NEW ULM — The New Ulm City Council has reversed course, voting not to allow the community to host the 2020 State Amateur Baseball Tournament.
The council held a special meeting Friday afternoon, and voted 5-0 to reverse its July 7 decision to allow the New Ulm Baseball Association to go forward with the tournament at Johnson Park and Mueller Park.
“We’re known as a baseball community. With that heritage, I’m sure there’s a lot of disappointed folks in town,” New Ulm Baseball Association president Bob Skillings said. “Many of our committees spent countless hours preparing for this tournament. ... To have it not happen is a real disappointment.”
Skillings said multiple local physicians wrote a joint letter to the city council recommending the community not host the tournament. The decision was also influenced by rising COVID-19 cases in Brown County.
Along with the time invested from the people involved, there was also a lot of money put into hosting the tournament. Over the last four years, somewhere around $3 million was put into renovations on the two ballparks, with a lot of it coming from the city.
For Johnson Park, upgrades included a renovated grandstand and a new observation deck down the right-field line. Mueller Park got a new all-net backstop to improve fan viewing, along with a shade structure over the grandstand.
It’s still unclear if the state tournament will happen this year, as the Minnesota Baseball Association may consider alternative sites.
Skillings has not heard anything official on if New Ulm will possibly be able to host the tournament a different year, but that’s certainly the goal.
“We hope that would be the case,” Skillings said of the prospect of hosting next year. “We were looking forward to showcasing our parks and our community.”
Follow Kevin Dudley on Twitter @Dudley7Kevin.