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Selig Highlights All-Star Banquet

The Chinooks hosted the opening banquet of the 2014 Northwoods League All-Star Game festivities.

Lakeshore General Manager Dean Rennicke started the ceremonies. He welcomed all the guests and introduced Pastor Randy Raasch, who led the invocation before the meal.

After the food was served, Chinooks owner Jim Kacmarcik spoke to the crowd. He encouraged the players to “always think of others before yourself.”

Lance Allan, sports director for TODAY'S TMJ4, served as the host. He introduced Dick Radatz, Jr., the Northwoods League President.

Radatz, Jr. welcomed the 2014 All-Star Game Managers: Drew Saberhagen of the Willmar Stingers, who will coach the North and Eddy Morgan of the Lakeshore Chinooks, who will coach the South. He also thanked numerous individuals and discussed the accomplishments of the league, including attendance numbers and drafted players.

The highlight of the evening was the keynote speaker, Allan H. “Bud” Selig, who has served as the Major League Baseball Commissioner for more than 23 years.

Selig was received by a standing ovation. He spoke directly to the players several times with words of advice.

“You’re blessed…even getting to this level that you have now is remarkable,” he said. “This experience alone will make you a better person.”

Commissioner Selig said it is also important to respect the best interest of the sport before your own interests.

“Whatever you want to do in life, whether it’s baseball  or anything else,” Selig said. “Do everything in your power to do so, every ability that’s God has given you…make sure you use it. That’s why baseball is such a great teacher.”

He also described the game of baseball as social institution and a metaphor for life. Selig discoursed about how Jackie Robinson’s entrance into baseball ultimately changed society.

Selig also took part in a question and answer session, which was facilitated by Allan.

The banquet was concluded by Rennicke, who explained the all-star game schedule of events. Gates will open at 3:30 p.m. and players will sign autographs. The Home-Run Derby, North versus South challenge will start at 4:45 p.m. The game itself will begin at 6:45 p.m.

The Lakeshore Chinooks are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. Playing its 21st season of summer collegiate baseball, the Northwoods League is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 18 teams, drawing significantly more fans, in a friendly ballpark experience, than any league of its kind. A valuable training ground for coaches, umpires and front office staff, more than 115 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (DET) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (CWS), Jordan Zimmermann (WAS), Curtis Granderson (NYM), Allen Craig (STL) and Ben Zobrist (TB). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League YouTube channel<http://northwoodsleague.com/video/>. For more information, visit www.lakeshorechinooks.com.