Updated: June 22, 2020 10:30 PM
Created: June 22, 2020 10:25 PM
(ABC 6 News) - The Northwoods League announced Monday that the Rochester Honkers are part of a five-team "pod" that will begin their season at the start of July.
The "pod" is comprised of five teams in Minnesota and Iowa that will play each other starting July 1 and finishing up the season on August 20. For first year general manager Jeremy Aagard, getting a season is like Christmas.
“It’s more exciting than any opening day I’ve had in 15 years of being part of summer collegiate baseball. It’s just exciting to get back to some sense of normalcy, as well as to get to see the game of baseball played in the city of Rochester," Aagard said.
The game experience for fans will be different. The concessions at Mayo Field will offer a limited menu in hopes of reducing the risk of spreading COVID-19. There will also be no fan-player contact like the autograph sessions there have been in the past. The biggest change will be in the crowd size at games. At the moment only 250 people, fans and staff members total, are allowed at Mayo Field at a time.
Speaking of Mayo Field, Aagard and the rest of the organization has plenty of work to do to get the facilities ready for the team's home opener on July 3.
“To get the ballpark ready for opening day normally we have three or four months. We now have about 10 days, so there’s a lot of things at the ballpark that need to happen," Aagard said.
Aagard moved to Rochester in February and hasn't been able to see Rochester clearly because of COVID-19. The return of baseball means the return of one of his biggest passions in life.
“I’m excited to meet a lot of the residents, the host families, the sponsors. I mean this is an exciting time in my life as well as my family’s life. To be able to finally open the gates and welcome people in, it’s going to be a huge relief.”
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