The Alaska Goldpanners have canceled the 2020 Midnight Sun Baseball Game as well as the team’s entire 2020 season, saying that the risk to fans and players at this time would be too great.
We’ve seen a slew of summer-collegiate leagues and teams either delay the season or shut down altogether. The Goldpanners are an independent summer-collegiate team and participating in the National Baseball Congress. Concerns about getting players to Fairbanks and then the subsequent travel required by the Goldpanners were raised as issues.
The Midnight Sun Baseball Game is a grand tradition in the baseball world, played on the summer solstice and without lights, as the natural sunlight in that period is enough. It’s been played in Fairbanks since 1906, with the Goldpanners taking over the game in 1960. From KTVF:
“The decision was pretty much made for us,” Goldpanners General Manager John Lohrke said. “We can’t gather crowds at the ballpark; we couldn’t have a Midnight Sun Game. At this point everyone, players, coaches, umpires, would all have to quarantine for two weeks once they hit town.”
“It’s just tough. We know at some point these restrictions will be lifted, but we don’t know for sure when so it is hard for us to plan a season on that basis.” Lohrke added.
The Prospect League, Coastal Plain League, Northwoods League, Futures Collegiate Baseball League,Texas Collegiate League and the New York Collegiate Baseball League have announced delays to the 2020 summer-collegiate season.
The Cape Cod League and the Valley Baseball League have already called the season, while individual teams are also facing issues: the Duluth Huskies (Northwoods League) and the Lafayette Aviators (Prospect League) can’t play home games before July 1, the Bellingham Bells will not participate in the 2020 West Coast League season, and the Northwoods League announced a delay to the start of the 2020 season due to state shutdowns ordered as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. All in all, summer-collegiate leagues across the board are grappling with the potential of shortened seasons, extended seasons into the fall and teams facing serious revenue shortfalls.
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