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Continued: State of Minnesota baseball: Strong, but could be better

  • Article by: DENNIS BRACKIN , Star Tribune
  • Last update: July 10, 2014 - 12:03 PM

“We’ve made improvements,’’ St. Peter said of the program’s goal to get more kids, especially those in the inner city, exposed to baseball. “Baseball can be a path for kids achieving dreams.’’

More challenges await

The Twins president also said major league officials have “been very focused over the course of the last several years on the pace of the game. It’s a significant issue, not just for kids playing but fans at all levels.’’

Baseball has other challenges as well. The rash of injuries requiring Tommy John elbow ligament replacement surgery is ravaging major league pitching staffs. There is ever-increasing competition for youth participation by such sports as soccer and lacrosse. And the Twins’ losing ways have not helped spark interest around the state.

This season, 16 major league teams are averaging fewer than 30,000 fans a game, compared with 13 teams during the 2013 season. The Twins are one of the teams moving to the under-30,000 category, averaging 30,588 last season and 27,759 this season.

“To be honest, we have to win,’’ St. Peter said. “I’ve always said the market rewards you for being competitive. There are enough entertainment options in Minneapolis-St. Paul and the entire Upper Midwest that if you’re not competitive, fans will vote with their feet, so to speak. I’m not pleased where we’re at, but I’m pretty optimistic about the future.

“I know this: The better the Twins do, it impacts participation at the youngest levels, all the way to tee-ball. We feel a responsibility with that, to do our job at the major league level.’’

 

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