Until sunshine dries the ball diamonds in Altona's Centennial Park, young ball players have been relegated to practicing indoors.

"One diamond that's typically ahead is our Diamond One for 18 U," said Donovan Bergman, president of Altona Minor Baseball. "That one is generally ahead of the others because it's wide open in the sun. Two diamonds that are on the south part of the baseball diamond area, on those ones typically snow lingers a little longer, they stay wetter a little longer. You know the rain may have helped move a little bit of the snow. But we'll have a better sense of how soon we are to being playable in the next few days. It looked like the temperatures were going to be coming up, which is what we need. We're still a little ways away, but we're hoping to get outside as soon as we can."

With diamonds generally prepped for the new season in fall, Bergman says they are planning a few small projects to spruce things up, such as painting the players benches. 

Registration has been good and now that teams have been finalized, parents know who their children will be playing with for the season. 

Support crews are eager and ready to go as well.

"We've got a really good base of volunteers that come back every year," exclaims Bergman, "which we are so so thankful for. A lot of our coaches at the younger ages at least are parents and some of the managers typically are parents. At the older ages we're trying where we can to find non-parent coaches at one of the 15-U teams and and with our 18-U team. By then some of the kids have been hearing the same parrent for four or five years or more possibly, if they started in tee ball together. So they're ready to hear somebody else trying to help them out."

In the meantime, players are exercising their only option. 

"Indoor sessions started at the beginning of April and just finished," says Bergman. "That was something you signed up for on top of your regular registration. We're now starting 'indoor practicing' as teams. We're hoping that we'll be able to get outside in the not-too-distant future so that we don't have too many more of these indoor sessions that we need to stick with." 

June and July will be busy with a few exhibition tournaments, highlighted by the big 11-U Double A Provincial tournament from July fourteenth to sixteenth. 

Bergman says minor ball is typically played on weekdays. Having some South Central Regional AAA teams based in Altona will provide local ball fans with a few games on the weekend.

Plus, he adds, they're always on the lookout for new umpires to work games in May and June.

"Umpires of Manitoba are always looking for new recruit. If there are kids out there looking to make some money and want a flexible schedule, [umping] is always an option."