Apple pie, the Flag and baseball – iconic symbols of the American experience. The “go-to” place for baseball in Uptown is Bryant Square Park, 31st Street and Bryant Avenue, during the summer season from May through July.
Jasha Johnston (aka J.J.) has been coaching two teams of youth baseball there for the past five years. This year he is coaching the 13 and under and 15 and under age groups. Between the two teams they have had three undefeated regular seasons out of the last five and have made it to the finals every year plus one city championship and two second places.
Some of the boys have been with him every year. He moved his coaching up into the next age group along with his players as they grew up so they can stay together. That’s one of the things that accounts for their excellent record, along with practice four days a week for a month. They’re on the field as soon as the snow melts and keep going all season.
“We take it seriously,” says J.J., “but we always have fun. I get a lot of help from parents and even some volunteers who have no affiliation with the kids prior and just want to help.”
For information on Minneapolis Parks Board youth baseball, go to www.minneapolisparks.org. The Minneapolis Youth Baseball Association (MYBA) at www.MYBA.us is another resource for south Minneapolis youth.