Grays baseball: South East Idaho Threads look to join Grays in Northern Utah League
After beating the Gate City Grays in an exhibition for the second season in a row, the South East Idaho Threads want a crack at competing with teams at the Grays’ level.
The Threads — an all-star team of sorts comprised of players from throughout the Upper Valley and the South East Idaho Amateur Baseball League (SEIABL) — beat the Grays 11-6 on July 9 at Halliwell Park. The Threads also won an an 8-7 exhibition last summer in Pocatello.
The Threads have players from St. Anthony, Rexburg, Rigby and Driggs. They, like the Grays, have featured players whose ages range from the 20s to some in their late 30s and 40s.
Notable players on the Threads include Matt Lindstrom, a 38-year-old Rexburg native who played at Ricks College then spent eight years in MLB, and his brother, Rob Lindstrom. Madison High head varsity baseball coach Jason Ralph is also on the squad.
Eight out of the 12 players on the Threads played college or some form of professional baseball.
For years, Threads manager Ryan Rasmussen has had a dream to start a semi-professional team in the Upper Valley and shed the team’s current amateur label. He wants to compete with the Grays and the rest of the Northern Utah League.
“I feel like it’s not just a one-game thing,” Rasmussen said. “We’d like to play them more. We’re hoping for two or three more games with them this year. I think we can compete at every single one of them.
“I think those young bucks, the Grays, are surprised thinking, ‘How do these older guys compete,’” Rasmussen continued. “Well, (our team) uses their heads. It’s not just about being physically fast or strong. Baseball’s a mental game, and I think we win that battle.”
However, Grays co-owner Terry Fredrickson said that both games against the Threads featured several of the Grays’ reserve players.
In the 2017 matchup, former professional baseball player and current Highland High varsity baseball coach Christian Colonel made a guest appearance for the Grays in order to help save players’ energy for the impending Northern Utah League playoffs, Fredrickson said.
Fredrickson also said that while an addition to the five-team Northern Utah League would be welcomed, he foresees logistical issues with teams traveling for games in Rexburg, St. Anthony or another Upper Valley location. The Grays are the only NUL team located outside of Utah’s Cache County.
“If you’re in Hyrum, that’s a three-and-a-half-hour, four-hour drive back and forth,” Fredrickson said.
Fredrickdon said teams from Orem, Utah, and Provo, Utah, may be better suited to fill the void left by the Brigham City Peaches, who folded two years ago after being a northern Utah staple since around World War I.
But Rasmussen feels his Upper Valley team dream could soon come true.
“This is something that can happen,” Rasmussen said. “This is something that will happen. I believe it. I know it. I want it and I think next year we’ll probably join the league with a full team to compete with a full schedule and go to the tournament and see what we can do competing in the Northern Utah League.”