Written by Reese Lannon
MANKATO, MN – The Mankato MoonDogs released their 2023 schedule a few weeks back. The schedule includes 36 home games at ISG Field in Mankato, as well as 32 road games to bring the MoonDog schedule to 68 total games.
The orange and black will also have a few changes to recurring opponents. Mankato will welcome back the Thunder Bay (Ont.) Border Cats to the Northwoods League for the first time since 2019. Thunder Bay was forced to sit out the 2020, 2021 and 2022 seasons due to COVID-19 restrictions in place in Canada.
Another new opponent the Dogs will welcome is the Minot Hot Tots, an expansion franchise based out of Minot, N.D. The nickname “Hot Tots” comes from a tater tot casserole dish local to the Minot area. The new expansion franchise will play out of Corbett Field in Minot, and will compete alongside Mankato in the Northwoods League’s Great Plains West Division.
Gone from the schedule is Eau Claire (Wis.) Express, as well as the Duluth Huskies. With the Northwoods League now at a league-record 24 teams with the expansion club in Minot, as well as the Minnesota Mud Puppies travel team being brought back, the league looks to minimize travel.
The MoonDogs will overall face nine different opponents this summer, including all of the other five teams in the Great Plains West, as well as four teams in the Great Plains East Division.
Taking a peek at the schedule, the MoonDogs will start off the 2023 season at home with the two opponents that they did not face in 2022. Thunder Bay comes in for a two-game set May 29-30, followed by Minot coming to ISG Field for another two-game set May 31-June 1.
Mankato will hit the road for the first time on June 2, traveling to Rochester to take on the Honkers. Overall, the May/June schedule is extremely frontloaded with home dates, with 10 out of the first 13 games taking place in Mankato.
As the schedule nears the back half of June, the MoonDogs will see much more action on the road, highlighted by their first trips northwest to St. Cloud, to take on the Rox, as well as to Bismarck (N.D), to take on the Larks. The road trip to Bismarck will also give the team its first double-header on June 20 (9:05 a.m., 6:35 p.m.)
July is packed with long homestands. Although the Mankato squad does not play a July home game until the 6th, they play a long seven-day, eight-game homestand July 6-12, highlighted by their first look at the Waterloo (Iowa) Bucks to kick off the homestand, as well as a home double-header against Bismarck to conclude the homestand.
Following a four-game road trip, which includes the club’s first trip to Thunder Bay’s Port Arthur Stadium since 2019 as they take on the Border Cats, the team will return home July 18-23 for a six-game homestand. The homestand has three two-game series, with Bismarck, Waterloo and the Minnesota Mud Puppies coming to south-central Minnesota to take on the MoonDogs.
To kick off the month of August, the Northwoods League will celebrate their first Great Plains Division All-Star Game on August 1. This deviates from a long run of just one league All-Star Game. The game will be hosted at Bismarck Municipal Ballpark by the Bismarck Larks, who will be hosting their first All-Star Game in their seventh season of play.
Following the All-Star Break, the MoonDogs will be headed right back to North Dakota, as they take on Minot for a four-game series starting on August 3, followed by a two-game set with Bismarck August 7-8.
The last two home regular season games for Mankato will take place August 9-10, as they take on Rochester to close out the home slate at ISG Field. Following this, the orange and black will wrap up the 2023 regular season schedule, as they travel to Waterloo to take on the Bucks for a two-game set.
Following the regular season, the NWL Playoffs run August 13-18. In order to qualify for the playoffs, Mankato will be tasked with winning the Great Plains West Division in either the first half (May 29-July 4), or the second half (July 5-August 12).
For a complete schedule and home dates, click HERE. We look forward to seeing you for Opening Day on May 29, as the MoonDogs take on the Thunder Bay Border Cats at 6:35 p.m.
The Northwoods League is the proven leader in the development of elite college baseball players. Having completed its’ 29th 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 300 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 (NYM), two-time World Series Champions Ben Zobrist and Brandon Crawford (SFG) and World Series Champion Chris Sale (BOS). As well as 2019 Rookie of the Year and 2019/2021 Home Run Derby Champion Pete Alonso (NYM) and 2021 All-Star, MLB Gold Glove winner and 2019 Second Team All-MLB shortstop Marcus Semien (TEX). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League website at watchnwl.com and on ESPN+. For more information, visit www.northwoodsleague.com or download the Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store or on Google Play.