MOORHEAD — The Winnipeg Goldeyes independent baseball team is being temporarily relocated to Jackson, Tenn., the American Association announced Thursday, May 6, due to the ongoing closure of the Canada-United States border.
“The league has worked with the Winnipeg Goldeyes exhaustively through the offseason to return baseball to Shaw Park in 2021 and will continue to do so as our season begins,” American Association commissioner Joshua Schaub said in a release. “The indefinite closure of the United States/Canada border required us to always have a Plan B, and we are grateful to the Jackson Generals for welcoming the Goldeyes this summer."
The Goldeyes made their home at Fargo's Newman Outdoor Field last summer due to the coronavirus pandemic. The American Association operated with six of its 12 teams last season, including the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks.
"It adds some more miles on the bus, which is always something that you kind of want to minimize during the year," RedHawks general manager Matt Rau said. “For us, it’s not too crazy of a difference and it will be nice to see a new city, as well.”
The RedHawks are slated to play Winnipeg on the road twice this season and for now, those games are scheduled for Jackson. F-M first plays a road series against the Goldeyes from July 6-8 and then Sept. 3-6.
Pending the border situation, Winnipeg could return to its own home ballpark at some point this season.
“The ultimate goal is for them to be back in Winnipeg this summer," Rau said.
The league is again set to operate with 12 teams this season, adding the Kane County (Ill.) Cougars and Houston Apollos. The AA is also returning to a 100-game schedule after playing 60 games last summer. One of the teams the league lost in the offseason was the St. Paul Saints, which became the Class Triple-A affiliate for the Minnesota Twins.
The RedHawks are in the league's North Division along with the Milwaukee Milkmen, Gary SouthShore RailCats, Chicago Dogs, Kane County and the Goldeyes.
The Cleburne (Texas) Railroaders, Kansas City Monarchs, Houston Apollos, Sioux City Explorers, Sioux Falls Canaries and Lincoln Saltdogs are in the South Division.
Winnipeg will play its scheduled home games at The Ballpark at Jackson, which is home to the Jackson Generals baseball club. The Goldeyes' first game in Jackson is slated for May 21 against Chicago.
The RedHawks officially opened their training camp Thursday, May 5. Rau said vaccines are going to be available for players who want to get vaccinated. F-M is starting training camp with 24 players. Rau added multiple players and staff members have already been vaccinated.
The RedHawks have their first home exhibition game at 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 11, at Newman Outdoor Field. They start the regular season May 18 at Cleburne.
“After all the challenges we faced last year, it was nice to see the guys come in with familiarity of COVID protocols, getting everybody here negative and making sure we’re doing what’s right to stay healthy," Rau said.