in trouble in "Missoula": how much better off they'd all be if they had just stayed at home living with parents for a few years. They'd be contributing family members. As far as getting the knowledge needed for a career, well, today we have the Internet. All the information in the world is online. Certainly we can create a way for young people to progress toward a career, given this asset.
So many 18-year-olds simply aren't prepared to live on their own. We expect them to magically accomplish this after leaving the house. Not only do they lack many of the skills, they easily succumb to whims to engage in unacceptable behavior. The young men who appear "guilty" in "Missoula" may be victims of this unrealistic system. They may be victims of our model of putting football players on a pedestal. Counseling might help a lot of these young people. But in many cases it might not come in time. A boy yields to the momentary inclinations of that age and does something that he knows down deep is improper.
If allegations are subsequently made, his life could be over for all practical purposes. His potential to be a normally productive citizen as an adult is snuffed out.
There is such a thing as forcible rape where it's a no-brainer to put the guy in jail and throw away the key. Acquaintance rape strikes me as something altogether different, lost in the weeds of ambiguity and confusion, often clouded by drugs and alcohol. Throw in the impetuousness of youth, maybe the biggest factor.
I can't find any sympathy for young people who make poor decisions and go to "parties" with college peers. It is dysfunctional and pointless. Better to go to bed by 9:30 p.m. and attend church Sundays. Go to a community church and not a church that caters to students. Try to steer into the real world.
I even wonder if high school-age kids should spend so much time with each other. Does anyone really think that maturity is furthered by having kids spend so much time with each other? Isn't bullying a consequence of kids being segregated off from adults so much? They should be put in situations where they can be mentored by steady, rational and well-adjusted adults, people for whom hormones aren't obstructing their values.
Dreary backdrop in book
There are no heroes in "Missoula." It seems like rather a cesspool of disgusting behavior, behavior that could have easily been avoided.
I'm disturbed by the very fragile position males are put in. It's as if women ought to have all the power in potential amorous encounters. A man can "step over the line" in so many circumstances. It seems that the women never can. The women hold all the keys.
The Krakauer camp would argue that women must "give consent." How exactly is this supposed to happen? Does it ever happen? Is the man supposed to ask if he can do such-and-such to the woman's body, whereupon the woman answers "yes, you can do that to my body now." Isn't it profoundly unrealistic to expect this? Don't these young people in fact "follow cues" when putting their toes in the water re. sex? And, doesn't the custom put the whole matter of acquaintance rape in an incredibly "gray area?"
And since legal people get involved, don't we need a clear understanding of the facts, not just some general allegations from a woman who suddenly realizes that her whole pattern of behavior was shameful? From a woman who decides this guy maybe isn't so desirable after all? From a woman who would just like to go back to square one and erase that experience? What? College students making bad decisions about their behavior? I could never imagine (LOL).
College life can be sordid. Enough with this prolonged adolescence. I tip my hat to all the students - I'm sure there are many - who quietly and responsibly chart a responsible course after age 18. The "parties" I read about in "Missoula" are the opposite. A girl "crashes" on the sofa of a friend's house. Why not go home to her own bed? Is she too "wasted?" And this is an exhibit Krakauer seeks to use to argue for greater "accountability" in acquaintance rape cases, which translated means "let's vilify those young men."
Toward erasing the bad stuff
How shall we move forward? Discontinuing college football would be one constructive step. We don't need this "Lord of the Flies" culture on campuses for "game day" anymore. Let's make Saturday like any other day of the week, a day to advance your life in a sober and constructive fashion, not to paint your face, consume alcohol and behave like an idiot.
Am I asking too much? If the young "villains" in "Missoula" had simply chosen not to attend college, their lives could be saved. Maturity would have taken over their impulses, I would argue, and they wouldn't end up as broken, non-productive and haunted.
Am I suggesting an end to college as we've known it? Yes I am. That's my prime conclusion from "Missoula" by Jon Krakauer. You're a fine author, Jon, but please choose better subject matter. In the meantime let's recognize "Missoula" as the best promo for masturbation ever written.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwillyh73@yahoo.com

Thursday, May 14, 2015

12-1 win vs. Monte highlights recent MACA baseball

Tigers 12, Montevideo 1
The Tigers outhit Montevideo 14-6 in taking game 1 of a doubleheader played on May 8. The Tigers committed no errors compared to three by Montevideo. These strong suits added up to a 12-1 win over the Thunder Hawks.
A ten-run first inning really sealed the deal. How overpowering was that rally? Coach Mark Torgerson had to smile as he watched his athletes connect for five doubles and a triple! Most memorable.
Boxscore data: Nate Anderson socked three hits in four at-bats with two of those hits doubles. Nate scored three runs and drove in one. Noah Grove had a two-for-four line and he, too, had two doubles in the mix. Noah crossed home plate three times and drove in two runs.
Brady Jergenson joined the parade with three hits in four at-bats. Brady doubled and drove in two runs. Nic Solvie went two-for-three with two RBIs. Sean Amundson socked a triple and drove in two runs. Toby Sayles had a hit and an RBI. Will Hoslien had a hit in his only at-bat. Mitch Torgerson joined the attack at one-for-three.
Zac Enevoldsen led Monte with a two-for-two line including a double, and he drove in a run. These Thunder Hawks each had one hit: Adam Kilibarda, Andrew Peters, Connor Kontz and Christian Kanten.
The game was limited to five innings. Brady Jergenson pitched all five of those innings. He struck out three batters, walked one and gave up six hits. Tristan Weber took the loss for Montevideo.
Montevideo 6, Tigers 5
Montevideo righted its ship for game 2, coming through with a 6-5 win over our Tigers. The game was tied 3-3 after four innings, then Monte produced a decisive three-run rally in the fifth. Monte outhit the Tigers 13-10.
The T-Hawks had to overcome four errors but the Tigers had even more lapses, committing six.
Zac Enevoldsen turned in a route-going performance as Monte's pitcher. He survived ten hits yielded. He struck out three batters and walked one. For MACA, Jergenson, having pitched just those five innings in game 1, had the ball handed to him again for game 2. It didn't go well as he gave up seven hits in three innings. He struck out three batters and walked two. Sean Amundson and Trent Marty also pitched.
Toby Sayles and Nic Solvie each had two hits, and Solvie drove in a run. Noah Grove and Marty each connected for a double. Amundson and Nate Anderson each went one-for-four. Jergenson had a hit and an RBI. Phil Anderson had a hit and a run scored.
Enevoldsen and Adam Kilibarda were at the fore of Monte's hitting, each with three hits. Enevoldsen socked two doubles and scored two runs. Kilibarda scored two runs and drove in two. Andrew Peters doubled as part of a two-for-four line, and drove in a run. Connor Kontz doubled. These T-Hawks also hit safely: Markus Kranz, Tristan Weber, Garrett Christianson and Jack Carruth.
Doubleheader: defeat vs. 'Waska
In a disappointing day for Tiger baseball, Morris Area Chokio Alberta was dealt defeat in two games on Tuesday, May 12.
MACA managed just one run in the two games, so let's give credit to the Minnewaska Area pitching. In game 1 it was Riley Thompson who stymied the Tigers. Thompson struck out seven batters, walked one and allowed just one hit in his seven innings. That one hit was by Riley Biesterfeld. These Lakers each had one hit: Michael Gruber, Thompson, Matt McIver and Matt Paulson. Jon Nygaard drew three walks and drove in a run. Toby Sayles took the pitching loss.
The game 1 final score was 5-0.
Then in game 2, 'Waska got the upper hand 6-1. Austin VerSteeg was showcased on the pitching mound for 'Waska, and he was overpowering much of the time: 12 strikeouts. He walked just one batter and gave up two hits. Noah Grove was the losing pitcher.
The two MACA hits were by Brady Jergenson and Nic Solvie. Jergenson scored a run, and Solvie had an RBI. For 'Waska, VerSteeg had a double and triple in three at-bats, and his RBI harvest was a whopping six. Matt Paulson had a hit and a run scored. Each team had one error.
I'm typing this on a very rainy Thursday. Back when I was in high school music, there was a jazz band chart that was played all over the country, called "Here's That Rainy Day." I didn't really think it was that good. It seemed that certain charts just got "in vogue" among high school and college jazz bands. We just had to play them. We tended to be called "stage bands" then, not "jazz bands," because the word jazz, I guess had shady connotations or something. We got over that. Serious jazz education was just getting going in the mid-1970s. I wonder if at present it's losing some steam. Maybe we're heading back to the more disciplined and structured model for music, as the old UMM men's chorus exemplified. Wouldn't it be neat to see that come back.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Monday, May 11, 2015

We're glad Bernie Allen chose baseball over football

I remember when the old Juergensen's Super Valu in Morris had little vinyl records featuring the Minnesota Twins. I got the one featuring Bernie Allen.
Allen was the first Twins second basemen who fans really remember. That's a little ironic considering he replaced Billy Martin. Martin became a household name but it was as a manager. He was the very popular manager of our Twins in 1969. Then, because of circumstances somewhat murky, Martin was dismissed. Eventually he gave us the term "Billy ball." We can forget he was a Twins ballplayer in the franchise's very early (and heady) days.
On came Bernie Allen. He was a favorite Minnesota Twin of Del Sarlette of Sarlettes Music in Morris. He was a superbly gifted athlete, having excelled in football for Purdue of the Big Ten.
In April of 1962, the Twins' second season, Allen got installed at second base. He hit a triple on Opening Day. He got notice as a rookie, getting named to the Topps All-Star Rookie Roster. He was third in Rookie of the Year voting.
Allen gave us five seasons of his baseball career. Eventually he took the route common to many big league players, getting moved from team to team. He got traded to the "new" Washington Senators, our Twins having been the previous incarnation there. Camilo Pascual joined Allen in that trade. A shame: two very competent players who had built a following in Minnesota, just moving on. Smart-aleck fans joked about Pascual that he looked like the kind of guy who might steal your hubcaps. In fact he was a classy person, known for his curve ball. Pascual is depicted in the Billy Crystal movie "61*, about Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle and the 1961 baseball season.
The Twins were brand shiny new in 1961. We couldn't shake off the mediocrity of the Senators years, not quite yet. We took the step up in 1962 when we gave the dynastic Yankees a run for their money. Allen had that neat rookie season in our team's breakout year. That was also Vic Power's finest year in a Twins uniform. Rich Rollins and Zoilo Versalles plied their skills in the infield. We associate those four just-cited names with the original Twins, even though technically they weren't all on board at the start.
It was 1965 when everything came together and we won the pennant. We took the Dodgers to seven games in the World Series. Making the World Series was nirvana for Minnesotans - we might forget. 
Allen and Pascual were traded to the Senators for relief pitcher Ron Kline. As I remember, Kline was a major goat in the team's unraveling at the end of the '67 season, when we got edged out by Boston. I remember Kline and his burly physique. It was a rough occupation those guys were in, in the days before the Curt Flood case. They toiled in a fishbowl, they could absolutely incur fans' wrath when throwing a "gopher ball," and they weren't rewarded materially very well. I imagine many of them stuck with it because they experienced adulation as boys with their talent, and baseball became the only life they knew.
The Curt Flood case drew everyone into reality, forcing us to see these ballplayers as fragile professionals who were entitled to greater rights and rewards.
Allen went on to play five seasons in Washington D.C. Then it was on to the pinstripes of the fabled New York Yankees. He backed up at second and third for the Yankees in 1972 (the summer before my senior year in high school). He stayed with New York for a short time in '73, then it was off to Montreal for a stint before getting his release.
I think most Twins fans like Sarlette and yours truly consider Allen a guy who didn't quite make it, after a promising start. Our standards are too exacting. An objective measure would suggest Allen had a quite satisfying career.
In '65 we had Jerry Kindall as our second baseman. Kindall was a quite unspectacular Twin who was installed at second for his superior glove. He may have saved enough runs with his glove to make up for an anemic batting average. Us young fans didn't give enough consideration to fielding - we looked at batting average first. Bill James would eventually scold all of us for that.
As we progressed into the late '60s, the spectacular Rod Carew came along and got parked at second. It was risky having such a good hitter playing second, given the physical risks of that position: resisting efforts to break up the double play etc. By the same token, I question having had Joe Mauer play catcher. He was too good a hitter for that. Playing catcher ages you and wears down your body. The best catchers are guys built like tanks who bat about .240 and hit 15 home runs. Remember Glenn Borgmann?
Allen: superb all-around athlete
Let's acknowledge Bernie Allen's football career. He was quarterback for the Purdue Boilermakers and won team MVP in 1960. He led the Boilermakers to a 4-4-1 record with wins over #12 Notre Dame, #1 Minnesota - yes, we were in our heyday then - and Ohio State. Our Gophers were the AP and UPI national champion.
Allen led Purdue to victory over Minnesota and Notre Dame on the road! Beating Ohio State got Allen named Offensive Player of the Week by Sports Illustrated. Purdue spent five weeks in the Top 15. Allen was chosen for the Blue-Gray college all-star football game. Yes, and the future Twin threw three touchdowns, leading Blue to a 35-7 win over Gray. Who was the Gray quarterback? My, it was Francis Tarkenton himself.
Meanwhile on the baseball diamond, Allen was chosen All-American shortstop in 1961. He signed with the Twins and played 80 games for Class A Charlotte before getting the nod for the bigs. In '99 he was chosen for the Purdue Athletic Hall of Fame.
An almost-encounter with Woody Hayes
A very memorable moment in Allen's football history came in 1960, when Purdue played Ohio State. Purdue was the 24-21 winner over the third-ranked Buckeyes who were coached by the iconic (if somewhat unstable) Woody Hayes. Allen kicked the game-winning field goal! He then tried seeking out Hayes for a post-game conversation. You see, Hayes had once said of Allen that he was too small to play Big 10 football. Allen wanted to remind the gruff Hayes of that.
"He took off and ran away from me," Allen recalled. Allen added that had the two encountered each other that day, who knows? Remember, Hayes eventually got ushered out of football for slugging an opposing player. "I might have been the first person he hit," Allen said in a vein of levity.
I remember watching the live broadcast when Hayes delivered that punch along the sidelines. You had to watch carefully to see it, as there was a scrum of people. The broadcasters at first did not acknowledge it, perhaps not seeing it clearly, or being afraid to describe something so touchy. After all, this was Woody Hayes, regarded like a military general. We all know what side of the generation gap he was on.
Of course, it was sad at the end when Woody had to go. I guess age was catching up to him. We all have family members like that. It can make us cry.
Passing up "bonus baby" $
Let's share another footnote about Bernie Allen: He could have been the New York Mets' first "bonus baby." Instead Allen took a drop in bonus money to sign with our Twins. The Mets offered $100,000. In 1960 I'm sure that was an astronomical figure (to use the adjective associated with the late Willie Martin of Morris).
Allen knew the Mets weren't going to be competitive in their early expansion years. He was most right regarding that. Why did Bernie choose baseball over football? "It was just something I loved: baseball," Bernie said.
Allen was managed by Ted Williams for a short time.
We all loved those early Minnesota Twins, with Allen being a most high-ranking member in that circle. Us kids watched wide-eyed. It was an emotional bond. We would have to wait until 1987 for a world championship. The ghosts of those original Twins were watching, no doubt. Hats off to Bernard Keith Allen, spectacular multi-sport athlete. (Those of us who collected baseball cards never forget the middle names of those guys. They register with us even after several decades!)
- Brian Williams - morris mn Minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Mixture of joy & sadness in remembering Jimmie Hall

It's hard to believe Tony Oliva had such fielding deficiencies in 1963, he couldn't get the nod for the big leagues. It was because of those deficiencies that the door opened for another early Twin. Jimmie Hall, age 25, got the nod.
Jimmie Hall! He wasn't a particularly young rookie. But he projected a youthful air, partly I'm sure because of the name "Jimmie." America would eventually elect a president named "Jimmy." Boys who collected baseball cards would see his full name as "Jimmie Randolph Hall." We also saw he was from a place called "Mount Holly, North Carolina." How could that not be a charming place? It conjures up images of Mayberry, that fictional town that was supposedly in North Carolina. The nearby "big town" was "Mount Pilot," remember? If you grew up in a small town you have a frame of reference that includes the nearest "big town" - you know, the place you went to buy certain items not available in your own town. Our family once had relatives in Pekin ND who would think of nearby McVille that way. Just like "Mount Pilot."
Anyway, Hall had totally rural roots which helps explain one aspect of his baseball career. A lefthanded batter, he never got established hitting lefty pitchers. The explanation was that he grew up seeing few lefties in rural North Carolina. Conventional wisdom has it that lefty batters have a hard time facing lefties anyway. That's why "platooning" is a practice often seen. Gene Mauch overdid that, in my opinion. Mauch managed the Twins as they languished over their last few years at Metropolitan Stadium, a facility that Minnesotans had strangely tired of.
I remember Lyman Bostock complaining once when Mauch benched him against a lefty pitcher. Mauch might have benched Kirby Puckett after the first time Kirby had an 0-for-4 day against a righty. Mauch must have known a few things or he wouldn't have had such a long managerial career. Mauch was manager for the most famous "choke" of all time: the 1964 Philadelphia Phillies.
Jimmie Hall was a hero to the first young generation of Twins fans. He was sleek and youthful in how he carried himself. He hit for power.
A lesson in life's vicissitudes
I would also suggest that Hall was "exhibit A" in how baseball players can have meteoric careers, and how sad this can be. Us young fans were given a lesson in the frailties these mortal men can succumb to. It reminds me of a segment in the famous baseball video, "When It Was A Game." The narrator talks about the progression of a baseball player in a boy's mind, from the fuzzy-cheeked rookie to the established regular to the inevitable departure from the game. We join in the ups and downs. We learn about the risks inherent in sports - the body's limitations. We feel the heartbreak.
Jimmie Hall made an impression as a minor leaguer late in the 1962 season. He was with Vancouver. Then in June of 1963, Hall got a break due to an injury suffered by Lenny Green. Hall got the nod for major league play. He strode out to the vast expanse of center field at the Met. He had a whiplash type of swing. Boys were enamored of this dynamic young man.
Hall hit 33 home runs in 1963. That total eclipsed the rookie record held by Ted Williams.
It is hard to know how much a beaning incident affected the course of Hall's career. Hall got smacked during a twilight game in early-season of 1964. Bo Belinsky was the pitcher. Belinsky had a reputation as a partying Hollywood type, remember? Hall got hit in the right cheek. It has been suggested Hall could never hit confidently against lefthanded pitchers again. However, he never seemed to hit particularly well against lefties. He had a career home run total of 121, of which only four were against lefthanders. Hall himself said his rural background with its limitations explained this.
Hall was a marquee player in his time in Minnesota. That beaning certainly did not seem to cause an immediate drop-off. He hit for a higher average in 1964 than in '63, and in '65 he hit for a higher average still. However, there was a slow drop-off in his homer production. 
In '65 he was an all-star. That game was played at our still shiny-new Met Stadium. That was also the summer when we won the American League pennant, with Calvin Griffith as owner. Hall made the all-star team but he got little playing time in the World Series. Minnesota played the Dodgers in the World Series. The Dodgers had a pair of outstanding lefthanded pitchers: Sandy Koufax and Claude Osteen. Our manager, Sam Mele, decided that Hall wouldn't do particularly well against them. Mele instead gave the nod to a quite obscure Twin, Joe Nossek. I don't doubt Mele's judgment. But it's sad we couldn't see Hall's name prominently in all those World Series boxscores.
By '65, Hall was a firmly established star player and idol to many. Many boys weren't prepared to understand the baseball sophistication with platooning. We were probably naive about the consequences of getting beaned by a big league pitcher. Kirby Puckett may have died because of this. We are slowly learning now how we may have all been fools through the years following NFL football with its horrible health consequences for players. Us fans fall into a sort of dream world where we don't realize the vulnerability of those athletes. It's almost as if we're playing pinball and just watching that metal ball.
Twins were power merchants
On May 2 of 1964, Hall was part of a history-making episode as he was one of four Twins hitting home runs consecutively. Oliva, Bob Allison, Hall and Harmon Killebrew wielded the homer bats. That succession occurred in the top of the eleventh inning against the Kansas City Athletics. No, the "Royals" didn't exist yet.
It was on May 27 of 1964 that Hall got hit on the cheek by Belinsky's phantom delivery. He did return to the lineup a week later. Would he pass concussion testing today? Who knows. Hall would henceforth wear a special protective flap. He did play well over the rest of the '64 season.
Hall had a career-best .285 average in '65. He was still most definitely in his prime. He drove in 86 runs, hit 25 doubles and stole 14 bases in that pennant season. His homer total dropped to 20. Hall beat out 20 infield singles that season. He was among six Twins on the all-star team, joining Killebrew, Earl Battey, "Mudcat" Grant, Zoilo Versalles and Oliva.
The '65 summer was the apex of the Griffith years. If the Griffiths hadn't been such church mice with their resources, and if Cal hadn't been so curmudgeonly with his personality, maybe a fire could have been lit under our team that could have produced a true dynasty. Of course, in hindsight we can say it's foolish for the players to have been so dependent on Cal's money. You see, years later any former baseball star could go on the sports memorabilia circuit and make lots of money just being themselves. All they had to do was be famous. If only the '67 Twins could have eked out the pennant. A '67 World Series appearance would have done much building the fame of players like Dean Chance. We were edged out at the end by Boston. By then, Jimmie Hall was playing elsewhere. He ended up as a true journeyman major leaguer. He kept getting new chances possibly because teams felt he might re-discover his old form. That proverbial "change of scenery." But it didn't work out.
"Jimmie Randolph Hall" ended up playing for the California Angels, Cleveland Indians, New York Yankees, Chicago Cubs and Atlanta Braves.
He has been known in his post-baseball life for not wanting to associate with the game anymore. Sid Hartman wrote that Hall was "bitter about baseball." I won't second-guess that. I wish Hall would come back for a reunion just to thrill all those young fans from bygone times. Put the bitter stuff aside and just do it for us.
Really a quite fine career
In eight big league seasons, Hall batted .254 with 121 home runs, 391 RBIs, 387 runs, 100 doubles, 24 triples and 38 stolen bases in 963 games. A lot of baseball players would give their right arm for a career like that. Hall did get a hit in the World Series.
I just wish that beaning had never happened. It's debatable to what extent it affected his career. Sometimes the consequences of head injuries don't show up right away. I hope there were no long-term effects with our beloved "Jimmie." He's ingrained in the memories of boomer-age fans in Minnesota.
"Jimmie Randolph Hall from Mount Holly, North Carolina." Just consider it Mayberry. Stop in at the filling station and see "Goober."
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com