Platt: A league of his own: The Northwoods League’s business model

From Adam Platt at Twin Cities Business Magazine on May 25, 2018:

There was a time when summer meant minor league baseball across dozens of communities in the northern Midwest. But over the decades Major League Baseball consolidated its minor leagues in parts of the U.S. with denser populations and better spring weather. Ballparks went empty, save for fleeting independent leagues or occasional town ball games.

Cities as big as Rochester, Duluth and Madison, Wis., proved inhospitable to the charms of the Northern League (now American Association), where the St. Paul Saints play. By the 1990s, the future of baseball in small- and medium-sized cities seemed bleak. Parks fell into disrepair, and the teams that once played there were memorialized in glass cases at the public library.

In 1989, a guy named Dick Radatz Jr., son of a legendary Boston Red Sox relief pitcher, was dismissed as the general manager of the minor league Winter Haven (Fla.) Red Sox. He tried a few other things, but baseball was in his blood.

Driving north in 1992 with his eventual business partner, George MacDonald Jr., he was in search of opportunity.

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Originally published: June 11, 2018. Last Updated: June 11, 2018.