Larks Still Planning For May 26 Opening Day
Our front office is preparing for the May 26 season opener as scheduled, but in baseball terms, COVID-19 has thrown quite the curveball.
On Friday, the Northwoods League (NWL) announced due to the recent “Safer at Home” order in Wisconsin through May 26, a “league-wide” opening day would not be possible, and on Monday the City of Duluth closed Wade Stadium, home of the Duluth Huskies, through July 1.
The NWL has not ruled out that teams could start on time in states without stay at home orders and stressed that if games can safely be played per government and health guidelines, they will be played.
“All options are on the table,” Larks General Manager John Bollinger said. “While we’re hopeful to start the season on time, we’re also aware of the safety and logistical issues that COVID-19 presents our league, players, fans and personnel. With that being said, our team is planning for the best while also working closely with the NWL and community leaders on contingency plans in case we do need to delay games.”
Those plans could include the league beginning play in some cities but not others, pushing May and June games into August and September, and the Larks are even planning alternative entertainment options outside of baseball.
“I told our front office we may become Bismarck and Mandan’s social distancing entertainment company,” said Bollinger. “Fans need something to look forward to more than ever and the Bismarck Larks are committed to bringing safe, FUN experiences to their families, businesses and the community this summer no matter what happens.”
The Larks recently held their Winter Warm Up event on Facebook Live which has 2,500 views. They also played Bingo via Facebook Live and handed out cards to more than 400 people. Virtual events like these and in-person events such as organized scavenger hunts, parking lot firework shows and sponsored giveaway items are all a part of the Larks “social distancing” summer entertainment plans if needed.
For now, the Larks 2020 season is scheduled to start on May 26 with a home game against the Duluth Huskies. The team will post updates directly on their website and Facebook page.
For current ticket holders, the Larks ticket policy states that if a game is postponed, tickets to that game will be good for the rescheduled game later that season. If needed, the Larks are also working on an array of ticket options for fans in case games are cancelled and not made up in the 2020 season.
The Bismarck Larks are a proud affiliate of the Northwoods League, the proven leader in development of elite college baseball players. The Larks mission is to use FUN to make a difference in the lives of our families, businesses, players, and communities we serve. This is accomplished with a commitment to putting fans first and providing high quality family entertainment at affordable prices. In 2019, the Larks sold out 97% of all home game tickets at Bismarck Municipal Ballpark, home of Dakota Community Bank and Trust Field. The Larks were named Northwoods Organization of the Year in 2017 and 2018.
The Northwoods League is the proven leader in the development of elite college baseball players. Having completed its’ 26thseason, the Northwoods League is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 22 teams, drawing significantly more fans, in a friendly ballpark experience, than any league of its kind. A valuable training ground for coaches, umpires and front office staff, over 230 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including three-time All-Star and 2016 Roberto Clemente Award winner Curtis Granderson, three-time Cy Young Award winner and World Series Champion Max Scherzer (WAS), two-time World Series Champions Ben Zobrist (CHC) and Brandon Crawford (SFG) and World Series Champion Chris Sale (BOS). As well as 2019 Rookie of the Year and Home Run Derby Champion Pete Alonso (NYM) and MLB All-Star Jordan Zimmermann (DET). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League website. For more information, visit www.northwoodsleague.com or download the Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store or on Google Play.