By Nick Gerhardt
Who would’ve thought that an Excel spreadsheet would actually alleviate headaches?
Jeff Janzen’s little spreadsheet did that and more for many managers across amateur baseball.
Janzen provided contact information for managers throughout the state with a spreadsheet that eventually got uploaded to the Minnesota Baseball Association website and allowed managers to find games with ease. Janzen started keeping a spreadsheet of contact information for managers back around 1996. In a few years he had nearly the entire state covered and kept it going until he announced he was stepping down from maintaining the invaluable resource this year.
In a way it was thankless work but boy did it solve a lot of problems for managers trying to schedule a makeup game with a team from outside the area or a team trying to fill some dates.
“I was happy to do it,” Janzen said. “It helped me connect to a lot of people I wouldn’t have connected with it.”
Janzen spent about 50 hours a year working on the spreadsheet to make sure it had the most up-to-date information available.
“It’s a lot of work to go out and keep it updated,” MBA Secretary Dave Hartmann said. “He did a great job in doing so. Like a lot of things people tend to take it for granted.”
For teams trying to fill out their non-league schedule, the directory provided a pretty easy path to find an opponent.
“I’d get updates from them,” Janzen said. “‘By the way, this is a great resource. We didn’t know what we’d do without it.’ [managers would say.] Half of your games are non-league games. I was glad I could help out as long as I could.”
Janzen is more recognizable for his work on the field where he played with Delano for 20 years, retiring in 2011. He played in 17 state tournaments and co-commissioned the 2013 state tournament in Delano. He entered the North Star League Hall of Fame in 2012 and won the league’s pitcher of the year award three times in his career.
“Jeff was one of those guys sought out as a draft pick,” said MBA Director and long-time manager of Dassel-Cokato Mark Forsman.
Forsman said the directory has been a good resource for managers through the years.
“He just kind of made it easy to go to one place for the information,” Forsman said.
The directory won’t go in retirement with Janzen, though. MBA Directors Mike Nagel, Joe Kreger and Tom Lemke will take charge of maintaining the reliable resource moving forward. The MBA will work to integrate manager contact information on roster pages of teams in the future.