Talking baseball...

By Chuck Kajer

I've had a chance to watch a few baseball games over the last few weeks. Watching baseball, of course, often means talking about the sport and sharing a few memories.

I was at the New Prague-Faribault legion doubleheader on Monday, July 12. Once it got too dark to take photos, I sat down on the bench next to the concession stand and started talking to a neighbor, Bob Schmitz. Bob spent a number of years playing for and managing the New Prague Orioles D-R-S team, and he was a catcher for the New Prague Trojans' only state tournament baseball team in 1980.

While sitting there, another former Orioles manager, John Havlicek sat down on the other side of me. I was about to comment that I felt privileged to be around such company when the current manager, Jerry Plambeck, stopped to talk... three Orioles managers at once. I was truly honored.

Anyway, Bob and I were talking about the Orioles of the 1980s and 90s, when the team made an almost annual trip to the state amateur baseball tournament. I got the chance to cover some of the teams from the early '90s, when New Prague's pitching rotation of Brad Schmitz, Joe Hoffman and Dale Lapic and a potent offensive attack made the team one of the best in the area.

Bob mentioned that a friend of his had videotaped most of the games from 1990, and he recently came across the tapes. He had the chance to sit down and watch some of those games, and they brought back some fond memories, and Bob said his son Trevor is converting some of the tapes onto a DVD for him.

New Prague has had some down years since those days, and the team hasn't been to state in about a dozen years. But with new manager Plambeck and some fresh faces to go with some of the veterans, the team has been one of the hottest in the league this year. They bring an 18-3 record into their final game at St. Benedict at 2 p.m. Saturday. The playoffs start Tuesday, with New Prague playing at Faribault.

One of the things Bob and I talked about was Darrell Vosejpka, the longtime Lonsdale player and manager who retired last month. His number was retired before Lonsdale's game last Friday against St. Patrick (see Page 9).

Bob said in his prime, there was no one better than Darrell. He recalled a D-R-S all-star game played in New Prague in the 1980s when the two were on opposite teams.

I was behind the plate

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