WASECA, Minn. (WCCO) — It’s time to play ball once again at a historic Minnesota baseball stadium that partially burned down last month.
On Friday afternoon, the Waseca High School boys baseball team played its first game of the season on its home turf at Tink Larson Field.
The State Fire Marshal’s office suspects the fire last month was intentionally set. The fire started day before season started.
Some seniors on the team are playing their last home game now — but it’s actually the first game they’ve been able to play at their usual stadium this season. They say it means a lot to be back at Tink Larson Field, and shows how resilient the community is.
When the Waseca High School Blue Jays take the field, the players are also taking back what was stolen from them.
At 8 p.m. on April 6, firefighters learned the historic Tink Larson Field — built in 1939 — was in flames.
“Memories — Everyone repeated that over and over again. The memories that they lost there,” Waseca High School Principal Jeanne Swanson said.
Swanson is one of the many adults in the area that grew up on the field. First called the Community Field, the city renamed the stadium Tink Larson field in 1994 to honor the legendary local figure in Minnesota high school baseball.
“The more I do here, the better I feel, because I have spent a lot of my life working on this field,” Larson said. “I just love being here and working on it and trying to make it better.”
For these players, losing memories from the stadium that once stood hurt, but they’ll always have new memories of a community that worked hard to rebuild the place that always brought — and continues to bring — people together.
“I didn’t think we were going to have any home games,” senior player Matt Brownstein said. “It’s a great ending.”
The field still isn’t completely restored. In the six weeks since the fire, they have set up some temporary bleachers, but they still need to rebuild the grandstand that seats 300.
The project will ultimately cost upwards of $1 million. You can donate to help restore the Tink Larson Field’s Grandstand on the city of Waseca’s website.