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Column: Baseball is missed by so many in New Ulm

Boy, do I miss baseball.

I miss going down to Johnson or Mueller Parks for a game and the first thing I notice is the smell and the sound of popcorn being made.

I miss walking into Johnson Park and smelling not only fresh popcorn but going to the back concession stand at Johnson Park and seeing either LeRoy, Clubby, Adam, Curt or one of the many other volunteers stoking up the grill and getting the cheeseburgers, cheese curds, onion rings, or french fries ready.

I miss walking up the stairs to the press box.

I miss talking to the umpires before games and hearing about games they had one or two days ago.

I miss talking to the coaches before each game, asking them how their season is going and who is a young player who I should watch.

I miss hearing those same coaches tell me about conversations they have had with some ‘baseball parents’ about their kid.

I miss hearing one coach tell me about a player who a parent feels is one of the best players on the team but the coach does not realize it.

I miss that same coach telling me about that same parent asking him why their child is batting ninth and the coach quickly telling them “because I cannot bat him 10th.”

I miss returning to the back concession stand at Johnson Park to get my cheese curds.

I miss seeing one of the volunteers come up to the press box when Tom Wheeler of KNUJ Radio is doing a game, carrying perhaps the biggest double cheeseburger in the history of mankind and seeing Tom methodically devour the meal while broadcasting a game and not missing a beat.

I miss seeing a foul ball at Johnson Park heading towards German Street and hearing the crowd go silent as they wait to hear if it will hit a parked car on the street.

I miss seeing the line of people at the back concession stand at Johnson Park waiting for their food.

I miss hearing LeAnn Fluegge sing the National Anthem before each game and then head to the concession stand to work there.

I miss burning my hands on the hot counter top at the Mueller Park concession stand.

I miss the fans at the game.

I miss seeing the kids at Mueller Park hunting for a lost foul ball on the hill behind third base in the tall grass and then finally finding the ball and getting 50 cents for it and promptly spending it for some candy.

I miss sitting in the press box at Johnson Park and looking over the center field fence into the river valley and seeing how pretty it is.

I miss Linda Flor’s home-made sauerkraut and german potato salad at the park.

I miss seeing the American Legion teams come to New Ulm for the Upper Midwest Classic and seeing their fans head to the food stand and then buy New Ulm’s local brew and having a great time.

I miss coming down to either park and seeing the baseball lights on for a night game.

I miss the smell of the grill at Johnson Park.

I miss the warm days watching baseball.

Boy, do I miss baseball.

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