Rochester, Minn. – An innovative contingency plan for the resumption of Northwoods League games this summer is set to become a reality in Bismarck, North Dakota as the Bismarck Larks unveiled their Larks Smart Start Plan yesterday afternoon. The Northwoods League will be playing baseball once again when the Bismarck Larks, the Bismarck Bull Moose, and the Bismarck Flickertails take the field this summer at Bismarck Municipal Ballpark. The three teams will be stationed in Bismarck and will begin a rotating schedule of a total of seventy-two games once the State of North Dakota moves to the Low Risk phase described in the ND Smart Restart guidelines. One of the three teams stationed in Bismarck will be comprised of players “on loan” from the Thunder Bay Border Cats, where play this season is not possible due to border and municipal restrictions. This innovative approach represents the League’s commitment to remain nimble and adaptable in the current environment, with safety as the primary focus.
“Working in consultation with the North Dakota Department of Health, Bismarck-Burleigh Public Health, and the Bismarck Parks and Recreation District, the Bismarck Larks have fashioned a careful and thorough “Larks Smart Start Plan” in order to create an environment where the fans, players, and personnel at Bismarck Municipal Ballpark can return knowing the place where they are gathering has been subjected to a rigorous process with their safety as the primary concern,” said Northwoods League President and Commissioner Gary Hoover. “The League is mindful that a special relationship has been established between the Larks and the greater Bismarck community, and each step in this process has been taken in a way that respects, and hopefully reflects, that special relationship.”
Where it becomes possible in each sub-region of the Northwoods League for play to safely commence, and the teams within each area develop a comprehensive safety plan for their ballpark, the League will adopt a similar “pod” approach to schedule games within each sub-region so that fans in those communities can comfortably return to their ballparks as well.
The Northwoods League is the proven leader in the development of elite college baseball players. Having completed its’ 26th season, 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.