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The final five

Roger Maris hit  home run #57 fifty-years-ago today.

Visitors to the Roger Maris Museum at West Acres Shopping Center in Fargo can see the ball – which was thrown by Detroit Pitcher Frank Larry and hit out of Tiger Stadium.  Fifty-seven home runs in a single season is a feat still only achieved by 10 MLB hitters since 1921 (Baseball Almanac).

Fifty-years since 61 culminated with these last five:

  • September 16 – Game 151 vs. Detroit
  • September 17 – Game 152 vs. Detroit – off pitcher Terry Fox
  • September 20 – Game 155 vs. Baltimore – off pitcher Milt Pappas
  • September 26 – Game 159 vs. Baltimore – off pitcher Jack Fisher
  • October 1 – Game 163 vs. Boston – off pitcher Tracy Stallard

    Roger Maris hits historic home run 61

You can learn more about Maris’ historic season online.  The Roger Maris Museum is free and features his Sultan of Swat crowns, autographed balls, jerseys, a replica of his Yankees locker and a video highlighting his career.

To experience baseball in Maris’s hometown of Fargo – where he also started his baseball career – check out the FM RedHawks.

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Fargo AirSho takes flight this weekend

Me circa 1995 - a ride on a stunt plane at the Fargo AirSho

In 1995, I was an intern reporter for The Forum and had the unique opportunity to fly in a two-person, bi-wing, aerobatic plane – one of the Pitts S-2B aircraft in the Sierra Aces Aerobatic Team performing that year.  The ride was thrilling – to say the least.

The Sierra Aces won’t be performing in Fargo this year, but the renowned US Navy Blue Angels will be, along with War Birds, Blackhawks and other stunt pilots and teams.  More than 15,000 spectators are expected each day of the show – taking place Saturday and Sunday, August 13-14, at the Hector International Airport in north Fargo.

The Fargo AirSho has an incredible schedule and good forecast ahead of it.  Visitors will find interesting aviation exhibits and tours and should also consider stopping by the Fargo Air Museum.

The FM RedHawks also have a home stand this weekend against Minnesota rivals the St. Paul Saints.  Tickets are still available.  For more great options in Fargo-Moorhead, stop by the Convention and Visitors Bureau – featuring the original woodchipper from the movie Fargo.

If vacationing takes you across the state – find many more things to do at www.NDtourism.com.

 
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Posted by on August 11, 2011 in Events, Family Fun

 

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Flood update from North Dakota Tourism

There is an emergency in Minot, North Dakota right now, along with several communities along the Souris River – for travel information, contact the Minot Convention and Visitors BureauStatewide flood information is available along with travel information from North Dakota’s travel counselors [1-800-435-5663].

Actor Josh Duhamel offers support for his hometown

Concern and support for Minot has been flowing in faster than the Souris, including from Transformers 3 Actor Josh Duhamel who called Minot this morning from Moscow (where he is promoting the new movie).  He also told Entertainment Tonight about how people can donate to the Red Cross efforts in Minot.  How very cool and respectable that this Hollywood Star has such deep North Dakota roots.  Be sure follow Duhamel on Facebook and Twitter.  Watch his call-in with this YouTube clip and his ET interview.

I also found the words written on the Visit Minot blog yesterday to be provoking and inspirational:

Minot is facing one of the most devastating floods the city has ever seen …  The community has come together to help family, friends, neighbors, coworkers, and in some cases perfect strangers … We know there is going to be along road ahead of us … But there is no doubt we will make it through this … All it will take is a little Magic.

For travelers wondering about Minot here’s a snapshot of closures:

Additional flood news

While the Souris River makes national headlines in Minot, the Missouri River continues to create additional news throughout the country.  Here in North Dakota, the water level along the Missouri River is stable.  Our friends in Williston report that the swollen river has given Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site a historically authentic experience – as it would have appeared during the times of fur trade.  All visitor experiences are open in Williston.

Lake Sakakawea is certainly at an all-time height.  Water temperatures are rising and reports are trickling in that the walleye bite is warming up as well.  All resorts, campgrounds and boat ramps are open on the big lake.  Check road reports for closures and construction news.

In Washburn, the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center is open, but there are no tours at historic Fort Mandan.  And across the river near Stanton, Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site is also open.

Bismarck-Mandan does have closures at campgrounds and marinas.  There are some road closures and traffic limitations.  Visitors should know that all shopping, dining and most attractions are open including Raging Rivers Waterpark, the Heritage Center, Custer House at Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park and many more.  Softball players and their families coming to the Capitol City this weekend for the McQuade’s tournament will have only a few road construction detours to worry about.  The Bismarck Marathon, which will take place September 17, will have a new route.

While there is a no-wake zone along the Missouri River to the headwaters of Lake Oahe (just south of Bismarck-Mandan), fishing continues with many access points in this giant lake.

Along the Little Missouri River – all visitor centers and scenic drives in both the North Unit and South Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park are open (and spectacular).  Campgrounds have re-opened in the park and in Medora – where the famed Medora Musical and Pitchfork Fondue are being offered nightly (through September 10) and all visitor services are open.  Bully Pulpit Golf Course has 9 holes open and playable.

And in Devils Lake, there is some road construction and road closures due to the mystifying lake – Fort Totten State Historic Site is open, Sullys Hill National Game Preserve is open upon appointment, the Spirit Lake Casino is open as well as all visitor services in Devils Lake and numerous boat ramps.  Don’t forget to visit the Lake Region Heritage Center Museum – it’s a gem!

While news in Minot, Bismarck, Medora and other cities flood-affected have created a lot of concern – we’d like to also note that adventurous, fun and memorable experiences await you throughout North Dakota.  We have thousands of events, historical sites, museums, nature areas and so much more.  A favorite of mine – the F-M RedHawks are at home in Fargo this weekend.  Our guests love North Dakota – read their stories at www.RULegendary.com – and then come back and share your own!

 

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Take me out to the ball game!

The North Dakota Tourism staff - it was Halloween, but even then we were excited for baseball season. Go RedHawks!

We’ve got a little baseball fever here in the North Dakota Tourism office.  We’re following the 50th anniversary of Roger Maris’ legendary 1961 season, tomorrow the F-M RedHawks start their regular season and on Friday evening, an interview with North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple will air during the Minnesota Twins pre-game show on Fox Sports North.

By the way, the Governor is being interviewed by that awesome host Marney Gellner who is also a North Dakotan!  And you’ll want to tune into the pre-game because we’re giving away four tickets to a RedHawks game of your choice and Governor Dalrymple will tell you how to enter.  The Twins Live Pregame show starts at 6:30 p.m. (CST), May 13 on FSN.

The RedHawks start their season on the road, but next week (May 16, 17 and 18) will be home to host the St. Paul Saints for the first time in six years!  These two teams had multiple championships in the Northern League of Independent Professional Baseball and it will be a classic rivalry as they compete in the American Association.

Oh! And while you’re enjoying baseball this summer be sure to grab a bag of Giant Sunflower Seeds, they’re produced here in North Dakota too!

 
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Posted by on May 11, 2011 in Events, Family Fun, Sports

 

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The 50th of 61

Fifty years ago today, Roger Maris stood at the plate in Game 20 of the 1961 season and sent a pitch from Los Angeles pitcher Eli Grba into the bleachers.  Thus, notching homerun #3 of his legendary season of 61.

It’s a little known fact that the three-time World Series champion, two-time AL MVP and former Golden Glove Award winner grew up in Grand Forks and Fargo, North Dakota.  At the beginning of his professional career, Maris played for the minor league team in Fargo-Moorhead, which is now the independent F-M RedHawks (5-time Northern League champions, including 2009 and 2010).

Roger Maris’ 1961 season is the stuff that movies are literally made of: the chase of the Babe Ruth record and the Maris-Mantle friendship and rivalry while playing for the New York Yankees.

That baseball history and legacy can still be celebrated in North Dakota.  A free museum/tribute dedicated to Roger Maris is located in the West Acres Shopping Mall in Fargo.  And annually in June, the Roger Maris Celebrity Golf Tournament takes place in Fargo, benefiting Hospice and the Roger Maris Cancer Center.  This year’s tournament will be held June 26-27 and team registration is currently open.

And if you want to see where it all began, consider being in the stands when the RedHawks open their season, May 16, 17 & 18 against the St. Paul Saints at Newman Outdoor Field in Fargo.

 
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Posted by on May 6, 2011 in Events, Family Fun, History, Sports

 

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Baseball in ND and Black History Month

It’s the start of baseball season and the close of Black History Month, and you might be reading that and wondering, “What does that have to do with North Dakota?”  Truly, there’s a fascinating bit of history here.

According to the most recent census report, only 1.2% of North Dakota’s population is black.  You might assume that North Dakota wouldn’t have much to offer in recognition of Black History Month (February).  Sports afficianos know otherwise though, and I’ve recently been learning some really cool baseball history about my state that intertwines with Black History.

During the late 1920s and early 1930s, semi-pro and amateur baseball was popular and prevalent in North Dakota.  Even some of the smallest towns had teams.  America’s pastime was North Dakota’s pastime, and along with Minnesota was one of the first states in the U.S. to allow integrated teams to play together.

A year after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball a player by the name of Satchel Paige joined the roster of the Cleveland Indians.  His legendary pitching got him elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1971. Paige, along with notable players like Ted Radcliffe, Quincy Troppe and Showboat Fisher, were a part of the North Dakota baseball picture in the 1930s.  In 1935, Paige lead the Bismarck Churchills to a national championship and said, “That was the best team I ever saw; the best players I ever played with. But who ever heard of them.”

Some photos and information from North Dakota’s early baseball days are on display at the Heritage Center in Bismarck.  Visitors can also enjoy minor-league baseball at Newman Outdoor Field in Fargo.  This 4,500+ seat facility is home to 5-time league champions, the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks.  The RedHawks begin their season on May 11.

 
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Posted by on February 28, 2011 in Attractions, History, Sports

 

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Marney’s Top 10 Legendary experiences

If you follow sports in Minnesota, you’re probably familiar with Fox Sports North host Marney Gellner.  Last month, Marney was back in her home state of North Dakota covering the University of North Dakota vs. University of Minnesota men’s hockey series in Grand Forks.  In preparation for the big weekend, Marney prepared two segments featuring her favorite 10 places or experiences in North Dakota.

If you missed it when it aired, you can still see Marney’s favs.  Here’s countdown 10-to-6 and countdown 5-to-1.

Marney also did pre-game interviews with North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple and fishing personality Jason Mitchell, of the FSN aired Jason Mitchell Outdoors program.  Especially fun is when Governor Dalrymple accurately predicts the game’s final score (and North Dakota’s win)!

Marney Gellner is legendary – RU?

 
 

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