By Nick Gerhardt
Expect an updated Mini Met next year for the Minnesota Baseball Association state tournament.
Jordan will serve as the third site for the 2018 MBA state tournament with hosts New Prague and Shakopee and is in the midst of renovations.
The Mini Met will host a slate of state tournament games for the seventh time in 2018. The park served as a state tournament host first in 1969 and again in 1973. The park has since been a co-host with Belle Plaine four times -- 1981, 1992, 2004 and 2014.
The Mini Met, which dates to the 1930s, has long been held in high esteem by baseball fans and served as an attraction to Jordan.
“You can go anywhere in the state,” Jordan Brewers manager Scott Hollingsworth said. “They want to come to our park because they always hear about it.”
The Mini Met will be ready to showcase once again.
River Valley League President Ron Beckman served as co-chair for the 2014 state tournament in Jordan and has helped get the park in shape for the 2018 state tournament.
One of the biggest projects will be the replacement of a retaining wall.
“This will not have anything to do with the inside playability or aesthetics within the ball field, but is a project over $100,000 that is a required repair,” Beckman said. “The current wood fence was constructed in 2002. The left field portion of this new fence was constructed in front of a block retaining wall built in 1969 that served as a dual purpose to hold back the road and to be the left field fence. The current wood leftfield fence will remain, however the block retaining wall will be removed and replaced with a new retaining wall for the road.”
The other projects include replacing home plate, upright coolers, additional flag poles and possibly a new walkway to the park. An upright cooler was purchased this year but laydown coolers might be in the works and would replace coolers that are believed to date to the 1940s, Beckman said.
The park underwent significant upgrades in advance of the 2014 state tournament when nearly $90,000 was poured into the facility. Those improvements were the first since the 1969 tournament, according to Beckman.
Home plate was raised about 3 inches, the entire infield was re-graded and sodded. The infield shape shifted a half degree and portions of the outfield were removed and regraded to eliminate pitch. A massive effort to repair the grandstand was undertaken as well after the wood should significant signs of rotting and connections to keep the grandstand in place started to erode away.
The park sees tremendous use during the summer and spring. It has served as a site for the Minnesota State High School League state baseball tournament, not to mention the various teams in Jordan that play there during baseball season. The Coors Light Classic has been played in Jordan for the past six years with co-host Shakopee as well.
Hollingsworth is happy to have Jordan as a third site for the 2018 tournament. He’s equally pleased to see Shakopee and New Prague as co-hosts, too.
“I think it’s great for the area,” he said. “The buzz around town is really good about them having it.”