The eight-starred Alaskan state flag serves as the centerfield backdrop at Fairbanks’ Growden Memorial Park, home of the Goldpanners and the Midnight Sun Game — Near midnight on each summer solstice, the game — which begins at 10:30 p.m. with no use of artificial lights, and is the signature event of the Alaskan Baseball League — is interrupted for a ceremony that includes the signing of the state song, “Alaska’s Flag”. The song’s last two lines are: “Alaska’s flag–to Alaskans dear/ The simple flag of a last frontier.”
A rugged, no-frills league in the Last Frontier State has funneled almost 400 college players to the majors and kept fans in Fairbanks up late each June with its quirky Midnight Sun Game
By Luke Winn
“Remember to never take the game home with you.”
— Former major league closer Lee Smith, on how
a reliever can maintain his sanity
What, however, is a pitcher to do when his team’s bullpen is closer to his bed than it is to the dugout? That was the conundrum facing Kevin Camacho last summer on college baseball’s last frontier. At 2 a.m. on June 22, not long after the conclusion of the 102nd Midnight Sun Game, many of Camacho’s Alaska Goldpanners teammates mounted bicycles and rode off, still in full uniform. Continue reading “2008: Sports Illustrated: The Alaska Pipeline”
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) -There are so few fans in Mulcahy Stadium this summer evening that a heckler’s game-long monologue carries clear to the pitcher’s mound. It’s the eighth inning. The hometown Anchorage Bucs are tied with the Peninsula Oilers, 2-2.
“Hit it right at him, see how his reflexes are!” he urges the batter.
The man’s voice cuts easily through the quiet chatter of about 300 people lounging in the bleachers at this Alaska Baseball League game, between teams made up of college players from North Carolina to Hawaii to Taiwan. The park holds 4,500 people, but the average turnout for a game is several hundred. Continue reading “Sports Illustrated: The Alaska Baseball League – A major league pipeline”
2007 saw the beginning of a new era in the history of the midnight sun game. Gone were the ceremonies surrounding the centennial and 100th annual game. Back to work, the Goldpanners faced longtime rivals, the Oceanside (CA) Waves — led by Fairbanksan Mike Studer. In spite of the new burden, the game went off with the same excitement as ever. Listed below is a growing list of dignitaries on hand for the event. Continue reading “2007: Awards and Dignitaries”