Wisconsin Life # 704: Play Ball!

October 24, 2019


Wisconsin Life host Angela Fitzgerald suits up to play vintage baseball with the Menomonie Blue Caps as they take on teams from across the Midwest. Teams compete using the same rules and equipment players used in the year 1860. Players don’t use a bat; instead it’s called an ash or timber and fly balls are called sky balls. She talks with Dustyn Dubuque, Team Captain of the Menomonie Blue Caps, about this unique game and why it is so fun to play. She also learns from Dunn County Historical Society Vice President, Don Steffen, about the original team’s history.


Fitzgerald also has all-new stories from the Wisconsin Life team, including a trip to Oneida County where every Monday night during the summer, Lake Tomahawk hosts a snowshoe baseball game. It’s like softball, except the players wear snowshoes and the infield is covered in sawdust. Fans fill the bleachers each week to watch Cole Punches and the Snowhawks take on a visiting team. It’s quirky and fun, but it’s also more than just a game. It’s a community event where locals and tourists come together to enjoy popcorn, homemade pie and northern Wisconsin’s twist on America’s pastime.

Next, we meet Kelly Kowaleski who loved to sew. It was her hobby and passion. After the tragic death of her son, she stopped sewing. After a while, Kowaleski knew she needed to reconnect with both her son and her hobby. She did so by making “Memory Bears” using her son’s old clothing for the fabric. Soon Kowaleski began making these stuffed bears for other people, helping others cope with tragedy by keeping memories of their loved one alive.

Then we visit with Daphne Jones, a part of her family’s second generation to run Glorious Fine Sausage, which makes headcheese and other specialty pork products.  Her parents ran a grocery store and made headcheese in the back and eventually that become the centerpiece of the business.

Finally, the building blocks of Emily and Eric Krans’ relationship involve LEGOs. Lots of LEGOs. As unofficial master builders, they create large, intricate displays of LEGOs, including the Quidditch pitch with “flying” players from Harry Potter. They travel the state with their displays, wowing LEGO enthusiasts with their elaborate creations. It’s a whimsical story of life, love and LEGOs.


Sign Up Form

Sign Up for Our Bi-Weekly Newsletter

Get your favorite Wisconsin Life stories, meet the crew, and go behind the scenes.