American Association, RedHawks announce full 100-game baseball schedule for upcoming summer
The American Association is back to a 100-game schedule and 12 teams for 2021 after the coronavirus pandemic limited the league last season
FARGO — The American Association is trending toward normalcy after the league announced Monday a 100-game schedule for the upcoming baseball season.
The league is returning to a traditional number of games and 12 teams after the coronavirus pandemic altered the league’s structure last season in which six teams operated and played 60-game schedules.
“It’s really, really nice to have 12 teams because it allows us to have a balanced schedule,” said RedHawks general manager Matt Rau. “After last summer, we kind of showed in the height of a pandemic we can have some semblance of a schedule. Looking at a normal schedule is a welcomed relief for everyone in the league.”
The RedHawks were one of the league’s franchises that operated last summer, while Newman Outdoor Field was a hub stadium that also hosted the Winnipeg Goldeyes.
The American Association will have a somewhat different makeup after the St. Paul Saints and Texas AirHogs exited the league in the offseason. The Saints are now the Minnesota Twins' Class Triple-A affiliate.
The American Association added the Kane County (Ill.) Cougars to the league last week and also announced Monday that the Houston Apollos will operate as a traveling team to get the league back to 12 members.
Kane County played in the Midwest League for 30 seasons and most recently was a Class Single-A affiliate for the Arizona Diamondbacks. Kane County was part of Major League Baseball’s Minor League contraction this offseason.
“Losing St. Paul is never fun, but adding an organization like Kane County that has been around, you’re bringing in an established organization,” Rau said. “You can never replace an organization that is as close (to Fargo) and as storied as St. Paul.”
The RedHawks will be in the North Division along with the Chicago Dogs, Gary SouthShore RailCats, Kane County, Milwaukee Milkmen and Winnipeg.
The South Division will include the Cleburne Railroaders, Houston Apollos, Kansas City Monarchs, Lincoln Saltdogs, Sioux City Explorers and Sioux Falls Canaries.
Kansas City, formerly the T-Bones, has been rebranded as the Monarchs after Kansas City’s historic Negro League team. Kansas City made the nickname change in a partnership with the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, which is located in Kansas City, Missouri.
The RedHawks are set to celebrate their 25th anniversary season. They open up the regular season May 18 at Cleburne. The home opener for F-M is slated for May 25 against the Chicago Dogs at Newman Outdoor Field.
American Association commissioner Joshua Schaub said COVID-19 could still affect attendances around the league for the upcoming season.
“We do anticipate reduced capacities in our stadiums and a continuation of our successful COVID-19 protocols implemented in 2020,” Schaub said in a release. “Like last season, we are pressing forward to provide baseball fans with the American Association baseball they deserve in a safe environment.”
Rau said as the season gets closer, the RedHawks will work with the City of Fargo and Cass County Public Health to implement health and safety protocols that are needed.
“It’s way too early to know what will be in place,” Rau said.
Rau added it’s good to have a full slate of games back after last summer’s abbreviated season.
“We’ve been saying the release of the schedule is the first start. It’s kind of the kickoff to the next season,” Rau said “We’re looking forward to a full summer of play.”