Growlers, Bombers prepare to play baseball this summer

COVID-19 brings challenges for Northwoods teams
Posted at 2:24 PM, Mar 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-27 17:06:26-04
Northwoods league preparing for baseball

The Northwoods League, a summer collegiate baseball league, is planning to start its season at the end of May as originally scheduled.

That could change, but they are planning on baseball at some point and when they do it will come with great anticipation.

“Summer collegiate baseball is never going to be more important than it will be this summer," Brian Colopy, managing partner of the Kalamazoo Growlers said. "Just because of the players that need to play, scouts that haven’t gotten to see guys play during college, the players wanting to prove themselves.

Due to that demand, the rosters are likely to better than ever.

The big college programs want their guys to play baseball this summer.

“I think overall the league is going to be much more talented than it ever has been before," Battle Creek Bombers General Manager Tyler Shore said. "Normally we have to go and beg these guys to come play and now they are banging on our door to say hey can we get our guys on your team, do you have any spots.”

The league is going to allow each team to have five extra players (35) on the roster this season to accommodate the demand.

Almost all of the players live with host families for the two to three months they play.

The Bombers feel that finding places for their players will not be a big problem despite COVID-19.

“They get to build relationships with these players throughout the summer," Shore added. "I know a lot of our host families who have been around for a few different years, they go to the weddings of their players and they are visiting their players when they have kids and it is just these relationships they build throughout the year so I don’t see the Coronavirus stuff impacting that too much and I think all of our host families are excited just to get the season kicked off.”

In a normal year players transition from their college season into summer without much time off.

This season the large amount of time without baseball will be a new hurdle.

“We have been working with the coaches on a plan to get those guys ready," Colopy said. "They might need a week or two to get ready to play whether that’s at home or here. We feel really good about our ability to get the guys ready.”

Whenever the season starts the entertainment will be right there with it.

The Growlers have plans to bring back Coach Drake who is now seven years old, plus a drum line as well as some other surprises.