By Mike Max

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Town teams and baseball parks enrich Minnesota in many ways. Todd Mueller had heard the stories of storied baseball parks throughout Minnesota and the people that played on them and maintained them. So he set out to do it justice in the form of a book.

“I learned a lot on this trip and I learned that these are special venues,” Mueller said. “These are state treasures and my hope with the book was to unveil these treasures.”

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That was what so many people already know — that there is a history behind these ballparks that make them hallowed ground.

What Mueller found out about the people is that they care a lot about their ballparks, and about the game.

“I realize how serious that the generation before me — my father’s generation — took this whole thing,” he said. “Many of them have passed. A lot of them are still doing their thing but they’re slowing down a little bit. And the question is how do they pass the baton onto the next generation?”

And there is something special about the people who take care of their personal gardens. Behind each great ballpark is a great groundskeeper who leads the way.

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“The groundskeepers are everything and the ballplayers will tell you that too. They give great credit to these guys,” said Mueller. “There’s some caregivers, groundskeepers that do it their way and they’ll do it alone.”

Yes, these games, these teams, these traditions, they are unique to this state in many ways.

“Darryl McReynolds, who was a Dodgers scout for many years here in the Twin Cities and the upper Midwest, stated unequivocally that the best ballparks he had ever been to were in the state of Minnesota,” said Mueller.

Because in this state there is something special about the grand old game, Minnesota style.

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“The bottom line is pride. Pride and passion,” Mueller said. “As one person told me, this is hallowed ground, and they treat it like that.”

Mike Max