The new world in which we live in has not only affected Major League Baseball and its affiliates, but also the independent leagues. Last week, the St Paul Saints of the American Association announced their virtual home opener, which took place last night. Another regional team from the AA has announced some festivities to keep fans engaged until baseball is ready to safely begin.
A brief history lesson first: The Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks are celebrating its 25th season this year. In 1996, the team came to fruition as an expansion franchise of the now-defunct Northern League. They built their home, Newman Outdoor Field, on the campus of North Dakota State University in Fargo (yes, the Bison). The franchise tore up the league, making the playoffs in all but one season of their 15 seasons in the league, setting season records for win percentage and most wins during their tenure, and putting five league championship trophies in their case. In 2005, the Saints, Sioux Falls Canaries, Sioux City Explorers, and Lincoln Saltdogs left the Northern League to start the American Association with a group of other teams. The RedHawks joined the Winnipeg Goldeyes, Kansas City T-Bones, and Gary SouthShore RailCats in breaking from the Northern League after the 2010 season and joining the American Association. Since then, F-M has been division champions twice - back-to-back seasons in 2012 and 2013 - and made the playoffs for the first time since then last season, falling to the Saints in an epic five-game division championship series.
There are a handful of players that have played for F-M and went on to play in the majors. Chris Coste (C/1B; Philadelphia Phillies, 2006-2009; Houston Astros, 2009) won a World Series ring in 2008 with the Phillies. Southpaw Brandon Mann had time in the minors and Japan before hitting the indy league circuit, pitching for the RedHawks in 2015. He was picked up by the Oakland Athletics and broke the majors ranks last season for the Texas Rangers, pitching out of their bullpen in seven games. There was even a story written by The Athletic (subscription required) about him and his debut, which happened on Mother’s Day.
Now onto the festivities! To celebrate and bring together the community, the RedHawks with the support of local organizations will be hosting a drive-in fireworks show on Friday, May 29, from their home, Newman Outdoor Field. Parking lots surrounding the stadium will be opened at 8p that night for families to roll on in and snag a spot.
Award-winning RedHawks broadcaster Jack Michaels will start things off at 8:30p with a “RedHawks at 25” show on the flagship station for the F-M club, KNFL 740 AM “The Fan” (also available on 107.3 FM). He will be recapping the RedHawks’ 2019 season and playoff series and also announcing the results of the All 25 RedHawks Team voting, which has been running the past few months for fans to vote in the best and favorite RedHawks players in franchise history.
Following that will be the fireworks show, which will be have accompanying music played on The Fan for families to listen to from their vehicles. The entire event will be streamed on the RedHawks Facebook and Twitter accounts for those who are not able to attend.
The stadium will be closed and restrooms will not be available. However, the event is free of charge for those who decide to soak in the show. More information can be found on their site by clicking here.