Baseball mania kicks off today as Cranbrook plays host to the annual Balls of Steele tournament as part of celebrations over the weekend honouring the legendary lawman Sam Steele.
Starting Friday evening, the Kinsmen Quad and Moir Park ball diamonds will be buzzing with activity as 57 different teams will mill around waiting for their turn to open their tournament experience.
Those teams are divided up into three different categories, with eight squads in the competitive division vying for a $1,000 first-place cash prize, while second and third take $650 and $350.
The Rec division features 32 teams, while 17 teams are a part of the Fun category.
"We've spent about 24 hours working on the draw," said Leanne Marsh, who chairs the ball tournament portion of the Balls of Steele event.
"In each division we're starting out with a round-robin, and then that seeds you into a knock out."
Games will run from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Friday, 7 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. on Saturday, and 8 a.m. till the conclusion of tournament finals on Sunday, which should involve roughly 141 games, said Marsh.
"We usually expect about 2,000 people to hit the ground over the weekend," Marsh said.
Three of the Kinsmen Quad diamonds will involve baseball action, but the fourth will feature a sport with different kinds of balls.
Running concurrently to the baseball tournament is the Balls of Steele Bocce tournament, as teams occupy one diamond to pursue the glory of a first place finish.
"We're going to have bocce and a DJ, speakers, music, and food vendors all on Quad Three so for anyone who wants to come check out the event, sit down, have a beverage and listen to the music, there's bocce there, too, you don't have to be a ball fan," said Marsh.
This is the 15th installment of a ball tournament during Sam Steele Days, which takes about a year of planning, according to Marsh.
"We actually start planning the day after the tournament is done for the following year," Marsh said. "Not even joking, we go through our strategic plan for next year, what went right, what went wrong while it's fresh in our memory so we can change our plan of action for the next year."