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BASEBALL: Local players to take part in All-Star festivities

BEMIDJI — Major League Baseball will hold its annual All-Star celebration next week and Bemidji Youth Baseball will be a part of Monday’s Fan Fest at the Minneapolis Convention Center and Sunday’s Futures Game at Target Field.

“We will have 30 kids playing on two T-Ball teams during the Fan Fest,” said Bemidji Youth League Baseball president Bruce Dahlin. “And on Sunday we will be represented at the Futures Game by Dylan Jarvi who is a member of our Pinnacle Junior League team.

“We’re very excited to send these kids to the All-Star weekend.”

Rob Conner is the national Babe Ruth Baseball commissioner and he met BYLB treasurer Moe Webb at last fall’s regional meeting. Webb also is the state commissioner for Cal Ripken Baseball and earlier this year Conner asked Webb if Bemidji Youth Baseball would be interested in sending a couple of teams to Fan Fest and a player to the Futures Game.

“And, of course, we were excited with the opportunity,” Dahlin said.

BYLB officials invited all of the T-Ball kids to participate in the Fan Fest game which will probably be a two-inning contest matching one Bemidji team against the other starting around 5 p.m.

“We were going to take the first 24 kids who signed up but we had 30 kids who wanted to go so we decided to take them all,” Dahlin said. “All 30 of the kids are very excited.”

The youngsters will be joined by BYLB Day League commissioner Kevin Murphy, Night League commissioner Scott Peterson and coaches Thomas Revering, Erik Fitzgerald and Gabe Salander.

Bemidji’s T-Ball players will not be the only celebrities at Fan Fest on Monday. Among the other notable baseball players scheduled to be signing autographs that day are Paul Molitor, Jack Morris, Terry Steinbach, Dave Winfield, Rollie Fingers, Ferguson Jenkins, Brian Harper, Dwight Gooden, Eddie Guardado, Frank Viola and Brad Radke.

Clinics also will be presented by Joe Mauer, Andre Dawson, Winfield, Lou Brock, Bert Blyleven, Harper, Jim Kaat, Guardado and Radke.

Fans will also have the chance to have their pictures taken with Mauer, Dawson, Brock, Blyleven and Kaat and question and answer sessions are being scheduled with Winfield, Dawson, Brock, Morris, Molitor, Blyleven, Gooden and Kaat.

That group of players represent baseball’s past and present. The future of the game, however, will be on display Sunday when Major League Baseball hosts its annual Futures Games which is an All-Star contest involving the best players of the minor leagues.

Bemidji Youth Baseball was also contacted about the possibility of being represented at that game and Jarvi was the natural selection.

“Through the Baseball Tomorrow Fund we were able to apply for and receive a $30,000 grant for our batting cage and, because of that grant, Baseball Tomorrow asked if we would like to have a player represent Bemidji Youth Baseball at the Futures Game,” Dahlin said. “And right away we knew who that player would be.”

Jarvi is a diamond rat. He is always at the park helping out wherever he can and he also made a major contribution to the batting cage fund.

“Dylan’s parents gave him $1.75 for the concession stand but he decided to donate that money to the indoor hitting facility fund,” Dahlin said. “BYLB has received larger donations to the fund but none have been greater than Dylan’s.

“And Dylan is such a great kid,” Dahlin continued. “He loves baseball and he loves being part of the game. He’ll be decked out in his Bemidji gear and he is excited to represent us and to meet all of the players.”

Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

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