It’s been almost four months since organized sports games have been held on the Iron Range due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
That is no longer the case as Senior Babe Ruth (American Legion age level) games are scheduled in Virginia and Aurora tonight after the Minnesota Department of Health last week gave the OK to start games on June 24.
The games will be a welcome sight for the athletes — some that missed their senior high school seasons — and coaches that have been waiting patiently to get back on the diamond.
Ely hosted Junior League baseball last night at Veterans Memorial Field in the city often referred to as “Tournament Town.’’ The DQ Pavilion Area, which provides a special place to eat concession food and drinks, is also ready for a new season, according to the Ely Baseball Family Facebook page.
The Senior Babe Ruth team in Aurora will also be playing their first game on the new Mesabi East artificial turf baseball field. The beautiful field and athletic complex will be on full display tonight when Aurora hosts Ely at 6:30 p.m.
As a sports reporter, the last few months have been hard to get used to. Covering a game or a track meet wasn’t even an option. The fields were all vacant and only the sound of wind whistling down the base paths could be heard.
Tonight won’t exactly be normal with all the required health and safety protocols for the coronavirus, as well as social distancing.
Nonetheless, with temperatures slated to hit 80, it will no doubt be a joy to sit in the press box and write about the Aurora and Ely teams squaring off for the first time this summer.
I’ll admit that I have been a bit lost without games on the field or on television.
That should start to change on television as Major League Baseball, the NBA and the NHL are planing their returns.
Locally, reports are coming in that the VIrginia 16/18U softball team will be hosting games Wednesday and next Thursday. Mountain Iron-Buhl softball also kicked off its softball season last night by taking on Chisholm in a “loose scrimmage,’’ according to the coach.
Ely baseball organizer and fanatic Tom Coombe already reported Sir G’s will continue on as the sponsor of the Midsummer Classic July 10-12. The event will feature a 10-team field.
Finally baseball and softball are back! Just in time to give sports enthusiasts an option besides watching classic games from the past or even marble racing.