Nowlin: Baseball at midnight, without lights

From SABR Vice President Bill Nowlin at Boston Ball on June 22, 2014:

One of the advantages of a Summer Solstice visit to Fairbanks, Alaska is to see the Alaska Goldpanners play the Midnight Sun Game – a tradition that started in 1906. Last night, I got to see the 109th annual Midnight Sun Game, and the Goldpanners beat the Lake Erie Monarchs, 13-6.

The day before I had flown with four other passengers to Coldfoot, Alaska, about 100 miles north of the Arctic Circle and then we drove back to Fairbanks. We got back to town in time to see the sun set (only because the mountains provided a place to hide behind for a while. It never really gets dark; you can definitely sit outside and read a book 24 hours a day.

Last night, for the game, it was cloudy and there was a little spitting of rain that caused a delay of a few minutes before the Goldpanners themselves went out on the field to remove the tarps and get ready to start the game.

There were a few thousand people in attendance. The game is played with wooden bats and truly represents the highest level of amateur baseball in America. For those who have seen play in the Cape Cod League, it’s a very similar experience – but there aren’t any Cape Cod League games played at midnight without lights.

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Originally published: June 23, 2014. Last Updated: June 23, 2014.