The Rochester Royals are a Minnesota Amateur Baseball team composed of local players. The Royals have a 25-man roster which consists of both former and current college and professional athletes. The team plays a 40 game schedule throughout the summer. In August, the Royals participate in a sectional playoff with local teams in hope of advancing to the state tournament. Rochester has made it to the state tournament the last 13 years in a row and has won the championship twice (1991, 2006). Players are not paid and participate in amateur baseball for a variety of reasons. Some play to further develop their skills while others simply enjoy the team camaraderie and being at the ballpark.
The Rochester Royals organization began many years ago as a minor league affiliate for the Kansas City Royals. The team has been in existence since 1924 making it Rochester’s longest standing baseball franchise. Mayo Field has hosted hundreds of Royals games over the years; the team has called it home since the field was built in the 1940’s. In the 1950’s, the Royals typically drew a crowd of 1,000 to 1,500 fans. As the years passed by and major league baseball expanded, the Kansas City Royals relocated their Rochester minor league affiliate elsewhere. However, the Royals remained in town as an amateur baseball team.
Since the year 1990, the Royals have participated in the state tournament twenty times, winning championships in 1991 and 2006. Thirty-four Royals have been name to the State All-Tournament Team since 1990. Most notably, Bill Cutshall was named Tournament MVP in 1991 and Joe Siple also won the award in 2006.
STATE TOURNAMENT APPERANCES
2010 (4th), 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006 (Champion), 2005, 2004 (2nd), 2003, 2002 (3rd), 2001 (3rd), 2000 (2nd), 1999 (2nd), 1998, 1996, 1995 (2nd), 1994, 1993, 1992, 1991 (Champion), 1990 (3rd), 1965 (2nd), 1960, 1948, 1947 (2nd), 1945, 1939, 1932, 1930, 1924
Many people wonder what makes Rochester Royals baseball different from college, independent league, and professional baseball. All players on the Royals roster have played baseball at the collegiate level; some have even played professionally. The main difference between an amateur and professional athlete is financial compensation. By definition, professional athletes are paid to play whereas amateur athletes are not.
Currently, there are thirty professional baseball organizations. Each professional organization has a Major League team (e.g., Minnesota Twins) along with several minor league affiliates (e.g., rookie, A, AAA). Each year, teams draft players and send them through their minor league system in hope of developing players that will someday play at the Major League level. A very small percentage of baseball players ever get drafted and an even smaller amount make it to the Major League level.
Another level of baseball is what’s called an independent league. There are several leagues throughout the United States; the St. Paul Saints are an example of an independent league team. Players are paid a small amount and for most (if not all), baseball is their full-time job during the season. Typically, rosters are filled with players who have recently finished college and are hoping to catch on with a professional team or players that have been released from professional organizations.
Approximately half of the Royals play college baseball in the spring. Playing for the Royals provides an opportunity to return home for the summer and further develop skills for the college season. Another option for college players are summer collegiate leagues (such as the Northwoods League). The other half of the team are local players who are a bit further removed from college baseball; a handful of players are in their mid to late thirty’s. An enjoyment of the game and being at the ballpark is what keeps veterans players coming back. Nearly all players work during the day and play ball at night. Many have families who regularly attend games and support the team.
In Minnesota, there are three amateur classes: A, B, and C. Class A consists of metro teams (39), class B consists of teams (34) from larger cities throughout the state, and class C consists of teams (234) from smaller cities throughout the state. There are currently 8 sections in Class B; the Royals are part of Section 2 along with Austin, Mankato, Marshall, and New Ulm. With the recent addition of Mankato and Marshall to an already talented group of teams, Section 2 is arguably one of the best sections in the state.
There is great variety in the number of games played by each team in the various amateur classes. While some teams play approximately 20 games, others will play up to 60 games. No matter how many games are played, all teams play with one goal in mind: winning the state tournament. Each year, the Class B and C state tournament is rotated to a different site. The event draws tremendous crowds