By the time you read this editorial, Cassville will be playing host to the 15-year-old Babe Ruth State Tournament. The three-day tournament is expected to bring over 300 visitors to the area, and this year's organizing committee is determined that players and their families will feel welcome in Cassville and leave with fond feelings of this community.
Festivities begin tonight (Wednesday) when players check-in for the tournament at the city's South Park. The Cassville Area Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring a free dinner for the visitors and there will be free swimming offered at the Cassville Aquatic Park. A number of local residents are opening their homes to players, and hotels and motels in the Cassville area are completely booked.
Game action begins Thursday morning at the Cassville High School baseball field. The team from Cassville is scheduled to play its first game at 5:15 p.m., and local baseball fans are urged to come out and support the home team. An exciting Opening Night has been planned, and all activities are open to the community. Hiland Dairy will be giving out free hand-dipped ice cream to all ticket holders and Home Town Sound is scheduled to give an outdoor concert after the last game of the day. Louie the Cardinal, the Springfield Cardinals' mascot, will also be in attendance from 5:15 to 7:15 p.m. Thursday night. In addition to watching great baseball action, visitors and area residents will find plenty of other entertainment, including face painting, clowns, onfield games and a space walk. Elimination play begins on Friday, and the tournament championship will be played at 1 p.m. on Sunday. All in all, the state tournament promises to bring plenty of excitement to the Cassville area, and local residents and merchants should be thrilled with the influx of visitors. It would not be stretching it to expect tournament families visiting this area to spend several hundred of dollars in our community. This is a nice boost for the local economy and we appreciate those who were successful in bringing the state tournament to Cassville.
In particular, we'd like to offer a "shout out" to Charlie Steward, who has been at the helm of the organizational committee this summer. I know he and his wife, Teresa, have worked around the clock to make sure Cassville hosts a first class tournament, and it's nice to see all their hard work and planning come together. Many others have assisted and we would most definitely leave people out if we tried to list everyone who had something to do with the tournament planning process. Just know your efforts are appreciated by all of us who will benefit from the positive publicity.
Many businesses contributed financially to the state tournament effort, and others can do their part by making sure visitors are treated warmly and courteously while doing business in Cassville. It would also be nice if businesses changed their sign boards or put up window signs welcoming State Babe Ruth teams to Cassville. When our family has traveled to other cities for soccer tournaments, we've always enjoyed seeing "Welcome Soccer Team" signs at area businesses.
In addition to rallying our merchants, we encourage area residents to attend at least one Babe Ruth game or tournament activity this weekend. State tournaments always bring together the state's best talent, and even if you're not a big baseball fan, you're sure to enjoy one of the two outdoor concerts that will be held on Thursday and Friday night at the Cassville Wildcat baseball stadium. Hosting a state tournament is a fantastic opportunity for the community - let's make sure we put our best foot forward and show our visitors why Cassville is a great place to live and visit.