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Korby's Connections: Cold finally leads to inside baseball

Obviously, it has been a strange winter. I didn’t (but could have) rake leaves in Cloquet on Dec. 18. There was no snow, but it was too windy. It’s wacky. The Rugged Spruce Senior Golf League in Mahtowa played competitively on Nov. 15. Greens were a hair slow, but it’s still pretty lucky to be hacking outdoors near the end of the year. The course was playing a little easier because the water hazards were frozen.

The Twin Cities area, just last week, had golf courses opening for play and all tee times booked. There are many who hate to give in to the elements and, inevitably, golfers have to face cold reality.

The Senior Retiree Dart Baseball competition began in mid-October. Stubborn at first, golf league competitors have now transitioned to join others at 9 a.m. Monday mornings at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church on Doddridge Avenue in Cloquet. About 25 brave retirees show up weekly.

Teams are chosen randomly and then play three games, separated by two coffee breaks. There’s usually four on a team with games going simultaneously. The fellowship hall is active with laughing and chiding. Players range in age from their mid-60s to pushing 90. The targets include balls, strikes, outs, singles, doubles, triples and homers, and even errors, double plays and sacrifices. Players throw darts underhand 15 feet from the targets. Games are nine innings. If there is a tie, a home run derby contest is set up to determine a winner. Unlike real baseball, most players go home without grass stains or dirty pants.

Ray Wiles continues to serve as commissioner with Mike Berthiume bringing the all-important coffee break treats. Ron Stahl is a backup for both of these crucial functions. Cost is $2 per week plus a coffee donation. Volunteer scorekeepers and umpires are not paid. Games conclude usually just before noon. There will be a two-week hiatus, with both Christmas and New Year’s Day falling on Mondays.

Happy holidays to all competitors and their rowdy fans.

Steve Korby’s interest in writing goes back to when he was in fourth grade and editor of the Scan-Satellite school newspaper in Scanlon. He welcomes ideas for human interest stories and tales regarding Carlton County residents, projects, history, and plans c/o [email protected].

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