Amateur baseball games are on for Bird Island Bullfrogs, among others

State board allows amateur teams to play despite state government guidelines

With a lengthy list of guidelines in place and under the direction of the Minnesota Baseball Association’s attorney, amateur baseball is back.

In the middle of it are the Bird Island Bullfrogs and their manager Mike Nagel. Nagel is on the MBA’s board of directors and is its secretary-treasurer.

The board decided in a teleconference meeting Wednesday night to allow teams attempting to resume play as long as guidelines are followed.

“We’ve been waiting and waiting and being really patient for some direction (from the governor),” said Nagel, who noted that the board has sent three letters to Gov. Tim Walz addressing its concerns and intentions during the coronavirus pandemic. “We want to be safe and address all issues for player and crowd safety and public health concerns.

“So we’ve put out a directive for all teams. This isn’t just ‘go out there and play.’”


It’s not clear if the state will fight the board’s decision. Baseball is considered a “medium risk” sport according to state guidelines in dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.

“We’ve crossed our ‘T’s and dotted our ‘I’s,” Nagel said.

Some teams and/or leagues are taking a wait-and-see approach. But not all of them.

Bird Island was to play Friday night at Milroy against the Milroy Irish. The Bullfrogs are then host to the Raymond Rockets at 1:30 p.m. Sunday.

“It feels like it’s Christmas,” Nagel said of the season starting.

Elrosa is set to host the Cold Spring Rockies on Friday night. Elrosa is a member of the Stearns County League, which has decided to allow all its teams to play this weekend, though the games won’t count in the standings.

Nagel said that was a decision made by the state board for fairness issues. Many teams may not be able to use their facilities because of who’s in charge of them. In the Stearns County League, nine of the 10 teams are privately owned.

Raymond is 2-0, having won two exhibitions in South Dakota, which was approved by the board. Bordering states South Dakota and Iowa are allowing amateur baseball games to be played. A number of Minnesota teams have traveled across state lines to play and will continue to do so.


Wednesday’s decision means that most teams are likely to play soon once proper permission is granted through municipalities, city officials and/or park and recreation boards, depending on who owns the ballpark.

There’s another issue. The Northwest Umpires Association has decided through its attorney to not allow its members to umpire games because of liability and health concerns. It means there likely will be a shortage of umpires.

Nagel said the board has approved the use of one umpire to help facilitate teams being able to play.

Nagel said team managers are encouraged to go to the MBA website at to see the guidelines and submit requests for permission to play.

“Can you do me a favor and print that?” asked Nagel, who has been deluged with emails and text messages seeking permission from teams.

Town ball guidelines

Minnesota Baseball Association guidelines:

1.) Encourage social distancing by spectators inside the park. The size of our stadiums makes this easy to accomplish.

2.) Social distancing of players in dugouts, bullpens and outside the dugout to the outfield side if needed.


3.) Hand sanitizer available in both dugouts and at concession stands.

4.) No handshakes, high fives or unneeded contact of any kind.

5.) Players should avoid sharing gear.

6.) Players will label and bring their own water or sports drink. No water fountains may be used under any circumstance.

7.) No spitting of any kind. This includes sunflower seeds, chewing tobacco, etc.

8.) Face masks and gloves may be worn by players, fans and umpires.

9.) Face masks and gloves must be worn by all concession workers.

10.) Umpires can choose to stand behind the catcher or pitcher.


Tom Elliott has been the sports editor at the West Central Tribune since September 2019.
Contact him at or leave a message at 320-235-1150.
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