ND Smart Restart Guidelines are Key for Larks Season
Northwoods League on hold, but Larks may still play.
The Bismarck Larks are looking at every opportunity to safely play baseball this summer.
The Northwoods League (NWL) announced Thursday the 2020 season is officially on hold due to state restrictions on large events across its footprint, but the league has assured affiliates they want to safely play as many games in as many ballparks as possible. See the NWL full press release here – shorturl.at/ltGL2
The NWL has no official start date and referenced that Opening Day may be different for certain teams based on their respective state guidelines for the reopening of large venues. That means all options are on the table such as playing the season into late August and early September or multiple teams hosted in select cities to play games until it is feasible for league-wide play to begin.
“If and when guidance is issued for the ballpark to safely reopen, we’ve had some great, out-of-the-box discussions with the NWL on how the Larks can play ball,” said John Bollinger, Larks General Manager.
With numerous scenarios in play, the Larks have not ruled out hosting a baseball game in Bismarck on their scheduled May 26 start date, but such a game would have to follow North Dakota Smart Restart guidelines. Currently guidelines for large venues to reopen are not on the North Dakota state government website. When these guidelines are announced, they may include opening the ballpark at reduced seating capacity and numerous changes that promote social distancing and minimize touchpoint moments between fans, employees and players.
“Our fans, employees, players and community’s safety are our number one priority,” said Bollinger. “We are closely monitoring updates from the Governor’s office on large venue reopening guidelines and in anticipation have already been working with Burleigh-Bismarck Public Health, Bismarck Parks and Recreation, the NWL and local health officials on a plan for us all to safety watch, work and play baseball at Bismarck Municipal Ballpark this summer.”
Due to Opening Day uncertainty, the Larks will not open up single game ticket sales as planned on Monday, May 11. If fans are interested in purchasing tickets once the season is announced, they can sign up for a priority list starting May 11 on larksbaseball.com. Once an official Opening Day is in place, priority list members will have first access to purchase any available tickets remaining. Depending on the schedule and capacity guidelines, there may be limited tickets available for purchase. If games are sold out due to capacity restraints, the Larks are working closely with the Northwoods League and media partners to provide options for fans to view games from home.
Current Larks season ticket holders and Scheels 7 Game Pack members are encouraged to reach out to their ticket representative (if they have not heard from them already) if they have any further questions about the season, their package and game dates. Once a firm Opening Day is established, current ticket holders will be the first updated on a potential revised schedule and ticket pickup plan.
If a business or organization has a scheduled group outing with the Larks in May or June, they are encouraged to contact their ticket representative as well to discuss any questions about their game date and options.
“During this time, our team just can’t thank Lark Nation and the Bismarck Mandan community enough for your understanding, patience and support,” said Bollinger. “We look forward to unveiling our plans to provide you a safe, FUN experience at the ballpark once we get the go ahead.”
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.