What snow? Small, Minnesota high school team clears entire baseball field

Their coach is former MLB player Mike Kingery.
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If last weekend's blizzard was a curve ball, the Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City Falcons knocked it out of the park.  

ACGC, a small high school located about 90 miles west of Minneapolis, spent Monday's snow day clearing their baseball field in Atwater. 

No exaggeration, their baseball players and coaches, in addition to other volunteers, literally removed 10 inches of snow from the field, not to mention larger drifts created by the blizzard's fierce winds. 

It went from looking like a blinding white blanket of heavy, wet snow to what you see in the photo above. 

So who's big idea was this? Mike Kingery, their head coach who put Atwater on the map in the 1980s and '90s when he played 10 years of Major League Baseball for the Royals, Mariners, Giants, Athletics, Rockies and Pirates. 

"I just thought [on Monday] that I would go down there, bring my 455 John Deere with a snowblower and see what it could do on the outfield," said Kingery, who's in his third year coaching at ACGC. 

Kingery then got the shoveling party started by texting all of the school's baseball players, inviting anyone interested to come help clear the field. 

More than 30 people responded with shovels and snowblowers, and they wound up clearing the entire field, a seven-hour task that Kingery described as "daunting." 


The frost isn't yet out of the ground, but by removing the snow, Kingery thinks it'll help the ground thaw sooner than it would if he were to wait for it to melt. .

"It's not playable by any means today, but it's way better than it was two days ago." 

Weather wreaks havoc with high school sports

The first Monday in April was supposed to be opening day for high school baseball in Minnesota, and most teams have yet to play a game, so any time saved is a big help. 

"We're already in the middle of April and we've had nine games that have been canceled/postponed, which is almost half your season," Kingery said, while adding that they'll probably have to play a condensed schedule with up to six games a week. 

The Minnesota State High School League just last week approved the option of playing 5-inning doubleheaders, but Kingery is hoping his conference's athletic directors will allow them to go to six innings.

Kingery was a rock-solid MLB player for a decade, and he's got some pretty remarkable career accomplishments to brag about. 

In the strike-shortened season of 1994, he was third in the National League batting race when he hit .349 in 105 games with the Rockies, trailing only Tony Gwynn and Jeff Bagwell, both of whom are in the Hall of Fame. 

Kingery only hit 30 home runs in his career but two of them were off the great Pedro Martinez, including a grand slam against him in 1996.

"So I had two home runs off him, but I had another ball that I hit off the wall off of him," Kingery said. "My joke is if I would've faced Pedro every day I'd be in Cooperstown." 

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