Arlington, Minnesota has a baseball for a water tower. That’s the first thing you need to know about it. Dundas may tout itself The Town of Baseball, but somebody went up on the water tower in Arlington and painted red stitches. That’s pretty cool. It was very obvious that a trip to the quiet town of 2,000 was in order for some time, and on August 2nd, our opportunity arrived when the A’s booked an exhibition game with Waterville, in advance of the playoffs.
Arlington’s ballpark has a storied reputation as one of the finest parks in the state, having hosted a multitude of sectional, invitational, and state tournament games, and more than a few state champion A’s clubs. We’d even gotten a hot tip from one of our inside sources that the clubhouse beneath Arlington’s grandstand was a must-see spectacle of its own.
It was a beautiful day for a ballgame, with a vivid blue sky illuminating Arlington’s many shades of green—from the diagonal-cut infield, to the painted blocks of the grandstand, to the enameled bleachers, to the lush spruces looming beyond the left field light towers. Arlington’s uniforms, featuring royal blue tops with bright red accents, seem to have been designed to perfectly contrast the sea of greens that surround them. Waterville played the role of traveling villains, in their black-and-red jerseys.
The gorgeous day soon gave way to a lovely sunset, and then a delightful evening under the stadium lights.
After the game, Arlington manager Bryce Eggert was kind enough to flag us down in the bleachers and offer us a tour of the clubhouse we’d been told of, and it was definitely worth seeing. Like a scene from a film about a scrappy mid-American farm team, the A’s clubhouse features sets of individual lockers, weathered sofas, showers, a mini-fridge, and creature comforts one would not expect to find in a little farm-town ballpark in southern Minnesota. Bryce apologized for not having any beers to offer us, as most of his players weren’t old enough to drink.
As we left the park, we were greeted by a pack of Waterville players, cooling off on picnic tables with their own libations. “It’s the Town Ball Tuesday boys!”
As much fun as it is just to travel around, visiting these great parks, it’s a nice bonus to meet so many great folks and hear that somebody’s reading.