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'5 Knee Replacements, 1 Hip Replacement, 11 Stents': Inside Minnesota's 50+ Baseball League

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- As kids, you come to the ball park to learn the game, and for some, to live the game.

See this game is capable of grabbing you and never letting go. That's part of the charm of baseball.

And that's why for some some, six-plus decades removed from little league, they still crave it. Not as a spectator, but a participant.

Welcome to the over 50 baseball league -- and 50 is a minimum.

"It started 10 years ago, a gentleman by the name of Vic Marotta was the commissioner. Put together four teams, and here it is 10 years later and we've got over 20 teams," player/manager Pat "Clubber" Thompson said.

See, out here the world makes sense by taking a break from the world.

"And you get out here and you can't help but just stay with the game. Once you've been involved in baseball, you'll be there the rest of your life," bench coach "Jumpin" George Blackwell said.

Oh, it's not that they move at the same pace -- but that's relative to the race.

"It takes longer to get from first to second. And you're maybe a little more sore the next day. But cortisone's a great invention," Thompson said.

All are slowed by time, many from the effects of activity. But you are playing in a league where that becomes the norm. And that's OK.

"I was counting up before the game. We have five knee replacements, one hip replacement, 11 stents and we had one guy that had some cancer removed from his side of his head," Thompson said.

"It doesn't get any better than that. You look around, and the crack of the bat, and the smell of the seeds on the bench and just the camaraderie," Blackwell said.

But you still get to put on a uniform and you sill get to feel like a kid. Just like when you were a kid.

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