The Dakota Wesleyan University baseball team is ready to make some long-lasting memories.
Even if that means doing so in the middle of the night.
The Tigers are prepared to compete in a slate of college baseball games that span 24 hours at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis on Saturday. Not only will DWU compete on the same field as the Minnesota Vikings, but it will do so in the middle of the night in a doubleheader against Mayville State, with games scheduled at 2 a.m. and 4 a.m.
When head coach John Greicar was a player for the Tigers, they competed in four games at the Metrodome in 2012 and he wants his current players to share the experience. DWU hasn’t played in Minneapolis since 2013, before the Metrodome was torn down to build U.S. Bank Stadium in 2016.
“That was something that Midwest baseball kids always looked forward to -- getting the chance to play in the Metrodome,” Greicar said. “Obviously it’s not the most ideal time, but it’s also an awesome opportunity for our guys to handle some adversity and have some fun with it.”
DWU attempted to compete at U.S. Bank Stadium last season, but it did not come to fruition and Greciar described the time slots as “first-come, first-serve.” Dozens of high school and college baseball games are scheduled for the indoor venue in February and March, when the rest of Upper Midwest’s baseball fields remain mostly frozen.
There are not many ways to prepare for a game at 2 a.m., so DWU will have an early practice before traveling to Minneapolis and then relax in the team hotel before heading to the stadium at midnight.
The Tigers don’t see the game times as a negative, however. Instead, they see it as a memory that will last forever, playing in an odd time in a domed stadium that regularly seats 66,000 people.
“None of our guys are concerned with the time, we’re just looking forward to getting in there,” Greicar said. “If anything, it’s something we like to preach in dealing with some obstacles and find a way to have some fun. Our guys have been working really hard to be prepared for this, so I don’t think it’ll matter what time or where we’re playing.”
Greicar knows about playing at odd times, because when he competed at the Metrodome, DWU played at midnight and 2 a.m. The game schedule is nonstop for 24 hours, so there is little time to adapt.
“We’re going to try to get some sleep throughout the day and then head to the field,” Greicar said. “Once we get on the field, we get a limited time, so we’ll do a quick pregame and try to get in as many innings as we can.”
The Tigers went 1-2 in their opening weekend series at Kansas Wesleyan. After Minneapolis, DWU will travel to Tucson, Arizona the following week to begin a stretch of 13 games in eight days at the Tucson Invitational from March 6-14.