As the calendar turns to June, each summer I begin to plan my family’s routes throughout the country for upcoming vacations. And by vacations I mean, unique opportunities for out-of-town baseball. But this June is unlike any other in memory, and we find ourselves in the middle of a pandemic and civil unrest. In some ways, it definitely makes us question what’s most important. On the other hand, isn’t it the perfect excuse to want to get away from it all?
Enter the Bismarck Larks:
Now I have to admit, when planning summer vacations we are typically trying to get the kids to a more tropical climate with the hopes of enjoying a beach. Oftentimes we’re heading south, but when word spread that while Major League Baseball was still trying to figure out what to do with itself, it was “game on” in the Northwoods League. The rumor was that as North Dakota declared itself more “low risk” to the threat of COVID-19, they were going to be opening up Dakota Community Bank and Trust Field. And get this: fans would be able to come too! Never did I think that that would be such a rare proposition, but these are definitely uncertain times.
In order to make things work in Bismarck, they would have to get creative and innovate with a three team “pod” to compete against each other for 70+ games. It would require the addition of two temporary teams in Bismarck (the Bull Moose and the Flickertails; both finalists in the “name your Team” vote held four years ago). Fans would be allowed entry, but have to consider strict social distancing and limited capacity. At this point you might be asking yourself is it worth it? Is the last minute loaning of players and pooling of resources in order to create these “one-off” placeholder franchises and have fans try to enjoy a ballpark experience while remaining 6 feet apart from each other really a worthwhile venture?
So we’re going to North Dakota. Looks like it’s roughly a 12-hour trip and I’m on VRBO right now. The hope is to find a place big enough for our families and reason enough to justify a haphazard vacation to North Dakota for the wives. Wish us luck!
And while we may have been cooped up for the last few months, when I look outside I realize that it’s 90°, the sun is out, school is done for the summer, and baseball is back. Let’s hit the road!