Baseball fields will honor coach and mentor

Mike Anderson was photographed with Mounds View baseball players at a high school practice last spring.

The Shoreview City Council (Council Member Sue Denkinger was not present) voted unanimously to accept a $2,000 donation from the Shoreview Area Youth Baseball Association (SAYB) for a bronze plaque to be installed at Sitzer Park in honor of Mike Anderson.

“Mike Anderson was actively involved in both coaching and in the leadership for the Shoreview Area Youth Baseball for many years, including several years as president of the association,” City Manager Terry Schwerm said.

“Unfortunately, Mike passed away earlier this year unexpectedly, and to honor his commitment to service and to the youth in the community, the youth baseball association approached the city and asked if we would be willing to honor him by naming the fields at Sitzer Park after Mike.

“We thought that was appropriate,” he continued. “Our staff always had a wonderful relationship with Mike and I know our maintenance crews and maintenance staff really spoke highly of him.”

Randy Reichert spoke at the meeting and said Anderson spent 20 years on the Little League board and was president for many of those years. “He was coaching the whole time. When his son was too old for the program, Mike stayed in the program and continually coached a team that didn’t have a volunteer. If a kid couldn’t play because of financial reasons, Mike would step to the plate and write a check out. He was the kind of guy we wish we had more of,” Reichert said.

Erik Drange, outgoing SAYB president, said Anderson did so much for the baseball association in the community as a mentor, coach and volunteer that naming the fields at Sitzer Park after him was an appropriate way to honor Anderson. Council Member Emy Johnson shared a story about Anderson when she was younger and had aspirations of becoming an FBI agent.

“I joined Target Corporation in the security department. Mike at the time was leading a really large team for Target. One of the things I can tell you, as a professional I was a recipient of Mike’s mentorship and coaching. It was this idea that you can do more than you believe that you can do. I truly believe that’s what Mike embodied at SAYB. He found those kids and those underserved kids that needed it and he made it happen,” Johnson said.

“While there are kids all across the nation, there are also adults who were recipients of his mentorship and coaching,” she noted. “I’m hopeful that we will be able to share this tonight with some of them — I actually will personally — so they get to see the huge loss of Mike on this earth. He will certainly be remembered at Sitzer and Liz (Anderson’s wife) and the kids will spend much time there. This is an honor for our community.”

A bronze plaque recognizing Anderson’s service and naming the fields in his honor will be installed on the park building adjacent to the youth baseball fields next spring. SAYB plans to recognize and honor Anderson at the beginning of its spring baseball season on April 30, 2022.

Mayor Sandy Martin said the city has always had a great partnership with youth baseball. When the request came in to name the fields after Anderson, Schwerm immediately went to work to make it a reality. Martin thanked Drange and Reichert for all the work they do for SAYB.

“You really are the unsung heroes of baseball, and a lot of us don’t know how much goes into it. I know the kids do and their parents do, but there’s a lot of people in the community that don’t understand how many hours you put in and how much time is dedicated to this,” Martin said.

“It’s great that you can do something to remember Mike. I’ll put April 30 on my calendar, and we’ll have some good laughs if I throw out the first pitch.”

 

In other council action:

•The City Council unanimously approved three appointments to the Economic Development Commission (EDC) at the Nov. 1 City Council meeting. They are: Mindy Handberg (as partner member - Mounds View School District) Rachel Japuntich (to fill current term expiring Jan. 31, 2023), and Exhilda Siame (to fill current term expiring Jan. 31, 2024). Assistant City Manager Renee Eisenbeisz said both Japuntich and Siame are residents in the community and 

Handberg, a longtime resident of Shoreview until recently, serves as the director of community partnerships for the Mounds View School District. She oversees a variety of programs that include working with the business community in creating job skills training and internships for students. She has agreed to join the EDC, serving as a partner member representing the Mounds View School District.

•Martin announced that the Holiday Lighting Ceremony will be at 6 p.m. Monday, Nov. 15, at the Shoreview Community Center. The Chippewa Middle School Choir will perform at the ceremony.

•Johnson announced there are open positions on the Bikeways and Trails Committee, EDC, Human Rights Commission and the Planning Commission. Postings close on Monday, Nov. 22. “It’s a great opportunity to get involved with the city. If you are interested, we encourage you to apply,” Johnson said.

 

The next Shoreview City Council meeting is at 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 15, in council chambers at City Hall, 4600 Victoria St. N., in Shoreview.

 

Noelle Olson is a staff writer for Press Publications. She can be reached at shoreviewnews@presspubs.com or 651-407-1229.

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