Money guarantee would be required to land state amateur tournament every yearSioux Falls writes a check of guaranteed money when Sioux Falls Stadium hosts the event, and the Amateur Baseball Association collects just the gate receipts when the event is in Mitchell.
By: Justin Rust, The Daily Republic
Since 1998, the Class B state amateur baseball tournament has rotated between Cadwell Park and Sioux Falls Stadium.
Two out of three years, Cadwell Park hosts the event and Sioux Falls Stadium, which hosted the event last year, gets the tournament the third year.
Mitchell is hosting the tournament this year and has already been named the host for next year’s event, keeping the cycle intact.
The tournament runs through Sunday, with the championship game at 2 p.m.
According to the Herb Sundall, the secretary and treasurer for the South Dakota Amateur Baseball Association, both facilities have advantages to hosting the event.
“(Cadwell) is a great facility, and so is Sioux Falls,” he said. “But Sioux Falls is a different facility. It’s a more professional atmosphere, whereas Mitchell has a small-town baseball feel, and I say that in a sense that many people like that and they prefer Mitchell.
“They both have their pluses.”
Longtime Mitchell Baseball Association board member Bob Young echoed that fact that many people prefer having the tournament in Mitchell.
“If you ask 15 people, I would be surprised if 14 of the 15 people wouldn’t want it out here permanently,” he said.
If the fans prefer having the tournament at Cadwell than in Sioux Falls, why does Sioux Falls host the tournament once every three years?
It’s because Sioux Falls writes a check of guaranteed money when Sioux Falls Stadium hosts the event, and the Amateur Baseball Association collects just the gate receipts when the event is in Mitchell.
“The last time Sioux Falls hosted, the guarantee was $42,000,” Sundall said. “That’s the arrangement that we made with Sioux Falls. Rather than getting the gate receipts, they guarantee us a flat amount of gross receipts. They take whatever the admissions are.”
The ABA pays the expenses at both sites, but the $42,000 covers any expense the ABA would have. The check actually guarantees a profit for the ABA in Sioux Falls as Johnston said it takes about $37,000 to run the tournament.
“When the association goes to Sioux Falls, they know they will be guaranteed a profit, and there is not guaranteed here,” he said.
The last time the tournament was in Mitchell, the ABA made a profit on the event. In 2009, Sundall said Mitchell had its highest-ever gate receipts.
“The receipts were a little over $45,000,” he said. “That’s the highest one we have ever had.”
When Canova beat Dell Rapids PBR, Johnston said it was the “best single session ever take” in the history of the association.
So why does Mitchell not write a guaranteed check like Sioux Falls does to host the tournament every year? There is too much risk involved, according to those involved
“The association made more money in Mitchell two years ago than they made in Sioux Falls last year because we had a great tournament,” Johnston said. “There are years they have lost money here, too. Sioux Falls has deeper pockets than we do. We are not in a situation where we can guarantee money here.”
When Cadwell Park hosts the state tournament, two Mitchell organizations work together to host the event — the Mitchell Baseball Association and the Mitchell Exchange Club. For both organizations, the state tournament is the biggest fundraiser of the year.
The Mitchell Exchange Club runs the concession stands during the tournament, which includes the food and beer sales.
Brian Loken, the president of the Mitchell Exchange Club, said the event generates anywhere from $15,000 to $20,000 for the organization yearly. Since the tournament is held two out of every three years in Mitchell, Loken said the money that is made during the two years is spread out over a three-year period.
Loken said the Exchange Club gives out the money to various community projects, organizations or activities around town.
“It’s basically what we look forward to,” he said. “This is the big one. We do a lot of things for the community, and the reason we can do that is because of fundraising.
“This isn’t like the pancake feeds or selling raffle tickets. This is a lot easier and more fun to do, so we would rather come out here and enjoy some baseball.”
The MBA makes a cut of the concession sales as well — about 20 percent — and it also gets the money from program sales.
Young said the MBA makes between $12,000 to $15,000 a year during the tournament.
“That all goes into the Mitchell Baseball Association to run our programs and stuff,” he said. “It’s goes to the Legion team and the three teener teams. With the look of what is happening with the young kids, we could have four teener teams next year.”
Because the money goes to support both programs, Loken and Young are reluctant to make a guarantee to ABA to have Mitchell host the tournament on a yearly basis.
“My vote would be no,” Young said. “It’s just a matter at putting money at risk that we need to run our programs in the summer, so we can’t risk any money for a state amateur tournament.
“We spend $60,000 to $65,000 a year and this is one of our fundraisers. We just can’t put any money on the line.”
Loken added that it would be a risk to guarantee money.
“From a guarantee perspective, the risk comes on us then,” he said. “It’s something we might not feel as comfortable with.”
But Loken did not rule out a possibility that the Exchange Club could one day approach the MBA with the idea of putting a guarantee together.
However, Loken said the MBA would not be the first organization the Exchange Club would go to with that idea.
“We would have to see if it was in our best interests and the organizations that we support best interest,” he said. “We are probably not going to go that route, but we are certainly open to the conversation.”
Loken did say he would like to have the tournament here every year, though.
“We want to have it here forever,” he said. “We try to put together the best event, so we are willing to talk about it if the (MBA) wants to move forward.”
The amount that the Exchange Club and MBA would have to guarantee is not known, though.
Sundall said he would have to talk to both groups about how much would be guaranteed to have the event in Mitchell every year.
“It’s not a set amount,” he said. “The amount Sioux Falls pays was a negotiated amount between them and us. The same would be true if Mitchell wanted to make a guarantee.”
Even though Mitchell cannot make a guarantee, the city is not in danger of losing the event.
“We are always glad to be in Mitchell and appreciate the cooperation with all of the people that are involved,” he said. “We’ve had this relationship for a long time, and we hope to have this relationship for a long time in the future.”
Johnston understands the deal the ABA has with Sioux Falls, and he said he is happy with the system.
“We understand that every three years it goes to Sioux Falls and that’s the way it has been, although we would like it every year,” he said. “We’ve always told the association that we are always going to have our hat in the ring.”