Wow, what a summer 2018 was. It was dry and hot, but the temperature wasn’t the only hot ticket in Crookston, as the Crookston Reds went 16-8 over the final eight weeks of the season. Since we took over the management of the Reds in 2017, our goal has been to compete at a high level with the top teams in our region and improve our community outreach and support.
We’ve had a lot of success starting with a 9-7 stretch to end 2017 capped with our first trip to the State Amateur Baseball Tournament since the late Jim Karn last took the Reds in 1999. Things went even better in 2018, as we played a record setting 42 games finishing 23-19 with our second consecutive trip to the state tournament. Unfortunately, due to our rather extreme youth, we lose a lot of players to the start of high school fall sports and the start of college, we’ve been short-handed in the state tournament and lost both of our games. But as we continue to raise the average age of the team from year to year, we’ll have more and more players able to participate at state. The future is bright for the Reds!
This season wouldn’t have been possible without the great support we’ve received from our growing fanbase, the local media, the Crookston Baseball Association and the City of Crookston. Two years ago we considered ourselves lucky to have more than five fans at a game. We’ve spent hours increasing our footprint on social media and working to increase our communication with fans, the media and the City. This season, it wasn’t rare for us to look around the ballpark and see 50 or more fans in attendance. It means so much to us that people are willing to come out and enjoy a ball game in support of our team.
Our players, many of them Crookston natives, aren’t paid or compensated for their time spent practicing and traveling up to six hours to play in games. In fact, we must collect players fees to operate on a yearly basis. It’s baseball in its purest form, played FOR THE LOVE THE GAME!
We’d like to acknowledge a few organizations and people who have taken a vested interest in the Reds over the last couple of years. We can’t express enough gratitude for their interest and involvement in our team, regardless of the shape. Our fans were spectacular, especially the turnout we had during the region tournament. Thank you to Leo Blavin, Chris Fee and KROX. KROX was at every home game and broadcast a number of our games throughout the summer including the state tournament game in Shakopee. Thank you to Nolan Beilstein and the Crookston Daily Times. Between our two media organizations, we received more press time than we have in years.
A special thank you to Leann Kawlewski for taking photos at so many of our games. We’re sure Leann took thousands of photos this summer and posted hundreds of them to our Facebook page. And to the City of Crookston, notably IT Director Phillip Barton. Phillip helped in many ways including getting the Reds on the city calendar, chamber calendar, getting games on the Channel 3 bulletin board and he would encourage everyone he talked to in the community to attend Reds games. Phillip and his wife, Amanda, both could be found in the grandstand at Jim Karn Field during most games this summer. And finally, to the Crookston Baseball Association for their continued support, without their financial assistance we wouldn’t be able to fund the program. And to Gary Royal, a former Crookston Red and minor league player, and all our supporters who donate money to the team every season.
Sadly, we need to end this on a more somber note. As many in the community are already aware one of our newest and youngest players, Jackson Seibel was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma this past fall. It’s crazy how someone’s world can get flipped on its head in an instant. Just a couple weeks prior to his diagnosis Jackson way playing alongside his teammates in the state tournament. We’d ask that everyone support Jackson and his family in whatever way they can. If unable to help in that way, we hope you’ll keep Jackson and his family in your thoughts and prayers.
Matt Morin and Rob Silvers
Crookston Reds managers