County soybean associations renew baseball rivalry

Baseball, like farming, has its rituals.

Perhaps one of the best-known baseball rituals is the seventh-inning stretch and its accompanying novelty song, “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.” When the tune fills the stadium, the crowd can’t help but sing along. When it comes to farmers and their rituals, some follow the ritual of tilling the ground, purchasing a certain tractor brand or their preferred seed brand.

America’s favorite pastime and farming are coming together again when the Blue Earth and Olmsted-Wabasha County Corn & Soybean Growers are teaming up for the second year to sponsor the rivalry series of the Rochester Honkers vs. Mankato MoonDogs.

In the first year, the MoonDogs bested the Honkers. With the Honkers looking to even the score this year, the losing team of the series will again donate to a charity of their choice in the winning team’s region.

“Our board is excited to continue the rivalry series to continue to reach a wider audience on corn and soybeans,” said Tim Sanborn, chair of the Olmsted-Wabasha County Corn & Soybean Growers. “The fan base at the Honkers and MoonDogs games are the right crowd for our message on corn and soybeans.”

The teams will play a four-game series, with two games at each location in the rivalry series sponsored by the Blue Earth and Olmsted-Wabasha County Corn & Soybean Growers.

Reaching a wide audience outside of the farming community is a win for the growers with the growing populations in regional hubs Rochester and Mankato.

“Sponsoring the rivalry series allows us to reach a broader audience and continue educating the public on new uses, the environmental impact, research and other projects,” Sanborn said.

The series will kick off at 5:05 p.m. on June 9, in Mankato at ISG Field. Baseball fans and ag enthusiasts alike are invited to attend and hear the corn and soybean message at the following games:

  • June 9, 5:05 p.m. @ Mankato (ISG Field)
  • June 10, 6:35 p.m. @ Mankato
  • July 3, 6:35 p.m. @ Rochester (Mayo Field)
  • July 4, 5:05 p.m. @ Rochester

Tickets are available for purchase on the official Rochester Honkers and Mankato MoonDogs’ websites.

Around both ballparks, fans will find county corn and soybean messaging this summer. In Mankato, the audience can spot foul poles and signs in the concourse; in Rochester, the foul poles are adorned with corn and soy themes. During the games, listen for “Did You Know?” announcements read off by the announcer.

Fans can also follow the MoonDogs and Honkers social media pages for additional coverage of the rivalry series.

Baseball and crops may not seem to have much in common, but most consumers are unfamiliar with products containing corn and soybean byproducts used throughout ballparks. Soybean oil can be found in paint used around the park, snacks contain corn and soybean byproducts, and even the oil used to rework baseball gloves can contain soybean oil. 

“We’re happy to sponsor this series again with the Olmsted-Wabasha board to support more organizations in our counties, as well as to reach a bigger audience,” Blue Earth County Corn & Soybean Growers board member Logan O’Rourke said.

About the county organizations

The Blue Earth & Olmsted-Wabasha County Corn & Soybean Growers associations are affiliated with the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council, which oversees the investment of soybean checkoff dollars on behalf of more than 25,000 soybean farmers in Minnesota. The Council is governed by the rules of a federally mandated checkoff program that requires all soybean producers to pay a fee on the soybeans they sell. This money is used to promote, educate and develop market opportunities for soybeans.

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