AUSTIN EDITION -- Baseball, patriotism go together
But days of celebrating at Marcusen Parkare numbered
With a stroke of good fortune, this reporter returned from an annual sojourn to the northern Rocky Mountains in time to cover the Post 91 Baseball Classic during the Fourth of July weekend.
Spending time at Marcusen Park only lent to the festive atmosphere of the holiday. I practically grew up running around the old ballpark along the banks of the Cedar River, and it was nice to be home after living on the road.
What more could a baseball fan want? The weekend was filled with celebratory events. Off in the distance, you could see the fireworks on Friday night and hear the concert at the bandshell on Saturday evening.
The Austin American Legion baseball team made a good showing as runner-ups of their tourney, and they weren't the only game in town. Little league coach Gabby Weiss and his junior all-stars team hosted their 25th annual International Youth Baseball Tournament at Todd Park.
American flags were placed along the fences at Marcusen Park as patriotism and baseball fit together nicely on the local scene with the celebrations of Independence Day.
Future in doubt
While sitting by the river at my favorite ballpark, dark thoughts about the future of Marcusen Park lingered in the fading sun. I wasn't the only fan on hand over the weekend who pondered the fate of the old relic.
The construction of the new multi-field project at Riverland College is progressing and that will be the home of Austin's baseball teams.
Nothing lasts forever, but Marcusen Park is still a beautiful field and with care it could last another 50 years. For a student of history, covering games there has been a learning experience.
To deprive future generations of that history lesson by not playing baseball at Marcusen Park would seem a travesty. This subject has been touched many times in my column and it will continue to be a prevalent theme.
No new baseball complex can replace the legacy of the venerable old ballpark by the river. But face it, baseball fans: When the Cedar River floods again, the days of Marcusen Park will likely be over.
Forsaking his love of baseball for a higher calling, T.J. Parlin of Austin has been competing in Greco-Roman wrestling this summer. Parlin won the Class AAA state title at 130 pounds last March, and he knows it will take more work to defend his championship next season.
Parlin spent the spring playing baseball for Lyle/Austin Pacelli, which won the Southeast Conference title. After playing Legion baseball last summer, Parlin is concentrating on wrestling this summer.
Parlin was on the Minnesota team that won the Greco-Roman National Title during duals in late June at Enid, Oklahoma. Parlin won five matches in the event held on June 25-26.
Packer track camp
The Austin Packer track coaches will host a camp on July 28-Aug. 2. This will be a week-long camp with a track meet scheduled for the final day.
Youngsters from ages five through the fifth grade can take part in the track camp for a fee of $25.
Athletes will be grouped according to age and they will participate in the high jump, long jump, triple jump, hurdles, discus, shot put, relays, and miscellaneous running events.
Registration forms are available at Nemitz's in downtown Austin or at the Parks and Recreation office. For further information on the track camp, contact coach Pete Walker at 507-433-6938.
Scott Kolb is a Post-Bulletin sports writer. He writes a weekly Tuesday column and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org