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AUSTIN EDITION Lights, camera, action

Marcusen Park to be featured on Fox Sports Net North telecast

Fox Sports Net North will broadcast its pre-game show on Friday night from Marcusen Park.

The Minnesota Twins are playing on the road against the Kansas City Royals that night, but part of the television crew will be in Austin. This is part of a program done by FSN over the baseball season to showcase ballparks across the state.

While the outdoor beauty of Kauffman Park, home of the Royals, will be on display during the game, the backdrop of Marcusen Park will be featured during the lead-in segments. The Austin Blue Sox and Austin Greyhounds will play an exhibition game to highlight the special attraction that is amateur ball.

The Fox Net airing will also touch on some of the historical legacy that emanates from Marcusen Park.

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Still the same

Although the crowds no longer number in the thousands, much still remains the same as it did decades ago at Marcusen Park. This old ballpark was saved by a concerned group of citizens, and it will be quite a treat for the park committee to show off their field to Twins viewers.

The building where Bill "Moose" Skowron once hit a ball off the roof, still stands hundreds of feet beyond the left-field fence. The world has certainly changed over the last half-century, but the old ballpark by the meandering river remains timeless.

During my last few trips to the park, I noticed a gazebo being constructed out past the center field fence. At first, I thought it was a monument to the place where Kent Hrbek once hit a monumental home run in a Legion state tournament game.

This will be labeled as "Fan Appreciation Night" with reduced prices on the concessions and games for the kids.

Third meeting

Although the upcoming game between the two amateur teams in town has little meaning, you would think the pride of the Greyhounds must be a little hurt after being shut out in their two previous meetings.

This grudge match will carry into the postseason playoffs. I wouldn't count out the veteran experience of the Hounds, but they didn't play very well in either of the games against the Blue Sox.

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Yet, any team that has made it to the championship round of the state tournament four times this decade can't be taken lightly. Friday night's exhibition should get everybody charged up for the playoffs.

John Frein of the Hounds summed it up best when he said, "I hope we have a big crowd for this game. It doesn't count in the standings, but I can't wait to play the Blue Sox again. This is an exciting time of the season."

Baseball fever

Sweltering heat was the story of last weekend's American Legion district tournament, but it was still fun to see the fans come from other towns to visit Marcusen Park. The infield was a little hard from the relentless sun, otherwise the park looked great during the four days of the tournament.

On the other end of town, the 14-year-olds of Austin Youth Baseball hosted a state tournament at the Riverland Complex. The completion of the four-field facility on the northwest side has made it possible for Austin to host multiple tournaments at the same time.

Baseball has once again taken center stage this summer in Austin just like in the old days. Hopefully, in a few years the state amateur tournament will be held here and more folks can be part of the history at Marcusen Park.

Scott Kolb is a Post-Bulletin sports writer. He writes a weekly Tuesday column and can be reached at skolb@postbulletin.com

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