MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) — The Mankato MoonDogs will join four other teams that will begin playing Northwoods League games on July 1.
The MoonDogs join what is being called a “pod” of teams and includes the Willmar Stingers, Rochester Honkers, St. Cloud Rox and Waterloo Bucks.
In an announcement on Monday, the Northwoods League said play is scheduled to begin July 1 and last until Aug. 20, with the team that has the best winning percentage on Aug. 20 declared as the winner of the pod.
“We’re fortunate to bring family-friendly baseball back to the community. Although a bit of a tuned down level, it’ll still be that fun night at the ballpark,” explained Justin White, general manager of the Mankato MoonDogs.
The NWL added that each team approved to begin play on July 1 has worked in coordination with local and state officials on developing a plan for safe operations in their respective locations as the threat of COVID-19 still lingers across much of the world.
“Continuing efforts on the part of our affiliates in Minnesota and Iowa to craft plans for safe operation in their respective locations in consultation with their state and local officials, along with the steps by those officials to open up their communities for larger gatherings, has made it possible to start another ‘pod’ in the Northwoods League footprint on July 1,” Northwoods League President and Commissioner Gary Hoover explained in a statement on the league’s website. “This regional pod will bring the special brand of Northwoods League baseball back to those communities, but in a way that is consistent with everyone’s goal of doing so in a safe manner.”
Although the club is currently not selling single-game tickets, according to a post on the team’s official Twitter account, General Manager Justin White says fans will be allowed back at some point during the 2020 season.
“It’s going to be a little bit different. There will be quality talent on the field. There will be six feet distancing restrictions across the board, decals on the ground and at the concession stand. There will be hand sanitizing areas. We’re limiting gate access. Our wait staff and anyone that has anything to do with food will be wearing masks. We’ll have staff dedicated to cleaning different areas of the park,” White explained.
The first-year general manager added that 250 fans will be allowed in the stands for each game.
The MoonDogs’ full schedule can be viewed by visiting the Northwoods League website.