About nlfan.com

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nlfan.com is...  The Northern League Ballpark & Travel Guide

Following your team on the road is fun! But...

The information on most webs and in official programs (or media guides) don't cover some of the basics that you need to know if you're traveling to other ballparks. Some stadiums are harder to find than the brief directions suggest (for example the Wolf Den in Madison was particularly difficult). Knowing where to find lodging near the stadium or how hard it may be to come by isn't hinted at in these sources. Places like Duluth and Sioux City can be pretty well booked and you'll want reservations --but this isn't mentioned.

Knowing where the park is, and some places near it, saves time and trouble. Because I've "been there, and done that (at least once for each park)" I created this web. My goal is to provide a source for people wanting to know the real details for going to any Northern League game. Since many of my trips were with young (8-12 yr. old) kids I include suggestions on how to spend your time between games. In a sense this is the Northern League Travel Guide, so feel free to print sections (unless you're going to reprint it somewhere then ask for permission) and tell people where you found it.

nlfan.com is...   The Northern League Collectibles Guide

After collecting Saints and other Northern League stuff for years I decided I wanted to add this interest to this site. During the fall of '97 I added pages for the things I collect: card sets, pocket schedules, lapel pins, programs, media guides and books. This increased interest nearly immediately. It's also helped me to fill in the "gaps" in my collections --though I don't have complete collections of everything quite yet. Help in tracking down the missing items, particularly ones I've never heard of, is a great help to me.

nlfan.com is home to the...   Northern League Discussion Forums

Due to popular demand, I added public discussion forums in August of 2001. The demand for this was spurred by the sudden demise of discussion groups on the official league website. In little over a week this site's forums were set up, free of charge,to the fans who missed having a place to "talk Northern League baseball." Soon people from around the league came to tell their stories, ask questions and air their grievances about their teams. It's also a great place to ask "whatever happened 'so & so?'" or "Does anyone have a card set or other collectable to trade?"

With the many changes to the league, especially the merger and split with the Northeast League, the forum sin 2003 now covers three leagues: Northern (of course), Northeast (former Northern League East) and Northwoods League (which now has teams in all four former NoL ballparks). This is because the forums are a community and fans from those teams have supported them well during its short history.

The forums, though free, are member supported. They are run through ezboard hosting service and "normally" would be peppered with pop-ups, banner ads, and other annoyances. A community chest (one of many ezboard services) was set up for fans to donate money to keep them away. Thanks to several donations of $5 or $10, it's been free of advertising starting within weeks of its launch.

nlfan.com is also...

nlfan.com is an old idea that predates "the web"

As an original Saints fan (I was at the first exhibition game at "Municipal Stadium" before they added fences in front of GA and used an old football scoreboard) I've followed the league from the very start in '93. The idea for these pages had been in my head for two years (before I launched it in '96). It is partly a response to repeated questions I've answered at the front of the line (such as "Where are the restrooms?" or "When can we go in?"). It also is the accumulated knowledge from many trips to see the Saints play in other parks (questions such as "What's it like there?" or "Which team has the nicest stadium?"). I've added "photo albums" with pictures of my trips and some of the people I met there.All of these things to answer people's questions.

nlfan.com is a way to Spot the Webmaster

Thanks to this site I've made friends all around the league (and world!). After receiving numerous invitations to meet people on my trips I decided I'd make it "easier" by telling people how to find me. Along the way I thought it'd be "fun" if it was "sort of a contest." The only prize is getting one of my cards (and the dubious honor of actually meeting me). If you "spot the webmaster" and send me a scan or a copy of the photo I'll add it to the collection.

nlfan.com is updated frequently for accuracy

Some guide descriptions vary in their accuracy or currentness based on my (faulty) memory or updates from people (fans and team management) who emailed comments and corrections. This web is made better from such help and the webmaster appreciates it. Please send me corrections, suggestions, and other ideas on what would make these guides helpful.

nlfan.com is a source of pride (vanity?) in games attended

The gratuitous attendance figures show only one major gap for June/July '95 (I spent my vacation time that year in France & England so couldn't go on the road). Otherwise I've been to more Saints games than (most) anyone else (except some of the Saints' players or staff).

Amongst the most common questions is "How can you afford to travel to all those ballparks?" The answer isn't that I'm rich or anything --I'm not. I keep costs down by staying at inexpensive motels or finding deals (such as AAA discounts) on lodging. It helps that I live in St. Paul which is centrally located so the other ballparks are less than a full day's drive. I plan trips on weekends so I don't use up all my vacation time. I've changed jobs many times since the league started in 1993 so it's been rare that I've had a lot of vacation time available.

nlfan.com is "a labor of love"

This site heads into its seventh season this year (2002). It has grown from a handful of pages (only 15 in '96) to well over 500 (as of 16.Jun.02) . Hours and hours of work have gone into making one of the best baseball sites on the web. And though tiring (fixing bad links over dozens of pages isn't the best way to spend an evening) it has been a lot of fun.