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Brute's Bleat March 15, 2017
I barely got into the Messenger office Monday when I received a call from Dale Welter, Chaska, who has a wealth of town team baseball information and statistics between his ears as well as some of his exploits in other areas. He was a former room-mate of mine (behind Ed’s Barber Shop) while on the ML high school faculty years ago. Along with the box scores from town team baseball in the 1940s and before which I need to review before publishing, was a story about Welter winning the Hamm’s Hit a Homer Contest at the Metropolitan Stadium back in the ‘70s. Welter was 29 years old at the time and one of the contestants. His was a 380-foot “blast into the right-field bleachers. Over 2,000 people tried to do the same, but failed.” His prizes were a trip to the World Series in New York with his bride, Yvonne, and a case of Hamm’s beer each week for one year. If I remember the incident correctly, he used a metal bat, which wasn’t illegal but questionable, after noticing those using wood bats would only get as far as the warning track. The story continued, “Maybe those other 2,000-plus didn’t have the same ‘bridal inspiration’ as the man from Chaska” (they were married on Sept. 29 that year).
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Another Maple Lake St. Patrick’s Day Festival is history as of last Saturday and to the spectators it was obvious “the world loves a parade.” Even though the temperature was in the middle 20s at parade time, the people lined the streets from the city park starting point winding around the Legion Club to the Maple Lake Lumber corner. There were over 125 parade units with a lot of variety to keep the adults and kids interested, and with that, a salute to the ML Chamber for a job well done. There were a couple of pickups already parked off Division Street and Oak Ave. Thursday afternoon for a good viewing spot. The festival had some competition from the Boys State High School Hockey tournament with Monticello-Annandale-Maple Lake facing off with No. 1 Hermantown in the bid for the state championship. An upset win over Delano in their first game, and then defeating Northfield in the semi-finals, set the stage for the championship. MAML had an early game lead and it looked like another upset in the making, but Hermantown came on strong, sending the game into overtime and winning, despite having one goal taken away following a reviewal in the second overtime.
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While Maple Lake has been open since March 9th, the east end froze up pretty much with the recent cold snap. Mud Lake, south of Hwy. 55, suffered the same fate. I’m still thinking about late season ice up north in Ottertail County, but I’ll need a good report or two before heading out. Sunday night’s snow, about 2 inches, was blown around a little, but I’m inclined to think waiting for the weekend’s 50-degree weather might be better than getting the snowblower out. That might be considered a cop-out which is fine with me, but it’s still March and we could get something more substantial. My boat is still in the backyard and rather than get excited about getting it ready for the open water season, it would be more prudent to go through the tackle box, perhaps put some new line on several reels, and in general, take care of cleaning and oiling the reels. I’m always reluctant to throw away any of the items in my tackle box, but I’m thinking half the sinkers should be taken out, if for no other reason than to make carrying and lifting it much easier. . . My fly rod should be taken off its hooks and wiped down in anticipation of some early season crappies when they show up in the shallow water. Last year I used it fishing out of the boat before I wanted to put on the waders which went well when the crappies were hungry.
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I was out and about Sunday morning about 7 a.m. and was impressed with the city maintenance crew which had been busy sweeping the streets and picking up garbage left by the parade fans. Besides losing an hour to Daylight Savings Time they lost some shut-eye that morning and on Monday the same crew was out plowing snow from the streets and avenues. They’re a dedicated bunch of employees and I commend them for the pride they take in their efforts.