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Decision not to have state tournament ends years of hard work

Friday afternoon there were two decisions made at the meeting of the New Ulm City Council.

One came when the New Ulm City Council voted to stop the 2020 Minnesota State Amateur Baseball Tournament from being played at Johnson and Mueller Parks here in New Ulm because of legitimate concerns about the rise of COVID-19 cases in Brown County recently.

At the council meeting were some boosters of New Ulm baseball, physicians, the Presidents of the Minnesota Baseball Association and the New Ulm Baseball Association as well as other concerned citizens.

Now for all intents and purposes, the decision to reverse a 3-2 approval made July 7 by the New Ulm City Council at this meeting was pretty much a formality and a good one for the health of all of New Ulm’s citizens.

No one in attendance, including the baseball boosters, would dispute or even argue that decision. Everyone there understood why.

They were in total agreement with the decision because of the rise and concern about COVID-19 in Brown County and in New Ulm.

But the second decision made by a group of people after the unanimous decision created some anger, disappointment, sadness and heartbreak.

Loud cheers and clapping were heard following that vote in the hallway of City Hall by people who were happy that there would be no baseball tournament in New Ulm because of COVID-19.

Again, that decision was the right one to make. Again no one disagrees with that.

But I wonder if these people who loudly cheered and clapped at the decision know what it really meant to many of their fellow citizens.

It was a decision that ended nearly seven years of hard work by many of their fellow New Ulmites who –through no fault of their own and because of the pandemic — saw that dream not become reality.

It was a dream that began back in 2013 by the late Herb Schaper and was kept alive by people like Al Flor and Bob Skillings

Three years of hard work that began in 2013 was rewarded in 2016 when the Minnesota Baseball Association awarded the 2020 tournament to New Ulm.

That started monthly meetings in getting committees organized to host the tournament.

It meant the end of a dream for many people of New Ulm who may be their neighbors, friends or even patients who have worked over six years to try and bring a Minnesota State Amateur Baseball Tournament to New Ulm for the first time since 1990.

Securing a tournament like this does not happen by snapping your fingers. It takes a lot of hard work. It requires hours and hours away from family because there are things that have to be done to bring the tournament to New Ulm, a tournament that would have, under normal circumstances, been a positive economic impact to our city and brought in visitors from all over Minnesota.

There were thousands of volunteer hours put into getting this tournament.

It ended a dream started by Schaper back in 2013 who wanted to see a state amateur baseball tournament come back to New Ulm.

And the RENU committee worked hard on the improvements at Johnson and Mueller Parks in New Ulm to help bring a state tournament.

It ended the dream by Tom Schmitz and the New Ulm Park and Recreation Department, who worked hard on improving the fields.

There were hundreds of volunteers hours, maybe put in by one of their friends or neighbors, who worked years on getting the state tournament here in New Ulm.

They wanted New Ulm to be showcased to all of Minnesota.

The decision that the New Ulm City Council made Friday to stop the tournament here was the right one to make for the health of New Ulm. No baseball person would even dispute that.

The decision to clap and cheer by some people after the meeting was, in my opinion, the wrong one.

It was, quite literally a slap in the face of every person who worked hard on getting the state tournament.

Perhaps this group should have been more informed on what transpired to get the state tournament here. It sure would have been more respectful.

And really a lot more understanding of what happened in those 10 minutes.

I think almost seven years of hard work by their fellow citizens deserved that.

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