DUNDAS, Minn. (KMSP) - In the small town of Dundas, Minnesota, the Dukes--an amateur baseball team made up of locals of all stripes--are revered like kings.
In the summer months they're the only game in town, and over the years many in the area have fallen in love with the team and its fans. They love to see the Dukes win, but that's not their only motivation to check out the ballpark on a beautiful June night.
Looking away from the ballpark for just a moment, you can see kids retrieving foul balls like it's their full-time job. Though it certainly doesn't pay the same as one, those children can still get a dollar for each ball they grab and exchange it for a bag of popcorn at the concessions stand.
There, they'll find a familiar face whose many years on the loudspeaker and in the stands have left a permanent mark on this community, and on the team in particular.
"More than likely, I'll be here for 25 years at least," said Ira Carlson, the team's longtime announcer. "I might as well put it on there, show your pride for it."
If you're looking for a fan favorite, look no further than Rich Borda, who drives an hour from St. Paul to Dundas just to suit up for the Dukes. He loves to hit, even at the age of 53.
"It's hard to run at this age--well, it's actually harder to stop--but I'll get ready just in case," he said. "I think anytime they see someone who is older, it's a little bit of an inspiration."
The intimate environment is what makes the experience special, fans say, with neighbors talking among each other and newcomers feeling like a part of the community by the end of their first game.
"There's a lot of people in Dundas that are very proud of the Dukes," said Kim Crockett, a former player and manager of the Dundas Dukes. "Rightfully so, I think. I'm proud of the town."