We miss normal.

Almost nothing happening now is. From politics, to the pandemic, to the economic meltdown, to our fractures over what constitutes social justice.

We need normal, or something near our remembrance of it, because of that.

Friends, we're arguing over the meaning of wearing a mask. If that's not indicative of brokenness, nothing is.

Normal would be nice, if even for just a few hours.

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Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks, we're thinking of you.

Baseball, it's been written, is peace. Baseball is memories. Baseball is constant.

Baseball is normal.

So when the RedHawks open their abbreviated independent-league baseball season Friday, July 3, at Newman Outdoor Field, view it as an opportunity to escape for an evening all that is abnormal.

Bring your spouse, bring your kids. Buy some hot dogs, peanuts and beverages and revel in a night at the ballpark — the music, the batter introductions, the crack of the bat, the smack of ball into glove.

Be safe, be smart, but go to the ballpark.

There are few better places than a ballpark anyway. Right now, there might be no better place than a ballpark.

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This was supposed to be a big year for the RedHawks. They are celebrating their 25th season, an anniversary few independent league clubs reach. The Northern League and American Association teams that have appeared and disappeared over the RedHawks' lifetime seem innumerable.

Remember the Rochester Aces, Madison Black Wolf and El Paso Diablos? Yeah, neither does anybody else.

Yet the RedHawks keep chugging along. Maybe not quite with the swagger they once had, and maybe taking themselves too seriously once in awhile, but now a part of our community for a quarter-century.

They are constant. They are normal.

Perhaps most important in this year of upheaval, the RedHawks will operate when many other constants and normals aren't. RibFest, the Red River Valley Fair, big-time concerts at the Fargodome, more intimate musical acts at Moorhead's Bluestem Amphitheater. They're all gone for this summer.

But baseball is back. Like it always is, one way or another. The timing couldn't be more perfect.

We need the RedHawks now more than ever.

That's a sentence that, before we knew what the coronavirus was, faced long odds of ever being written.

Frankly, the RedHawks need fans more than ever. They are a local business, struggling through the pandemic with lost revenue like many others.

The speech from the movie "Field of Dreams" has been overused to the point of cliche. But in this case, under these circumstances, it again seems appropriate.

"The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball.

"America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It's been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt, and erased again. But baseball has marked the time.

"This field, this game — it's a part of our past, Ray. It reminds us of all that once was good, and it could be again."

Amen.

Play ball. We need it.

We need normal, or something as close to it as can be expected in these strangest of days.