It is only unfair when a Butte team wins - Butte Sports (2023)

When Montana begins its inaugural high school baseball season next spring, only about 21 teams will be competing.

That list includes just two teams from Class AA, which are Butte High and Belgrade. With such a low turnout, all the teams will compete against each other in one class, regardless of school enrollment numbers.

It really is a shame that more schools will not compete as Montana finally joins the rest of the civilized world by adding high school baseball. We should have at least double the number of teams playing next spring.

Of course, there is one sure-fire way to get the rest of the state to play baseball in the spring of 2024.

If the Butte High Bulldogs hang a championship banner in Year 1, you better believe the rest of the state will be playing in Year 2. Missoula, Bozeman, Billings, Great Falls, Helena and Kalispell will have a team ready faster than you can say Butte envy.

Oh, but Butte only won because we chose not to play, they will say. Your championship was only won because you were playing against smaller schools.

(Video) Heart Butte basketball searching for first state title in 22 years

Butte envy is what we always called it, but maybe there is more to it. My grandpa always told me Butte people were nicer than the average person, and I always believed that to be true.

But maybe he was wrong.

Is it possible that we are not nearly as charming as we think we are?

It does not seem to matter that Butte played such an instrumental role in winning a pair of world wars — by producing copper and a high number of soldiers. People just do not seem to like us.

There is not a Butte person alive who has not heard the disdain in another’s voice when they said, “Oh, you’re from Butte?”

(Video) State A boys: Peoples buzzer-beater lifts Butte Central to title

Whenever a Butte sports team finds success, you hear the horror stories about the Mining City. You heard it in 2012 when the Bulldogs won the Class AA state football title. You heard it again in 2019, when the Bulldogs made a run to the title game.

It is only when Butte is winning when you hear the fictional talk of spitting and battery throwing at football games at Naranche Stadium. When the Bulldogs are not winning, you never hear a word.

That makes no sense. You would think that the fans would be happiest when their team is winning football games. I know I only throw batteries when my team is losing.

Just imagine the trash talking will hear and see on social media if the Bulldogs win it all the first year of high school baseball in Montana. You know it is going to be nasty, and you just know that they will try to diminish the accomplishment of our boys.

They will do it if Butte High wins the title the first season of girls’ flag football, too.

To get a sneak preview of what could be in store, just look at the comments about the Butte Miners winning the Class A state American Legion baseball crown.

A lot of sarcastic “congratulations” came from people claiming that Butte is beating up on teams half its size. You would think the Miners were playing teams that were half their age, too.

We also were bombarded with questions asking why the Butte Miners are in the Class A and not the Class AA. It was as if they did not notice that this is Butte’s fourth year in the lower level.

Yes, it is true that the Miners moved down to Class A after playing in Class AA for years. It is also true that Butte’s population means the Miners are playing exactly where they belong according to the American Legion baseball rules.

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If you think they made an exception for Butte, you could not be more wrong. In 2013, the Miners only had 15 players out for the team, and the Class A would not let them in.

Some Legion coaches and administrators were more willing to drown the Miners than lend a helping hand.

In the past school year, Butte had less than 1,000 students in grades 10 through 12. That includes Butte High and Butte Central, and that is how the classifications are determined.

Is it fair that the Miners play against some other Class A teams that are feeder programs for Class AA teams? Probably not.

Those teams include Missoula, Helena, Bozeman and Billings. They are generally made up of younger players, and that makes a huge difference.

However, nobody complained that Dillon, Belgrade and Gallatin Valley got to beat up on some younger teams, including the Butte Muckers, for all those years. Those Class A teams are not feeders.

Also, nobody seemed to notice how unfair it was when the Miners had to play against teams drawing from a much larger population all those years in the Class AA.

This year, the Butte American Legion baseball program had 30 players making up two teams, the Miners and the developmental Muckers. Some programs in Montana cut more than 80 players before the start of the season.

Butte did not cut a soul. It never does.

Why did nobody seem to notice the numbers discrepancy when the Miners were playing in the Class AA? Nobody could see that the other programs had way higher enrollment numbers than the Mining City. Way higher.

Billings has three large Class AA high schools, yet they only have two Class AA baseball teams. Great Falls, Helena, Kalispell and Bozeman each have two Class AA schools, yet only one Class AA baseball team. Missoula has three Class AA schools, though on the smaller side, but it has just one Class AA baseball team.

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Butte has one Class AA school and one really small Class A school, and they had to play with one Class AA team for so many years. Where were the people worried about fairness then? Where were the sarcastic comments about the Billings Scarlets and Royals beating teams so low in numbers?

That fact that Butte went 69 years between any kind of state title shows you that there was not a level playing field.

Do people think that it was simply a matter that Butte was not good at playing baseball? Do they think that Billings, Missoula and Helena were just so much more advanced at throwing, hitting and catching than we are in Butte?

That is crazy. Butte has had some unbelievably good coaches over the years. We had Jim “Fonz” Hanley, who had the backing of a couple of legendary figures in Jack Whelan and Jack Cavanaugh. I dare anybody to tell me they had three better men running any program in any sport.

We had Mike Ludwig and Glenn Granger. We had Jeff LeProwse, who turned out a bunch of college baseball players while spending much of his time trying to keep the program alive during his 10-year run.

We have had players drafted into professional ball, and we had one reach the Big Leagues and another advance to Triple A. That is because we have some guys who know the game of baseball.

The Miners of the 69-year drought were not losers. They were just not able to overcome such a numbers advantage.

Yes, the American Legion baseball system is not a fair one. It has been this way for a long time.

But it took the Miners winning the Class A state title for the rest of the state to notice.

I came to terms that the rest of the state does not like us much years ago, and we will just have to chalk it up to Butte envy.

There is no way my grandpa was wrong.

(Video) Billings Senior fends off Butte

— Bill Foley, who is not nearly as charming as he thinks he is, writes a column that appears Tuesdays on Email him at Follow him at


Why is it called Butte America? ›

Butte was laid out in 1886 and was named for Big Butte, a nearby conical peak locally called “the richest hill on earth.” The rich mineral deposits of the area attracted settlers; placer gold was discovered in 1864, and silver was first successfully treated there in 1875.

What is Butte Montana known for? ›

Butte began in the late 1800s as a gold and silver mining camp. At the turn of the century, the development of electricity and the industrialization of America resulted in a massive copper boom, and Butte flourished.

What state is Butte in? ›

With less than half of Butte's peak population of over 100,000 people, today Butte is the fifth largest city in Montana.

Did Butte High win last night? ›

49-21 (L) Butte @ Sentinel.

What do you call a person from Butte Montana? ›

Butte Pride

Given how diverse Butte's community is, the moniker still holds strong in the present day. Talk to any Butte native for 5 minutes and you'll notice quickly how its residents still identify with Butte first. The pride has been passed down for generations, down to Butte's early days as a mining town.

Where is the richest hill on Earth? ›

Butte, Montana, the Richest Hill on Earth.

Is Butte Montana the most Irish city America? ›

Did you know that Butte, Montana, is America's "most Irish town?" The state of Montana, known in Spanish times as Territoria De Las Montanas, (Territory of the Mountains), is traditionally known by historians as having the “most Irish” town in America.

What is the dark history of Butte Montana? ›

Butte became a socialist centre and important player in the Industrial Workers of the World organization (IWW). This led to strikes and several violent clashes too, the worst of which was the Anaconda Road Massacre, when company guards shot at strikers, killing one, in 1920.

What is Butte the city that ate itself? ›

Using oral history interviews and archival finds, The City That Ate Itself explores the lived experience of open-pit copper mining at Butte's infamous Berkeley Pit. Because an open-pit mine has to expand outward in order for workers to extract ore, its effects dramatically changed the lives of workers and residents.

How many miles of tunnels are under Butte Montana? ›

The Butte area used to be a vast network of underground mines. There are about 10,000 miles of mine tunnels under the city—some as deep as a mile under the ground. Many of the tunnels are now filled with water.

What is the deepest mine in Butte Montana? ›

The Mountain Con, or simply the "Con", is located in uptown Butte. It possesses the deepest shaft on the Butte Hill at 5380 feet.

What is the richest hill in the world Butte Montana? ›

Anaconda Hill, Butte, Montana, U.S.A.--richest hill in the world . Butte Montana, 1904.

What rank is Butte College football? ›

State's top Ranked Football Teams - Butte College Ranked #2 - Butte College.

What division is Butte College football? ›

Butte College's Elijah O'Neal Makes D1 Commitment

"It's always been a dream of mine to go to a division 1 football program, and especially the Pac-12," O'Neal said.

Did the Butte miners win today? ›

Butte Miners power past Redmond in first-round win at regional tournament.

Why do Montanans say crick? ›

Crick The generic Montana pronunciation of the word “creek,” which is a small brook or stream. Often when a creek has a proper name it is then pronounced “creek,” as in Willow Creek or Wolf Creek. Generically it is more commonly pronounced “crick,” though.

Is Butte Montana expensive? ›

Food costs in Butte are less affordable than average in the United States. Transportations costs in Butte are more affordable than average in the United States. Housing costs in Butte are more affordable than average in the United States. Health care costs in Butte are as affordable than the US average.

Do they say howdy in Montana? ›

Use in different states

In many rural Southern and Western states, especially in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, and Wyoming, Howdy is commonly used in casual contexts as a standard greeting.

Who is the richest man in Butte Montana? ›

In the first 3 months of the pandemic, his net worth grew by 13% Dennis Washington, 86, is the wealthiest man in Montana, with a net worth of $6.1 billion US.

What is America's richest town? ›

Atherton, CA

The richest city in the US is Atherton, California. It has a median household income of $450,690, which is almost seven times higher than the average American household income of $69,021. With a relatively low population of 6,950 residents, Atherton is a town known for its exclusivity and wealth.

Who owns the Butte mine? ›

Montana Resources operates an open pit copper and molybdenum mine in Butte, Montana. The operation comprises the Continental mine, crushers, and a concentrator facility where tons of raw ore are processed into high-quality metal concentrates. We serve an international market for these important metals.

What Indian tribe is in Butte Montana? ›

Heart Butte is located 26 miles south of Browning on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation near the Continental Divide and Glacier National Park. The Reservation on 1.5 million acres and is home to Montana's largest Indian tribe, the Blackfeet Indians.

What ethnic groups live in Butte Montana? ›

The 5 largest ethnic groups in Butte-Silver Bow, MT are White (Non-Hispanic) (90.2%), White (Hispanic) (3.3%), American Indian & Alaska Native (Non-Hispanic) (2.14%), Two+ (Non-Hispanic) (1.96%), and Two+ (Hispanic) (0.966%).

Is Butte or Missoula bigger? ›

Below are the 454 Montana cities sorted by population from largest to smallest. The population data are from the 2021 American Community Survey.
Montana Cities by Population.
3Great Falls60,381
5Butte-Silver Bow35,017
158 more rows

Why are there so many Irish in Butte Montana? ›

During Famine times, many Irish found their home there, arriving in Butte by way of Nevada's Comstock Lode, Pennsylvania's coalfields, and the Michigan copper mines.

How many miners died in Butte MT? ›

Most men died of suffocation underground as the fire consumed their oxygen; a total of 168 miners were killed. The Butte, Montana copper mines were at full wartime production to support the US in World War I. Miners had been seeking improved working conditions, as they were at high risk.

What is it like living in Butte Montana? ›

Butte is in Silver Bow County. Living in Butte offers residents a sparse suburban feel and most residents own their homes. In Butte there are a lot of bars and parks. Many young professionals live in Butte and residents tend to be conservative.

What is the most famous Butte? ›

The Mittens. Monument Valley, Utah, has the most famous collection of buttes in the world.

Why is Butte called the richest hill on Earth? ›

Butte, once the largest city in the Rocky Mountains, and has been called the "Richest Hill on Earth" due to the mining operations of gold, silver, and copper. During the boom years of the late 1800s and early 1900s, Butte became a melting pot, including immigrants of Irish, Scandanavian, Serbian and Asian cultures.

Where does Butte get its water from? ›

El Paso receives nearly half its annual water supply from the Rio Grande.

Who owns the Continental Pit in Butte Montana? ›

Montana Resources LLP is an American mining company with headquarters in Butte, Montana. The company is owned by businessman Dennis Washington as a unit of The Washington Companies. The company employs about 350 people, and operates the Continental mine, an open pit copper and molybdenum mine at Butte.

What is the deepest tunnel in the US? ›

The Ted Williams Tunnel interface in East Boston between the land-based approach and the underwater section is 90 feet below the surface of Boston Harbor, the deepest such connection in North America.

What is the deepest hole in Montana? ›

The Berkeley Pit is a former open pit copper mine in the western United States, located in Butte, Montana. It is one mile (1.6 km) long by one-half mile (800 m) wide, with an approximate depth of 1,780 feet (540 m).

What is the largest underground mine in the United States? ›

El Teniente
Coordinates34°05′16″S 70°23′15″W
9 more rows

What is the largest pit mine in the US? ›

The Bingham Canyon copper mine in Utah is the world's largest human-made excavation. Like most large open-pit mines, Bingham's walls are terraced to reduce landslide risk and enable heavy equipment to reach mineral-bearing rock.

What was the worst mining accident in Montana? ›

The worst disaster in Montana mining history occurred on June 8th, 1917, and began in the depths of the Granite Mountain mine. An electric cable, ironically a component of a new fire safety system, was being installed in the shaft, but something went wrong, and it fell, sustaining damage.

How many billionaires are in MT? ›

Forbes lists 4 billionaires in Montana.

How many millionaires are in MT? ›

RankStateNumber of millionaire households
48North Dakota20,002
49South Dakota18,905
47 more rows

What is the tallest building in Butte Montana? ›

Just down the road, in wonderful Butte, you will find the tallest building in historic uptown. The Finlen Hotel & Motor Inn has ten floors and opened in 1924. Built of brick, you will also notice the one-of-a-kind copper mansard roof.

What NFL player went to Butte College? ›

Butte College Football alum T.J. Bass signs with Cowboys.

What is the number 1 football college? ›

1Georgia (63)15-0
22 more rows
Jan 9, 2023

Who is rank 1 in college football? ›

1. Ohio State. Where Ohio State is: The one thing we know is that the Buckeyes should have plenty of production at wide receiver, the position they've recruited so well in recent years.

What college does Aaron Rodgers say Butte community college? ›

Aaron Rodgers
No. 8 – New York Jets
High school:Pleasant Valley (Chico, California)
College:Butte CC (2002) California (2003–2004)
NFL Draft:2005 / Round: 1 / Pick: 24
Career history
18 more rows

What is the acceptance rate for Butte College? ›

Butte is an above-average public college located in California. It is a small institution with an enrollment of 3,933 undergraduate students. The Butte acceptance rate is 100%.

What was the original name of Butte College? ›

Butte-Glenn Community College District became the official name. Early Childhood Education was added to the college's curriculum.

Why did mining stop in Butte? ›

In 1977, the city and county governments consolidated to form the sole entity of Butte-Silver Bow, encompassing 717 square miles. The Berkeley Pit operated until 1982, when increasing costs and low copper prices resulted in a full shutdown.

Is the mine in Butte still active? ›

About The Berkeley Pit, was Butte's first large truck-operated open-pit copper mine until mining ceased in 1982. By 1980 nearly 1.5 billion tons of material had been removed from the Pit, including more than 290 million tons of copper ore. The pit enabled Butte to claim the title The Richest Hill on Earth.

What toxic mine is in Butte? ›

Past mining has polluted the soil and water in and around Butte, and when Atlantic Richfield Company (ARCO) abandoned the mine in 1982, it left a pit that's since filled with water so toxic that it kills flocks of birds that land on it.

What does Butte mean in history? ›

Article Vocabulary. Buttes are tall, flat-topped, steep-sided towers of rock. Buttes were created through the process of erosion, the gradual wearing away of earth by water, wind, and ice. Buttes were once part of flat, elevated areas of land known as mesas or plateaus.

Why is Butte so Irish? ›

The reason for the large emigration from Ireland to Butte was mining. A huge copper mine was discovered in Butte by Marcus Daly, himself born near Ballyjamesduff, Co Cavan, on December 5, 1841. He brought the Irish by the thousands to this wilderness town.

What is a Butte vs mountain? ›

Buttes are smaller flat topped mountains or hills with steep slopes on all sides. They are typically topped by a hard cap rock that is resistant to erosion protects the softer lower layers beneath.

What is the biggest butte ever? ›

Big Southern Butte is the largest and youngest (300,000 years old) of three rhyolitic domes formed over a million years near the center of the Eastern Snake River Plain in the U.S. state of Idaho. It is one of the largest volcanic domes on earth.

What is the most famous butte? ›

The Mitten Buttes of Monument Valley in the Utah-Arizona state line are two of the most distinctive and widely recognized buttes. Monument Valley and the Mittens provided backgrounds in the scenes of many western-themed films, including seven movies directed by John Ford.

What language is butte? ›

Borrowed from French butte (“mound”).

What is the most Irish city in America? ›

2023's Most Irish Cities in America
Most Irish Cities
1New York, NY
2Chicago, IL
3Boston, MA
7 more rows
Mar 10, 2023

What is the most Irish town in the United States? ›

While Scituate can claim the title of most Irish town in the US, Butte, Montana, has often been referred to as the most Irish city in the country. Around a quarter of Butte's population claim Irish heritage.

What percentage of Butte Montana is Irish? ›

Butte, Montana resulted in the highest of any metropolitan or micropolitan city with 23.6 percent saying they had Irish roots. Butte topped out as the most Irish American of the 942 metropolitan and micropolitan cities in the country.

How many miners died in Butte? ›

Most men died of suffocation underground as the fire consumed their oxygen; a total of 168 miners were killed. The Butte, Montana copper mines were at full wartime production to support the US in World War I. Miners had been seeking improved working conditions, as they were at high risk.

Does Butte still mine? ›

In the early days of mining in Butte, the huge amount of copper that was produced was used to wire the world for electricity. Today, there continues to be lots of uses for copper.

How big can a butte be? ›

Mesas and Buttes

A butte is a flat-topped rock hill that has steep sides and is taller than it is wide. Buttes can be hundreds of feet tall!

Why is butte called the richest hill on earth? ›

Butte, once the largest city in the Rocky Mountains, and has been called the "Richest Hill on Earth" due to the mining operations of gold, silver, and copper. During the boom years of the late 1800s and early 1900s, Butte became a melting pot, including immigrants of Irish, Scandanavian, Serbian and Asian cultures.

Is Big Butte a volcano? ›

The butte is one of the largest volcanic domes in the world but at 300,000 years old is also one of the youngest. Hikers who trek to the 7,550-foot high summit are rewarded with spectacular panoramic views. Approximate season of use is mid-May through October, depending on snow levels and road conditions.


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