The timing couldn’t have been better.
Minutes after one game was cancelled, the Minnesota West baseball team had another opportunity open.
Struggling to compete with cold and wet conditions in the early going of the college baseball season, the Bluejays are heading to a place that is guaranteed to have perfect conditions: the Metrodome.
There’s only one catch.
Minnesota West will open its season Wednesday morning, starting at midnight.
“I think everybody is going to be so excited, it doesn’t matter; they are college kids,” MW head coach Jeff Linder said. “For me it will be, especially if I don’t feel any better.”
The Bluejays are facing Mesabi Range, which was supposed to make the trip to Worthington last weekend.
“We were supposed to start last weekend, but with the weather as questionable as it was as far as temperature, Mesabi Range wasn’t going to come down,” Linder said. “That’s a long ways for ifs.”
With the weather in question, Mesabi Range decided the trip wasn’t worth the 370-mile trip — a journey which would cost thousands of dollars.
Instead, the two will meet halfway, and play as much as they can in four hours.
“We only get four hours, so we’re done regardless at 4 (a.m.),” Linder said. “Then we’re getting on the bus and heading home.”
The team will leave in the early evening Tuesday, and return in time for classes Wednesday morning.
Originally, Minnesota West was trying to schedule a game with Mount Marty. However, Monday, the coaches called and cancelled Tuesday’s game.
It was then that the Dome came calling.
Linder had been trying to find a time to play in the Dome, but up until Monday, he wasn’t having any luck.
“We kept e-mailing them, and e-mailing them and e-mailing them, trying to get any date, and any time,” Linder said.
Monday, things fell into place.
“We were supposed to play Mount Marty (Tuesday), but they cancelled on us; they are planning ahead,” Linder said. “Ironically, when I got done talking with Mount Marty (Monday), 20 minutes later, the Metrodome called.”
The Bluejays will arrive at the Dome sometime around 10:30 p.m., and wait for their turn.
Once the game before theirs is complete, the teams will take a quick warm-up and get to playing.
“It’s going to be exciting,” Linder said. “Some of those guys have never been in the Dome, let alone play on the Dome surface.”
After the Bluejays are done on the field, a set of high school teams will take to the Dome floor.
In preparation for their first game, the Bluejays had to get a practice in on the field. Even though the weather wasn’t idea Monday, Linder and the Bluejays had their first practice outside.
“We have yet to be on a full field as a full team and have a full practice,” Linder said before Monday’s practice. “We could have went (Sunday), but I thought the temperature wasn’t going to be there, so a lot of these guys went home.”
This year’s squad has 19 freshmen and a mere five sophomores, so Wednesday morning’s games will go a long way in helping Linder sort through his lineup.
“We’re tired of being inside and we’re ready to play,” Linder said. “I’ve been doing everything I can to get us somewhere, somehow.”
And while the rest of the world sleeps, the Bluejays will be playing — under a clear sky and in perfect 70 degree temperatures.
Not a bad way to start a season.