107th annual Midnight Sun Game
• Who: Alaska Goldpanners vs. Everett (Wash.) Merchants
• When: June 21. First pitch is thrown at 10:30 p.m.
• Where: Growden Memorial Park
• Tickets: $15, available at www.goldpanners.com
FAIRBANKS – With constant sunlight, little wind and rain showers few and far between, Fairbanks in the summer seems like the perfect place to play some baseball. And it is, but the nation’s pastime isn’t celebrated anywhere else like it is in Fairbanks.
The first pitch of the Midnight Sun Game is thrown at 10:30 p.m. June 21, the longest day of the year, and played without artificial lights at Growden Memorial Field.
Playing baseball into the morning hours by nothing but the summer solstice sunlight has been a Fairbanks tradition since 1904. The game was played with local teams until the Alaska Goldpanners were formed in 1960 and took over the hosting duties.
The Goldpanners are a summer-league team of college players that has seen more than 200 athletes go on to play professionally.
Barry Bonds, Tom Seaver, Dave Winfield and Jason Giambi are some of the most famous former Goldpanners.
While teams travel from all over the country — and sometimes the globe — to be a part of the famous Midnight Sun Game, this year’s game features the Everett Merchants from Washington.
Even though Growden is fitted with field lights, they’ve never been used for the Midnight Sun Game, and rumor has it, they aren’t even plugged in.
For the first time in the 106 years of Midnight Sun Games, the game was called due to darkness in last year’s game.
A fast-approaching storm and quickly darkening conditions in the game’s 11th inning delayed the contest, which picked up the following day, with the Panners picking up the victory.
Fingers crossed the thunderstorms hold off during this year’s matchup.
Tickets are $15 and can be purchased at www.goldpanners.com. More information on the Everett Merchants can be found at www.everettmerchantbaseball.com.
Not in town for the summer solstice? Fear not.
The Goldpanners’ schedule begins in early June and runs through the end of July. For a full summer schedule, visit the Panners’ website.