by Dave DeMars
American Legion Post 328 has been the proud sponsor of a Legion baseball team for 28 years, according to Pat Schneider. Rain or shine, win or lose – young men ages 15 to 19 who have a passion for the game of baseball have found an organized place to hone their skills and enjoy the camaraderie of others who love to play the game.
But that sponsorship of Legion ball may come to an end soon. Mike Staller, who has been involved in the Legion ball program for four years and is the Legion liaison for the baseball team, has been having some difficulty in rounding up guys who are willing to commit to playing.
“I just hate to see it disappear,” Schneider said. He helped to found the team back in 1990.
The majority of St. Joseph players have come out of the St. John’s Prep school program, but anyone ages 15-19 who lives in the St. Joseph area is eligible to join the team. There is no cost to join; most equipment and uniforms are provided by the Legion. And the schedule is light – a dozen or so games during the months of June and July. Most games are played in the evening starting at 6:30 p.m on Mondays and Thursdays. Home games are at Schneider Field in St. Joseph.
It’s a laid-back baseball experience without lots of pressure to perform, Schneider said.
“St. (Joseph) has a long tradition of supporting youth baseball,” Staller said. “This year is no exception and we are looking for individuals who would like to play summer Legion baseball between the ages of 15-19.”
The season is ready to start, and the first game is scheduled for June 4, but interested kids shouldn’t let that bother them. If they would like to play, Staller said he has room for them. Just call him at 612-730-0879 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or Pat Schneider, 320-309-2791 or email him at email@example.com.
Why should young guys be interested in playing ball? That is simple Staller says.
“It’s a chance to play again with the guys they played school ball with, especially for seniors. After this they break up and go on to different colleges or go to work and they don’t have that opportunity to play baseball again with their buddies. And it’s a great way to represent the community of St. (Joseph).”
Another benefit of playing Legion ball is it give young guys a chance to work on skills and improve their play. Some of them might be looking ahead to playing with the town amateur team.
“Practice makes perfect” the old saying goes. And here’s a chance to get some practice in laid-back games with little pressure and to perfect their skills.