From the Granite to ‘The Show’
Custer resident now pitching for Minnesota Twins organization
Published: Wednesday, July 6th, 2011
A year ago at this time, when JR Krogstad was practicing for a baseball game, he did so next to Jack Sayles, Gene Fennell, Dave Powers and other members of the Custer Granite baseball team.
This year, when preparing for a game, he has done so next to Kevin Slowey, Jim Thome, Joe Mauer, Joe Nathan and any other Minnesota Twin Major League Baseball player that is in Florida rehabbing an injury.
What a difference a year makes.
“It’s unbelievable,” Krogstad said.â��“They are guys I have been watching on TV. I’m trying to wrap my head around it.”
It’s a story you would expect to see in Hollywood, a local boy with minimal baseball experience, now pitching with the Minnesota Twins’ Class Aâ��Rookie Gulf Coast League (GCL) team in Fort Myers, Fla. Krogstad has gone from beer league to major league in a year, all thanks to some encouragement from friends, family and a trip to the American Baseball Institute in Clearwater, Fla.
Jack Sayles, the senior statesman of the Granite, had heard of the baseball institute and encouraged Krogstad to contact them for the opportunity to train and have a try-out. The institue is well-known for working with college-aged prospects to improve and prepare them for auditions in front of pro scouts. Krogstad put down $7,000 for three months of instruction, left his job as a self-taught paleontologist and headed south.
While most Custer residents who head to Florida are older folks at the end of a career, Krogstad was looking to begin a new one.
The training culminated when Krogstad was one of 90 players to try-out for the Twins June 11. Over the past six years, the Twins had signed zero players from the tryout. This year, out of the 90 who tried out, they signed one—Krogstad.
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