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American Legion tournament brings baseball to fans at Dehler Park in Billings

Posted at 10:29 PM, Aug 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-06 00:29:38-04

The Montana AA State American Legion Tournament started at Dehler Park in Billings on Wednesday.

For fans, it's a chance to get a little bit of normal in summer.

"I've never watched these guys play," said Phil Koch from Ballantine. "We watch the Mustangs quite a bit. But this should be good."

The fans said they're doing what they can with the COVID-19 guidelines.

"A precaution is all," Koch said. "I don't think we have it that bad."

"Everybody seems to be doing fairly well," said Ted Thayer from Laurel. "Normally for a Legion game, this is how people would sit anyway."

Thayer came to enjoy baseball.

"Both my kids played for Bozeman a few years ago, the Bucks," Thayer said. "I love Legion baseball so I decided to drive in. My oldest son's going to be here in a while."

The fans also make the game better for the players.

"Fans help a lot," said Michel Gelabert, who is in the Arizona Diamondbacks minor league system. "You feel they're here for you. They're here to support you, support the team, support the boys."

With no Minor League Baseball, Gelabert has been helping the Billings Scarlets.

"I'm always in the dugout and support them, help them," he said. "If I can play like winter league or something, it's the only plan I have right now. If I can good. If I can not, we'll keep practice."

"It's been nice to see him work with the boys on the Scarlets and work with himself on his coaching aspect of things rather than just being a player and as well seeing what they take from him and the stuff they're learning," said Sarah Gelabert, Michel's wife. "Being out here, it's really nice especially after everything being closed and having that time off that they did. It's nice to be able to them get back into the swing of things. Kind of making it as normal as possible with how COVID was."

The tournament runs through Sunday.