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Total Eclipse: Ballparks Prepare to Blackout

Salem-Keizer Volcanoes eclipse

It’s time to bring out those viewing glasses and gather the family because for the first time since 1918, a total solar eclipse will turn the skies dark for a few minutes on August 21. Professional baseball teams across the country are jumping on this trend and preparing for their ballpark blackouts with unique events and promotions.

The Salem-Keizer Volcanoes (Short Season A; Northwest League) were one of the first teams to announce they would be theming a game around the eclipse, with an announcement issued last year. Salem will be celebrating the eclipse from Friday, August 18 to August 21. Each day, they will have presentations from NASA leading up to the game on August 2. The Volcanoes are opening their gates at 5 a.m. with an EclipseFest Breakfast from 6-9 a.m. complete with six presentations from NASA before the game begins at 9:35 a.m. The eclipse is slated to pass over Salem at 10:17 a.m. local time.

The Nashville Sounds (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League) are also hosting a total solar eclipse viewing party. Gates will open at 10:30 a.m. with Nashville’s mayor welcoming the crowd. There will also be music from the Nashville Symphony, science and astronomy demonstrations from the Adventure Science Center. The eclipse will begin at 11:58 a.m. with totality beginning at 1:27 and lasting for about two minutes. Guests will also receive special solar glasses for safe viewing. The ballpark will be cleared at 2 p.m. in preparation for the Sounds game against the Iowa Cubs at 4:05 p.m. UPDATE: This event is now officially sold out.

The Bowling Green Hot Rods (Low A; Midwest League) are jumping on the eclipse trend with both Bowling Green and West Michigan wearing specialty sun and moon jerseys during the game that will be auctioned off with proceeds benefiting Norton Children’s Hospital. Fans will be given safety glasses to view the eclipse and Dr. Eric Rappin, a Mesonet Research Professor at Western Kentucky University, will be on hand to speak about the eclipse. That game is slated to begin at 10:35 a.m. with the eclipse passing overhead at approximately 1:27 p.m.

Total Eclipse of the Park-Fireflies

Another team doing specialty jerseys for an eclipse event is the Columbia Fireflies (Low A; Sally League). The jerseys will be glow-in-the-dark jerseys with the jerseys being auctioned off during the game and fans can place bids online, with proceeds benefitting the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) educational programs in the Midlands. They are also theming Saturday night’s game around NASA.

The Idaho Falls Chukars (Rookie; Pioneer League) are also celebrating the Solar Eclipse with gates opening at 8:30 a.m. They will show a movie called Max Goes to The Moon followed by a presentation from astronaut Alvin Drew. The team announced they will have a panel of scientists Jeffrey Bennett, Erica Ellingson, and Nick Schneider on-hand to talk about the eclipse with totality lasting from 11:33-11:35 a.m. local time. Other events will include activities and information from NASA, Big Kid Science, Story Time From Space, the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), and the Idaho National Lab.

The Greenville Drive (Low A; Sally League) will play a 1:05 p.m. game that will be delayed when the eclipse is overhead around 2:38 p.m. local time. According to a team press release, fans will be given a pair of glasses to view the eclipse courtesy of Pepsi of Greenville with WYFF’s Chief Meterologist John Cessarich updating fans during the game. The team is also hosting a post-game concert from country group Walker McGuire.

The Charleston RiverDogs (Low A; Sally League) are also preparing for a 1 p.m. game to view the solar eclipse. According to a team press release, members from the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center will be answering questions during the game. The team is expecting a large crowd and has two additional remote parking lots with shuttles on stand-by for that day’s game.

The Pensacola Blue Wahoos (Class AA; Southern League) will open the gates to Blue Wahoos Stadium at noon to celebrate the solar eclipse. The event is free and a limited number of fans will receive viewing glasses and moon pies, according to a team press release. Concession stands will be open for lunch, mascot Kazoo will be on-hand for photos, and the Cox Clubhouse will be open. As the eclipse approaches, fans will also be allowed to run the bases as a chance to beat the eclipse.

These are just a few viewing locations for the eclipse. Where will you be when eyes turn towards the skies?

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