As the sun painted a blue-and-purple backdrop behind Minnetonka High School's immaculate Veterans Field on Tuesday, Minnetonka Millers manager Kevin Hoy sat contently in the dugout, spitting tobacco into a white Styrofoam cup every so often while his team thrashed the Minneapolis Lakers.
About 32 miles to the south, a couple dozen people crowded into the cozy, chain-link-fence-adorned Don Giesen Field in the unincorporated community of Union Hill to watch their beloved Bulldogs outlast the Mongtomery Mallards.
And more than 200 miles north of there, a group of weeklong warriors known as the Bemidji Mudcats traveled to Grand Rapids and put on a hitting clinic.
Statewide amateur baseball is nothing new in Minnesota. Nor is it exclusively germane to the Land of Lakes.
But few places in America boast a summer diamond landscape that allows a father and a son to share a dugout with a former minor leaguer and a current small-college standout, all while providing a weekly rallying point...