By Nick Gerhardt
This is the second of a series of articles that will focus on the ballparks that will host the 2018 MBA state tournament. In the following weeks co-host Jordan will be featured.
Joe Schleper Stadium in Shakopee is in held in high regard across the state and in part because of that esteem, it will serve as one of three hosts for the 2018 Minnesota Baseball Association state tournament.
Joe Schleper Stadium last served as a state tournament site in 2008 but the people who maintain the park haven't rested on their laurels in the last decade. The stadium has undergone several transformations that have kept it toward the top of the list of best parks in the state.
The stadium has been known through the years for its furnishings. The field used to have the bleachers from old Met Stadium but has replaced those with seats from the old Metrodome.
In addition there has been other work on going, like a new deck between the first base dugout and the grandstand. It will be about 20 feet wide and have two low levels. There will be a stairway to a second level that will sit about 6-7 feet off the ground.
“It’ll be new and exciting for us,” said Gary Schleper, son of Joe Schleper, and manager of the Shakopee Indians.
The park has seen changes to the concession stand, the dugouts and the batter’s eye. Throughout 2014 and 2015 the park got new lights and a new scoreboard. Fenced-in bullpens were built last year and all new netting behind the plate will be installed this spring.
Shakopee previously hosted state tournaments in 1938, 1939, 1940 and 1948, prior to 2008 when it co-hosted with Chaska.
The Indians won back-to-back state titles in 2009 and 2010. Shakopee lost in the opening round of the 2017 state tournament 1-0 to Moorhead on a walk-off sacrifice fly.
“They had a nice run last year so hopefully they duplicate that again this year,” Schleper said.