July 17, 2013 | Volume 100/Number 28

Field Of Lost Dreams: Tourney Outta Here

Eastern A District Games Moved To Billings Due To Outfield Safety Concerns

The Glasgow Reds have been called out at home.

Barring a flip-flop, this will be a program for a tournament that never will be: the 2013 Eastern A District Tournament at Bill Connors Field in Glasgow. The games were moved to Billings with just over a week to go before the first pitch.

It was bound to happen at some point, even for a team as good as the league leading Reds, but no, not like this.

Eastern A District Commissioner Gary Parry called Reds skipper Jack Sprague on Tuesday morning with the news: The American Legion Baseball Eastern A District Tournament, scheduled for next week at Glasgow’s Bill Connors Field, was being moved to Billings at basically the last minute.

The field’s condition – or perceived condition – is why.

Todd Glaser, board president of Legion ball in Glasgow, told The Courier that “numerous complaints from other teams and parents” were made about the ballpark’s outfield.

“It was a safety issue is what I’m told,” said Glaser, whom the commissioner called after Sprague. “I guess the expectations of what the field condition needs to be for a district tournament has really risen in recent years. The sandlot days are over, I guess. You used to just go out and have a good time.”

Glaser said community members worked hard and continually to upgrade the field after 2011 floodwaters covered it. New sodding was put in the outfield, sprinklers were fixed and drainage was improved.

It apparently wasn’t enough, for now. Portions of the outfield remain questionable in quality despite recent re-sodding, but Glaser said Glasgow has not been “kicked out of the rotation” for future district tourneys and conceivably could host it next year.

“It’s time to move on and try to get the field better,” he said. “I think we’ll go after it again, but we will have a board meeting to address that. We’re not going to throw our hands in the air and quit. It is an unfortunate thing. A tremendous amount of work went into it. It was organized, and we had it down well. It was going to be run well.”

Getting the tournament heave-ho means “absorbing some costs,” Glaser said. “It’s tough when you work on a shoestring budget.”

One of those expenses appears to be the 2013 tournament program, which was near completion at Courier Printing and ironically pictured the outfield on its glossy color cover.

Now it’s up to the Reds players to do what they do so often – win – and do it on the road at district.

Despite their first loss Tuesday after 12 straight wins, the Reds remain in first place with a 20-6 league record and stand 42-7 overall. They host the Billings Cardinals for two games this Thursday at 4 and 6 p.m. and then get a week off before traveling to the Eastern A tournament that they were supposed to host.

“They’re a pretty gritty bunch,” Glaser said. “They can play just about anywhere from my standpoint. I think they’ll carry on and keep on playing good baseball.”

They could do it as the tournament’s top seed. While the Reds were on their winning streak, the Laurel Dodgers lost ground in the race by losing twice to Sidney on Sunday and splitting with Glasgow on Tuesday.

Over the past week, the Reds beat the Lewistown Redbirds 8-3 and 10-0 on July 10, the Billings Blue Jays 7-4 and 8-1 on July 11, the Watford City Walleyes 9-4 (in a non-league game) on July 13, and the Sidney Patriots 16-5 and 14-3 on July 14.

On July 16, the Reds lost to the commissioner and then split with Laurel, winning 6-1 and going down 7-0.

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