The mid-summer news brief read “If you feel like Bethel University’s baseball team is eager to get on the field before anyone else, you’re absolutely right.”
The Royals had secured the time slot for the first-ever baseball game at U.S. Bank Stadium scheduled for 6:30 a.m. on Feb. 21, 2017, and the excitement spilled through in the press release.
“The scheduling organization notified all teams throughout the Midwest that the first baseball games would begin on Feb. 21, 2017, and Bethel immediately jumped on the opening time slot,” the brief read.
Six months later, the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority, which operates the $1 billion stadium and oversees scheduling for non-Vikings events, notified Bethel it would no longer have the honor of playing in the stadium’s first baseball game.
Mother Nature helped ease the blow. Bethel announced it has scheduled an outdoor game against the University of Northwestern on Feb. 20, one day before their originally scheduled indoors season opener.
Monday’s forecast calls for a high of 62 degrees. There is a high chance of rain, but the warm weather was seemingly too good to pass up the opportunity to try and play outdoors.
The Twin Cities will experience record high temperatures this weekend. The average forecasted high from Friday to Monday is nearly 59 degrees with mostly sunny skies.
Bethel’s announcement Wednesday said “With rare February temperatures approaching 50 degrees this week, Bethel University's baseball team is taking full advantage of the sunshine and an opportunity to get outside. As a result of the spring-like temperatures, the Royals will be playing the University of Northwestern-St. Paul in Roseville at 4 p.m. on Monday.”
Bethel continues to start its season early when the opportunity presents itself. The Royals played in what was believed to be the first outdoors game in Minnesota last year on Feb. 27 and have been the first MIAC team to kick off the season the last several years.
The Royals will return indoors after this weekend and make their U.S. Bank Stadium debut on Feb. 27. The afternoon doubleheader against Wisconsin-Stout begins at 11:15 a.m. in downtown Minneapolis.
Century College of White Bear Lake now has the honor of playing the first baseball game at U.S. Bank Stadium against Iowa Central on Feb. 24 at 6 a.m. This will be the first of three games that day and one of 21 played in the first seven days baseball is scheduled at the new stadium.