KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — Baseball is coming back in Kalamazoo and Battle Creek.
The Northwoods League announced Monday morning that the Kalamazoo Growlers and Battle Creek Bombers wills start their seasons on July 1. They will be joined by the Mac Daddies, a second team based in Kalamazoo.
The Northwoods League has moved to regional pods for the 2020 season due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. Michigan will have two divisions with the Kalamazoo and Battle Creek teams in the south and two new teams based in Traverse City, alongside the Pit Spitters.
The season will consist of 60 games, culminating in a three-day playoff between the top teams from each division in early September.
Tickets will be limited at both Homer Stryker Field in Kalamazoo and C.O. Brown Stadium in Battle Creek. Fans are encouraged to sign up for the free priority list for first crack at tickets. Sales for the priority list will begin on June 22 and tickets for the general public will go on sale on June 27.
The fan experience will also look a little different due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Fans will be required to wear masks while moving around the ballpark, but not while guests are seated in the grandstands. Masks will also be available for sale inside the park for those who need them.
At Homer Stryker Field, entrance to the ballpark will be determined based on seat assignment. Fans with tickets in sections 100 to 104 and 200 to 204 will use the main gate. Ticket holders with seats in sections 105 to 109, Homeplate Club, Backstop, or Dugout Clubs will enter through Gate 2. The remaining ticket holders will use Gate 3. Fans will be asked to stay in their seats after the game while staff releases individual rows to prevent crowding at the exit gates.
Capacity at Homer Stryker Field will not exceed 33.2% (1,143 tickets) at any point in the season. The Growlers will start by selling just 100 to 500 tickets, depending on state guidelines, and will gradually increase throughout the season. Seats will be sold in groups of four with four empty seats on either side of each group as a buffer.
The gameday experience will also change for fans. Players will not be allowed to throw balls into the stands and there will be no autograph sessions. The Kids’ Fun Zone will also look different as the zip line, bounce house, obstacle course and other high-touch activities will be replaced with scheduled activities that ensure social distancing.
The Kalamazoo Growlers are starting their 7th season in the Northwoods League. The season will kick off at Homer Stryker Field on July 1.