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Midnight Sun Alternative Game Played On

Melissa Burnett

Fairbanks maintained its 115-year Midnight Sun Baseball Game tradition over the weekend, despite obstacles, including a game day rainstorm.

The team that’s hosted the annual Midnight Sun Game at Fairbanks Growden Park for the last 60 years, the Alaska Goldpanners pulled the plug this spring due to pandemic concerns, and a plan to replace it with a game between American Legion and local adult league team all stars was foiled by torrential rain that flooded the field late Saturday afternoon.

"You know, there's just so much working against The Game this year."

Fairbanks Adult Amateur Baseball League President Christoff Falke says the game could have been postponed, like it has been a few times in history, but one of Adult league players: Bill Robideau changed his mind.  

"He said, hey wait a minute. What do you think? Let's try to put together just two Adult League teams. So I texted all the Adult League coaches and you know 'hey, let's pull this off.'  So I think it was, 1. important to keep the tradition going and 2. just as important to try to make it happen on the day."

Falk says a couple dozen adult league players of all ages, showed up and went to work on the drenched field.

"A little after 7:00, they started trickling in, no pun intended, and started working on the field - getting the water off the field. One of the players had acess to some small industrial-sized pumps and wheelbarrows of dry dirt - take out the mud and remove some tarps, and we got the field in playing condition."

Falk says despite lingering drizzle, the game started as scheduled at 10:00 p.m. and included the traditional midnight break and singing of the Alaska Flag Song lead by a local.

"Which is just as long of a tradition as the game itself"

Falke says the 115th edition of the Midnight Sun Game, a 7-inning contest, wrapped up just after 1:00 a.m.

Dan has been in public radio news in Alaska since 1993. He’s worked as a reporter, newscaster and talk show host at stations in McGrath, Valdez and Fairbanks. Dan’s experience includes coverage of a wide range of topics, from wolf control to the Trans-Alaska Pipeline and dog mushing.