Northwoods League baseball returns with COVID-19 plan


KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — Fans will not see Minor League Baseball this summer, but the Northwoods League has returned with a delayed start and new coronavirus procedures.

Masks are being required to watch the Kalamazoo Growlers, Battle Creek Bombers and Mac Daddies.

Brain Colopy, the vice president of the three teams, says they have been planning for weeks.

“We’re excited to be here. There’s been a lot of work put in,” Colopy said.

The start of the season was delayed to July 1 because of the pandemic. While the sport is the same, the experience of watching the game is different.

“It’s very limited capacity right now starting with 100 fans. Face masks are going to be required until you get into your seated area then they can be removed,” Colopy said.

Seats are being sanitized and signs will remind people to social distance.

Physical distance markers at Homer Stryker Field in Kalamazoo on July 1, 2020.

“A lot of procedures. A lot of training with staff protections in place, hand sanitizing stations, just you name it — going above and beyond and we’re just going to adapt to all the changes that we learn,” Colopy said.

Nate Kissell, the director of ticket sales, says seats went quickly for the first game between the Kalamazoo Growlers and Mac Daddies.

“We have blocked off every other row of seats to help maintain social distancing in addition to that, all tickets will have an assigned section row and seat number,” Kissell said.

Seats were offered first to season ticket holders and sponsors. The teams say the process of getting the season in place has not been easy.

“Once our schedule was approved, we had about two weeks to do six months of work rebooking people’s tickets,” Kissell said.

Since the minor league season has been canceled, the league is really the only option to see a game in person in West Michigan.

“It’s awesome that our amateur players can still make this happen, can still be out here,” Kissell said.

Several games are already sold out this season, but some tickets are still available.

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