CHOKIO, Minn. (WCCO) — It’s hard to imagine the summer months without seeing kids out on a baseball field.
That diamond-shaped space is found in parks, schools and of course in professional stadiums. And in rural Minnesota, access to the fields isn’t always the most convenient.
Two brothers found a way to improvise and bring the game they loved to their back yard. No matter the setting, certain traditions in baseball remain the same.
And at a field on the outskirts of Chokio, there is an emphasis on authenticity.
“If you look at the outfield we have sponsor signs, they’re free sponsors. They didn’t pay anything,” Brock Marty said.
Here, a simple pick-up game has a high-stakes feel. That’s partly due to the attention to detail put in by Brock and Andrew Marty.
“A lot of hard work and effort,” Brock said.
Two years ago, these brothers realized rural living can be a challenge for a young athlete.
“We live out in the middle of nowhere,” Brock said.
Their solution: A backyard baseball diamond. Why drive 15 minutes when you can walk just 15 feet to begin play?
“I use it, probably more than anybody,” Andrew Marty said.
The approval process wasn’t a problem.
“For me, we live out here. No one’s going to see my lawn for the most part so to have a baseball field that’s not that big of deal,” Anita Marty said.
With no budget to build, the boys improvised.
“What I did was took a pallet and then found some wood out in bunk that I cut by hand,” Brock said.
Every aspect of the field eyeballed to perfection, far exceeding anyone’s expectations.
“It’s really neat. They did a good job, they worked hard at it,” the boys’ parents said.
“I’m very impressed everything here seems so unique,” one young player said.
Yet don’t mistake this for a field of dreams.
“That was the joke we had too but our kids don’t know what that movie is,” Anita said.
This is more of a sandlot experience with a country setting.
“You get together you go in jeans and a T-shirt. You hit the ball around and you enjoy it together as family or group of friends,” Anita siad
As the season winds down on their summertime game, Andrew and Brock turn their attention to fall sports.
“I like football. I also like football, just a little less than him,” they said.
Another backyard transformation is the mark of convenience.
“The closest football field is half an hour away,” Andrew said.
Yet these brothers know to never underestimate the power of home field advantage.
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