TWIN CITIES TOURNAMENT IX PREVIEW

Greetings!

I’m Beau Lofgren.  I am 37 years old, been married to my high school sweetheart for 15 years, and I have three young boys (ages 8, 6, and 3).  I teach 3rd grade at Hawley Elementary School in Hawley, MN (population 2,100) and I thoroughly enjoy APBA Baseball.  The spring weather in Minnesota has been absolutely cruel this season.  When you’re the high school varsity baseball coach, you started practice on March 19th, you’ve been inside everyday for the first two weeks, you’ve already had five games postponed, and you will likely be inside for the next two weeks….YUCK!  That’s been the case as Mother Nature seems to be confused as to what she want’s to do.  Fortunately, our school has a very nice indoor facility where we are able to at least take batting practice, play catch, working on pitching and catching.  It looks to be more of the same this week, but hey, I’ll take baseball practice in a gym versus no baseball at all!

One positive effect of the wintry weather we’ve had is that I will be able to participate in the 9th Twin Cities APBA Baseball Tournament.  I’ve been able to attend the last five tournaments with my brother Ben, but because my varsity baseball team was scheduled to play in a tournament that same weekend four hours from the Twin Cities, the chances of me making it this spring were grim at best.  Enter cold, snowy weather and rescheduled tournament games to a date to be determined and POOF!  I’ll be rolling dice this Saturday instead of giving signals from the 3rd base coach’s box!  I’m honored to be able to play in this Minnesota-based APBA Baseball Tournament that brings in people from the upper midwest.

TCABT organizer Jim Fraasch does an exceptional job with this event.  His communication is top-shelf, he’s extremely organized with schedules/results/etc, he passion for APBA practically oozes out of his ears, and he makes you feel welcomed.  Because of my unknown status to participate this spring, Jim was ever so empathetic to my situation.  He’d routinely email me to check in on me to see how things were going on  my end.  He provided scenarios to help if I could/couldn’t make it.  He made it know how much he wanted me there – for a guy that I’ve only seen in person five times in my life….that dedication and relentless effort doesn’t go unnoticed! Thanks to Jim and fellow APBA roller Terry Borthwick, the tournament’s resident back-up player (who’s no slouch…she beat me in the tourney semi-finals last fall 2 games to 1), I’m able to play here this coming weekend!  I even will be rolling 3 games against Jim’s stout 1953 Brooklyn Dodgers – a tall task!

A total of 28 players will be competing this go-around!  Many familiar faces will be returning as well as a few newcomers.  I’m very excited to catch up with my good comrades George Adams and Jeff Boeding – we missed them dearly at the October tournament – George is extremely charismatic and talented in terms of not only his famous ballparks, but just his stories!  He could tell you about his most recent trip to the local library to renew his library card and turn the most interesting life event you’ll ever hear of. He lights up a room!  Jeff epitomizes humility.  He listens, laughs, and follows along with what you’re up to.  I’ve had the privilege of rolling some games with Jeff, and it’s pure joy!

Looking at the tournament field, it’s chock full of tough teams.  The glaring omission I noticed right away?  No A’s teams!  Even I didn’t go with an Athletics squad.  After having great success with the 1990 A’s,  I haphazardly selected the 2010 Minnesota Twins as I was almost certain I wouldn’t be able to participate.  I like that squad, simply because of Jim Thome.  I was able to watch him in person several times that season as Target Field made it’s debut as well.  Justin Morneau also had a HUGE first half before an unfortunate concussion sidelined him for the season, and he was never the same after that.  The front office made many deals that year to help the Twins maintain success, which is typically not was the Twins do.  After winning the AL Central, it was more of the same – a season-ending sweep by the Yankees.  I’m hoping I can give the 2010 Twins a bit of redemption.

Below are the divisions – I borrowed this from Jim’s fantastic APBA Page – Jim’s APBA Barn:

GABBY HARTNETT DIVISION
2017 ASTROS (JOHN KALOUS)
1938 YANKEES (DAVE NORLANDER)
2006 TWINS (DARRELL SKOGEN)
1942 YANKEES (BEN LOFGREN)

FRANK HOWARD DIVISION
2006 PADRES (KURT BERGLAND)
1972 PIRATES (GARTH ANDERSEN)
1970 TWINS (CHRIS KAUFMAN)
1995 INDIANS (PAUL VAN BEEK)

REGGIE JACKSON DIVISION
1976 REDS (CRAIG CHRISTIAN)
2001 MARINERS (MARTY LEE)
1987 TIGERS (FRED JOHNSON)
1980 EXPOS (SCOTT EGGE)

ROGER MARIS DIVISION
1953 DODGERS (JIM FRAASCH)
1954 INDIANS (PAT MARTIN)
2017 INDIANS (ROB SKOGEN)
2010 TWINS (BEAU LOFGREN)

MINNIE MINOSO DIVISION
1998 BRAVES (MIKE VITT)
1993 BLUE JAYS (LEROY ARNOLDI)
1973 BRAVES (GEORGE ADAMS)
1911 GIANTS (BRUCE TYLER)

ENOS SLAUGHTER DIVISION
1969 ORIOLES (ROBERT ELLEY)
2017 NATIONALS (KEVIN CLUFF)
1968 TIGERS (DARRELL SHREVE)
2016 INDIANS (BOB COLLINS)

TED WILLIAMS DIVISION
1941 DODGERS (GREGG NELSON)
1936 YANKEES (JEFF BOEDING)
1955 DODGERS (PHIL GERAFFO)
1998 YANKEES (GARY BORTHWICK)

I will predict that the final 8 teams to make bracket play will be:

1938 Yankees, 1995 Indians, 1976 Reds, 1953 Dodgers, 1998 Braves, 1968 Tigers, 1998 Yankees, and 2017 Indians will get the wild card.  I won’t go any further with predictions, but it will be fun to see how the games play out.  I’ll look to savor the entire journey – my drive down I-94 to the Twin Cities with my brother Ben, our bantering in the hotel room, more conversations and laughs at the tournament, and recapping it all on our four hour drive back home.  It’s a mighty fun time – if you’ve never played a face to face APBA tournament and you love APBA, you need to make it a priority!  It’s worth every second!

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2 thoughts on “TWIN CITIES TOURNAMENT IX PREVIEW

  1. Ron

    Great post Beau. I wish I could make it. You described all the points that make this tournament great. One other thing is the hosting provided by Darryl Skogen. He opens his house to 30+ guys every time, you can tell he enjoys it very much. Always so much APBA knowledge in the house on this day

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  2. Larry Rice

    Great article, Beau! Good luck to you and Ben and bring the trophy back to Hawley! Wish I wasn’t so far away. Sometimes those “unplanned” team decisions work out pretty well?

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