Mid-Summer Classic Returns to Mankato July 20-21, 2020
MANKATO, MN. – The Mankato MoonDogs baseball club announced today that the Northwoods League has granted them the right to host the 2020 All-Star Game, bringing the mid-summer classic back to Mankato for the first time since 2007. The MoonDogs unveiled their plans for a two-day All-Star extravaganza at a press conference held inside of the Mankato Civic Center in downtown Mankato earlier today.
Principal owner Chad Surprenant was ecstatic to be able to welcome the All-Star Game back to Mankato, “What a tremendous opportunity to not only showcase our renovated ballpark to the entire Northwoods League, but this is also a fabulous opportunity to put Mankato on display as we welcome players, coaches, fans, front office executives and scouts from all over the country to our great city.”
“The level of enthusiasm for the 2020 Northwoods League All-Star Game by the Mankato MoonDogs organization and the effort they are putting forth to ensure the fans a great experience are making this a highly-anticipated event for us all” said Northwoods League President and Commissioner Gary Hoover. “It should be a great time in Mankato this summer.”
The MoonDogs plan to entertain fans and visitors over a two-day celebration of baseball and fun. The festivities will begin on Monday, July 20 when gates to Franklin Rogers Park open at 5 p.m. for the All-Star Fan Fest that will feature up-close interaction with the 2020 All-Star players as well as live music and interactive games and activities for all ages. That will be followed by the 2020 All-Star Home Run Derby at 7 p.m. that will pit the best sluggers from around the Northwoods League against each other as they vie for the home run derby crown. The All-Star Fan Fest and Home Run Derby will be presented by Community Bank and The Mayo Clinic Health System.
Tuesday, July 21 will be an action-packed day of events beginning with the 2020 All-Star Luncheon Banquet that will be open to the public and take place at the Mankato Civic Center in downtown Mankato from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. Along with each of the All-Stars being honored during the banquet, a featured guest speaker (to be named at a later date) will address the crowd. Tuesday afternoon will feature an All-Star Block Party from 4-6 p.m. on the lawn between The Mankato Civic Center and the Hilton Downtown. Live music and vendors will entertain guests to get them ready for the 2020 All-Star Game that will take place back at Franklino Rogers Park with the first pitch scheduled to be thrown at 7:05 p.m. The 2020 All-Star Game, presented by Pepsi of Mankato and Tow Distributing, will also feature a post-game fireworks extravaganza to conclude the two-day celebration.
Newly named general manager Justin White shared his excitement in getting to host the mid-summer classic, “This is a great privilege to be able to host the best-of-the-best in the Northwoods League during this two-day celebration. Our staff is excited to showcase the city of Mankato and Franklin Rogers Park, we’re looking forward to putting on a great show.”
Staffing Updates from the MoonDogs
In addition to announcing that the 2020 All-Star Game is coming to Mankato, the MoonDogs organization shared several staffing updates for the upcoming 2020 season. Justin White has been promoted to the role of General Manager after serving as the Assistant General Manager this past season. White, a Mankato native and Minnesota State University alum, is in the midst of his fourth season with the MoonDogs organization having started as the Director of Ticket Sales three years ago.
Re-joining White in the MoonDogs front office is Tyler Kuch, who will now assume the role of Assistant General Manager. Kuch, also a Minnesota State University alum, enters his fourth season with the club having spearheaded the team’s group sales efforts on an annual basis. Prior to joining the MoonDogs, Kuch enjoyed stints with the Pittsfield (MA) Suns of the Futures Collegiate League and with the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association.
The MoonDogs organization also has two key members of their coaching staff returning for the 2020 season in field manager Matt Wollenzin and assistant coach Keirce Kimbel. Wollenzin returns for his fifth season in the MoonDogs dugout and second as the skipper after leading the Dogs to a 36-36 record in 2019. Wollenzin, who is also an assistant coach at Bethany Lutheran College in Mankato, was a standout player in his own right having earned the right to play in the Northwoods League All-Star game back in 2013 as a player for the MoonDogs.
The MoonDogs will take to the field for the first time in 2020 on Tuesday, May 26 when they play host to the Willmar Stingers at Franklin Rogers Park. Season tickets and All-Star Game ticket packages are available for purchase beginning at 8 a.m. tomorrow, Friday, November 22 at the MoonDogs front office (1221 Caledonia Street, Mankato) or by calling 507-625-7047. Information can also be found online at www.mankatomoondogs.com.
The Mankato MoonDogs are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. 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 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-Stars Jordan Zimmermann (DET) and Curtis Granderson (MIA). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League website. All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League portal. For more information, visit www.mankatomoondogs.com or download the new Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store or on Google Play and set the MoonDogs as your favorite team.